Indev from Canada have brought enhancements to Apple’s Mail.app for a very long time now and have been amongst the pioneers of email tagging on Mac OS X. Whilst I personally use Postbox instead of Mail.app today, I still dig Indev’s extensions to Mail.app and follow the developments. Most notably MailTags has become an integrated part of many people’s workflows and while Indev has been silent for a long while, they have now released a new version of their flagship product.
While it is 'only' a minor version update, the changes are improvements are significant. Most important to all OmniFocus (as well as Things) and Mail.app users: The integration between MailTags and your favourite task manager has been taken to new highs. Since quite a long time OmniFocus had the ability to match the project set for a message by MailTags with a project in OmniFocus when the message was clipped. But you had to manually create or at least import a up-to-date project list for that.
Also the MailTags keywords have been used by people for example to automatically add messages tagged ‘waiting for’ to their OmniFocus ‘waiting for’ context. Assigning certain message to people or agenda is another often practiced use.
What people have been eagerly awaiting is the ability to 'sync' the project list between OmniFocus and MailTags. MailTags always had the above mentioned project field, but it was self-maintained inside the MailTags preference pan and despite several attempts even the best AppleScript gurus weren’t able to establish any sort of sync between the OmniFocus and MailTags project lists. All that was left was a clunky text file based import/export option.
These days are gone. You can now simply select to have OmniFocus projects show directly inside (and in addition to MailTags' own projects) Mail.app's tagging panel. Only caveat is that you need to have OmniFocus running to get access to its project list. You can do the same for CulturedCode’s Things or even for both if you are one of these indecisive productivity nuts that can't settle with one system.
Once you have enabled the integration, the projects from within OmniFocus are listed in MailTags project drop-down. While this initially doesn’t look like a big deal, it actually can become one depending of what you make of it. Thinking of inbox and outbox rules, Smart Mailboxes and Applescript, I sense a whole new dimension of possibilities here:
- Retrieve all project related emails in one click using a Mail.app Smart Mailbox
- Trigger the access to the Smart Mailbox from within OmniFocus using AppleScript
- Automatically assign emails based on sender, sender group or a string in the subject or even email body to the right project using inbox rules
- Not only track ‘waiting fors’ by context but also by project with no additional effort
I am confident that lots of the smarty pants using the combination of Mail.app, MailTags and OmniFocus will come up with even better use cases and additional bells and whistles. I can only hope that the good folks at Postbox will follow Indev’s example and tighten up the quite natural between email and task management.
For now: Head to Indev’s website and get yourself the latest version of MailTags. Don’t forget to report back and share how you use the new project list integration.