Review: MailTags 3, turning Mail into an Information Manager

Apple Mail isn’t a bad email client, but it lacks a few features that can help manage email and help you see what is important and what isn’t. MailTags is the only plug-in that not only delivers this kind of functionality, but also integrates well with Apple Mail and with plug-ins like Mail Act-On and Mail Perspectives.

Indev, the developers of MailTags 3, use a real model to organize mail, based on the “Process, Organize, Monitor” principle. This principle dictates using the Mail Act-On plug-in to quickly and efficiently deal with messages, MailTags to develop a sophisticated and flexible organization for email and Mail Perspectives to create compact windows for monitoring smart mailboxes (and therefore messages that are no longer in your inbox).

IT Enquirer rating


  • interface
  • ease-of-use
  • integration with iCal, OmniFocus, Things
  • flexibility
  • customization features
  • keywords can’t be easily removed
Price (always approximately): €22.50

In this model, MailTags takes up a central role. MailTags 3 is an important upgrade that makes MailTags work with Apple’s OS X Lion. It offers better user experience while maintaining the same powerful features. New features in this release include a more customizable interface and multi-message “tagging”.

Lion’s Mail client has a whole different look. Not only does the client itself look different from previous versions, it also lets you display Mail in full screen mode, as well as showing message threads in a collapsed manner. The earlier version of MailTags couldn’t tap into Lion’s improvements, but this new version does so and does it with elegance and aplomb.

For starters, MailTags now reveals itself as a grey tag arrow with a “plus” icon in the side area next to each message or thread. Once you fill in some data in MailTags, the grey tag arrow becomes an information “Tagging window”. Tagging windows are fully keyboard navigable (tabbing through controls, CMD-1, 2, 3, to skip to different sections (in order) or CMD-letter to skip directly to speciific sections (eg CMD-K for keywords, CMD-P for projects).

MailTags 3 for Apple Mail
The Preferences panel for MailTags 3

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