Apple Mail and iCal Tutorial

This walkthrough is intended to help you find your way around the Apple Mail client for email and to use it in conjunction with the iCal application for organizing appointments and meetings. For more detailed information, please go to this website to view the information provided by Apple.

Mail Main Window

The main Apple Mail window is separated into three different panes and includes a set of actions with the icons at the top of the window. The different areas are numbered and outlined in the picture below with corresponding descriptions:

Main window interface

  1. Navigation (Red) – This section allows you to locate and navigate through different parts of your email, such as your “Inbox”, “Sent Mail” and “Trash.” If you have multiple accounts merged into the Apple Mail program, they will appear here with small, triangular drop-down menus for each address.
  2. Messages (Blue) – This section displays all the email messages contained within whatever folder is selected in the Navigation pane. You can change the order of how the messages are displayed by pressing on the “From”, “Subject” or “Date Received” (which is shown in the image).
  3. Reading Pane (Yellow) – This section at the bottom of the window will display the message you have selected in the Messages pane if you click on it just once. Double clicking on the message in the Message section will cause it to appear in a new window.
  4. Action Buttons (Orange) – These buttons at the top of the Mail window allow you to perform many of the basic email operations with just a click.

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Mail Action Buttons

Below the following image is a description of the different button icons and what actions they perform.

Main action ribbon

Get Mail button: Clicking this tells the Apple Mail email client to update or synchronize with the email server similar to pressing the “refresh” button on a web page. This will normally be done automatically at a specific time interval.

Delete button: Clicking this will move the selected message into the “Trash” folder. You must go to the Trash folder in the Navigation pane, select messages and click the “Delete” button again to permanently delete a message off of your account.

Junk button: Clicking this will mark the selected message as Junk mail. This will cause the Mail application to automatically filter future messages from that sender from your Inbox.

Reply/Reply All buttons: Clicking on these icons will open a new window that will be replying to the original sender/all contacts included in the message.

Forward button: Clicking on this will open a new window that will allow you to enter a new email contact to forward the original message to.

New Message button: Clicking on this will create a new window for writing an email message.

Note button: Clicking this will create a new Note window. This will remain in your Inbox as just a Note, but you may also attach files to it or send it to a Contact.

To Do button: Clicking this will create a new To Do notification in your Mail application that will synchronize with your iCal calendar. You may enter in information that will send a reminder to your desktop at a specific time.

Search Bar: This part of the top of the Mail window will allow you to search for any message in any selected folder. Simply type in a name or email subject while viewing your Inbox (or any other folder) and you will see the results from that folder appear below.

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Main iCal Window

The main iCal window is normally separated into four different sections. These sections are outlined in different colors and numbered in the image below with descriptions of each.

iCal interface

  1. Navigation (Red) – This portion will show the accounts that you add to the iCal application (only one in the image). Pressing the small triangle next to the account name will provide a drop-down menu of different calendars within that specific account. The checked boxes indicate that you would like the calendar displayed in the Content section.
  2. Content (Blue) – This largest part of the iCal window allows you to view the various appointments, meetings, tasks and to do’s that you have added to your calendars. Double-clicking anywhere within this section will create a new window for adding an event to your calendar.
  3. Mini-Month (Yellow) – This small monthly calendar in the bottom left of the iCal window will show you the current month by default. You may click on any date in the Mini-Month and the Content window will shift to display it. You may move back and forward months by clicking on the triangles in the top-left and top-right corners of the Mini-Month pane.
  4. Display Action Buttons (Orange) – This row of icons at the top of the iCal window will allow you to change the display options for the Content window with just a click.

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iCal Display Action Buttons

Below the following image are descriptions of the display icons and their corresponding actions.

iCal action ribbon

Today button: Clicking this will automatically cause the current date to be displayed in the Content pane.

Day/Week/Month buttons: Clicking on one of these options will change the Content window to display just one day, a whole week or a whole month respectively. The arrow buttons on either side of Day/Week/Month allow you to move backward or forward in time based on what is displayed in the Content window.

Search Bar: By typing in a name of an appointment, task, to do, etc., in this search bar, iCal will display them in a smaller section of the Content window.

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