Message Filters allow you to add automation to your email workflow. When you’re dealing with multiple email accounts and bombarded with messages on a daily basis, filters can help organize, label, mark, and reply to them automatically.
In Postbox, when you create a new filter you can set the filter to either run per account, or "globally" across all accounts. If creating a global filter, it must be set at creation time, as you cannot convert an existing per-account filter to global filter once created.
Here are the filters that Postbox supports:
- by subject
- by sender
- by Address Book
- by Address Book Group
- by message body
- by date
- by priority
- by status
- by status is Pending
- by To
- by Cc
- by age in Days
- by size
- by Topic
- by attachment status
- add Topic
- remove Topic
- move message
- copy message
- forward message
- reply with Template
- Quick Post
- play sound file
- run AppleScript (macOS only)
- mark as read
- mark as unread
- mark as reminder
- mark as not reminder
- mark as Pending
- mark as Not Pending
- set priority
- set junk status
- delete message
- stop filter execution
How to create a Message Filter
Creating a message filter is easy. Simply go to Tools > Message Filters, and choose the account to which the filter will apply. Then, click the New... button to create a new filter. The subsequent window should look very familiar to those who have ever created a Smart Playlist in iTunes. Name the filter, choose the search criteria which will narrow down the messages to a select few, and then decide which actions Postbox should perform.
Here is an example of a filter that finds messages sent from Postbox or contains the word Postbox in the subject, and automatically adds a Topic and marks them as a Reminder:
This is how the filter window reads: Match any message that is either from someone using a Postbox email address or mentions Postbox in the title. With those messages, Add the topic “Postbox” and mark them as a “Reminder”.
Now that the filter is created, any messages that come in will be automatically filtered by Postbox. For emails that have already been received, there’s a Run Now button at the bottom of the Message Filters window that will run the filter on the selected folder.
Postbox introduces the concept of Global Filters, which enables you to create a new filter that will run on all accounts.
When creating a new filter, specify a default account for the filter to reside (it can be any account), and then select the "Global Filter" checkbox during filter creation.
The new global filter will now run across all accounts when you are checking for mail.
Run Filters on Messages
If you'd like to run Message Filters on a particular message, first select the message and then go to Tools > Run Filters on Message.
Additionally, if you'd like to run filters on a group of messages, select them, and go to Tools > Run Filters on Selected Messages
Interesting Things You Can Do with Filters
Filter Criteria - by Address Book group
This enables you to create a custom address book group, such as the executive team at your workplace, and then filter messages based on that group. For example, if a message comes in from a senior executive in that group, you could send it to a special folder, or apply a Topic such as "Hot" or "Exec" team.
Filter Criteria - by Message Body
Previously we could only filter by header information, such as subject, date, etc. Now you can inspect the contents of a message, and filter by that.
Filter Criteria - by Topic
This is particularly useful when setting up advanced workflows. For example, you could manually run a Filter on a folder that contains Topic: "High" AND Status: "Replied" and then perform an action, such as marking the message as Pending or moving it to another folder.
Filter Action - Remove Topic
In the example above, you can change a Topic by first removing the topic, "High," and then assigning a new Topic, "Medium."
Filter Action - Play Sound File
You can now have a filter action play a specific sound file. For example, you could play a specific sound for all Status: New messages that arrive within a specific account. Or play a different sound if the message is from your friend Barney.
Filter Action - Run AppleScript
This could get really interesting! For example, you could set an AppleScript file to open or close other applications based on the subject line of a message. In theory, this would allow you to control Scripts on remote machines if Postbox is up and running on that machine.
Note that AppleScript support is only available on macOS.
- Only new filters can be made Global. An existing filter cannot be converted to Global once established.
- Global Filters and the new filter actions and criteria are proprietary to Postbox 5, which means that they will not work, or could cause other filtering issues if a machine is reverted to an earlier version of Postbox.