Roger wrote in to ask this question:
As a recent convert to Leopard from Vista, I much prefer the look and feel of the OS X. However Outlook has a facility that when I want to attach a file to send it to someone, it will give me, (as part of the “open” attachment) a list of the 10 most recently opened files. Finder allows me to [search for] files based on “today” and “yesterday” but how do I get this option in the mail attach window?
Roger really has two questions: 1. How can you get a list of files that you recently attached to mail messages in Apple’s Mac OS X Mail program? 2. How can you see this in an “Open File” dialog box? For the answer to the second question, click here to read Access Spotlight’s Saved Search Folders from Any Application.
For the answer to the first question, we’re going to create a Spotlight search, so read on:
Finding Your Sent Mail Folder
If you’re using Apple’s Mail program, all of your mail folders are stored in your user Library’s Mail folder (/Users/username/Library/Mail). But within this folder, you may have one or two folders or dozens, depending on your how many email accounts you have and the way they are configured.
Since we want to create a Saved Search that shows us which attachments we have already sent, we need to find our sent mail folder. Here’s what my Finder window looks like when I found my sent mail folder:
If you look at my nested folders, I kept checking them until I found one that had the word “Sent” in it and contained mail messages. Mail messages end with the .emlx suffix. You will have to do your own searching, but hopefully it won’t take you more than a minute or two.
Once you find the sent mail folder, double-click on the folder (if viewing folders as icons or lists), or single-click on the folder’s name if viewing folders as columns (like the above window).
Creating the Customized Search
Now that the appropriate sent email folder has been found and highlighted, navigate to the File menu and select Find… . You should see a Find panel on your Finder window, similar to this:
Don’t worry about the search results, as you’ll initially not have any, or the results will be quite different. Here’s what we care about:
- The first search line allows you to select which folder to search. Don’t select “This Mac” or “Shared.” Make sure your sent mail folder is the one that is highlighted.
- Although it should not matter, I also select “File Name” rather than “Contents” when I’m not concerned with the contents of the files.
- On the second line, we get to make a search parameter. From the first pop-up menu, select “Kind” and from the second, select “Documents.” Note: This means the search will find just about any attachment, but it won’t find applications, and it may not find archives or disk images.
- At the end of the line, click the plus button to add one more search parameter line.
- On this final line, select “Created date” from the first pop-up menu.
- Now, we’re going to pick how long we want the search to go back. I said “Within last” 14 “days,” giving me the last two weeks’ worth of attachments. If you’d prefer something else, feel free to choose that here. In fact, if you want to see all the attachments you have ever sent from this account, you don’t even need to create this final search parameter.
Hopefully, you now have some search results (assuming you’ve attached a document in the time period you specified). Back on the top line of the search, click the Save button to created a Saved Search. You should get this box:
You should title the search and make sure it is going to be saved in your Saved Search folder (which is the default location). If you’d like to add it to your Sidebar (for easy access from any Finder window), make sure that check box is clicked. Click save, and you’re done!
Now that you have your search saved as a Saved Search folder, it appears in the Finder, like this:
If you want to see your search results, simply click on the Saved Search under the “Search For” Sidebar. You can easily drag any of the items into a Mail message to attach it, but if you’d like to access those search results from the Add Attachment dialog box as Roger does, then click here to read Access Spotlight’s Saved Search Folders from Any Application. Follow those additional instructions to add the Saved Search to your Places Sidebar.
What did you think of this solution? Is there a better way to access your recently attached Mail items? Let others know in the comments.