Reply in Mail with message open

Here’s a very simple (and very short) tip for all you Apple Mail users on this fine Tuesday. I get a large volume of mail, but not all of it requires a reply. So when I’m reading my messages, I typically just use the preview pane to scan new messages. If a note requires a simple reply, I click the Reply button and compose the response.

For longer, more-involved e-mail messages, however, I like to open the original in its own window, so I can read it in more depth later on. Then, when I have time, I return to the opened window and click on Reply. The only problem is that when I do so, Mail takes over the existing message window and turns it into the reply window. This can be more than a little bit annoying, especially if you were going to copy and paste discrete sections of the original message into your reply. (Yes, you can select the text you wish to quote in the message before hitting Reply to have it automatically included in the reply, but I don’t always remember to do that.) The same thing happens when you click on Reply All or Forward; Mail steals the window for your response.

Thankfully, the solution is easy if not obvious. Just hold down Option before clicking the Reply, Reply All, or Forward buttons, and Mail will open your reply in a new window, leaving the original message intact.

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