Moving Mail accounts offline

Reader and Weeds cast-member Andy Milder has recently made the transition from Entourage to Apple’s Mail. Following that transition he encountered this issue:

I’ve got a whole bunch of mail accounts that are halfway bogus and/or I don’t want checked. That is to say, accounts that on rare occasions I’ll check and download, but not always. Here’s the $64,000 question: Is there a way to customize the Get Mail button so that it only checks the accounts I want checked? I’ve set the automatic checking to not bother with them, but the Get Mail button seems to check ‘em all.

You can’t do anything with the button specifically, but you have a couple of options for barring particular accounts from retrieving mail. You’ve already mentioned that you can keep an account from being automatically checked by opening the Accounts preference, selecting an account, clicking the Advanced tab, and disabling the Include When Automatically Checking For New Mail option. As you rightly point out, this option has no effect on the Get Mail button.

However, the checkbox just above it does. Disable the Enable This Account option and the account disappears from Mail’s list of mailboxes. You can press Get Mail from now until doomsday, and the disabled account will be left unchecked.

If you want an account ignored only occasionally, this isn’t the best way to go as you have to dig down into Mail’s preferences to switch it on or off. A more expedient route is to Control-click the account’s Inbox in Mail’s list of mailboxes and choose Take “nameofaccount” Offline. (Alternatively, you can choose Mailbox -> Online Status and, from the submenu, choose Take “nameofaccount” Offline.) A tilde-like symbol appears next to the account to indicate it’s offline. Press the Get Mail button and the offline account will be ignored. To bring it back online, you can simply click the tilde-like symbol.

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