Reader John Christopher (no, not the John Christopher who works for DriveSavers, this one has a Ph.D.) doesn’t care for the untidiness of his email. He writes:
From time to time I want to excerpt something out of an Apple Mail message that’s been circulating a while and has a number of vertical lines on the left margin (from forwarding and responding). Is there a way to do this?
Just so we’re clear, I’m assuming that you’d like to include that text in another email message, but without the lines.
For those who don’t know, those vertical lines are quote levels. The more lines you see, the more times that bit of text has been included in the email exchange. While Mail doesn’t include a command to eliminate these quote levels in one fell swoop, you can remove them one level at a time.
Just select the quoted text you’ve excerpted, hold down Command and Option, and press the single quote key ('). With each press, one level of quote disappears.
Another option is to use Devon Technologies’ free WordService 2.6.1 service. Download this service, drag it to your user’s Services folder (~/Library/Services), log out of your account and back in again, and you’ll discover a new Format command in your Services menu. In the submenu of this command you’ll spy the Remove Quotes command. Just select the quoted text and choose Remove Quotes to get rid of the lines in your Mail message.
Or, to apply even broader formatting changes (wrap text as well as remove quotes, for example), select the text and choose Reformat (Shift-Command-7) from this same submenu.