Avoid misdirected Mail messages

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

If you use Mail, you’re probably well aware of the auto-completion feature in the recipient fields—start typing someone’s name, and Mail will complete it for you, based on information in both your Address Book and recent e-mails.

Most of the time, this feature is great. For me, though, it can be troublesome: I have a good friend named Jason, which also happens to be the first name of someone at Macworld. So if I’m not careful, e-mails intended for my friend Jason can wind up going to my co-worker Jason instead—and as good of a guy as he is, he probably really doesn’t need to see my “Hey, wanna go play some 9-ball tonight?” e-mails, especially as he and I live about 600 miles apart!

So how do you avoid this problem? The answer lies in Address Book’s Groups feature. You see, Mail won’t just auto-complete based on names; it can also do so for groups in Address Book. This is a good general tip, and one you may have already known—create a group of your golf buddies, for instance, name it golfers , and you can send an e-mail to all of them in Mail by simply addressing it to golfers .

But there’s no rule that says a group must have more than one person in it, and you can use this fact to solve the same-name problem in Mail.

In my case, I created two new groups in Address Book (File -> New Group, or click the plus sign in the lower left corner). I named one da boss (because, well, he is) and the other wrx (which is the brand of car my friend Jason owns). As you might have guessed by now, I then dragged Jason Snell’s contact record into da boss group, and my friend Jason’s card into the wrx group.

Now in Mail, when I want to send a message to Jason at Macworld , I simply enter da b in the To field—as soon as I type that “b,” Mail auto-completes the group name. When I press Return, I see the e-mail addresses for all members of the group. In this case, of course, that means I see Jason Snell’s e-mail address. When I want to email my friend Jason, I just type wrx and press Return.

You might think it takes a while to “unlearn” typing Jason , but really, I made the adjustment quite quickly. Just pick group names that are short, unique, and easy to remember. I find it easiest to remember the group name if I relate it to the individual in some way, as shown in this (real world) example.

Not a huge hint, but it can definitely prevent some potentially embarrassing e-mail exchanges!

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon