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I'm coming to with a background using both Outlook (on the PC) and GMail. In every mail client I've used, there are easy keyboard shortcuts to do these:

  • jump to any folder I want, just by typing a substring of it in an easy to launch dialogue
  • move currently selected message(s) with a similar dialogue

In Gmail, for example, which has labels, I can easily move and archive something ("l" to label it, then "e" to archive it), and I can easily jump to any label ("g" then "l"). In Outlook I hit ctrl-Y and then type a folder to jump; Ctrl-Shift-V to move things.

I'm happy with Lion so far, but do I really have to spend all this time dragging messages around to folders with the trackpad and clicking folders when I want to look in them? I've never been slower with a mail client.

I'm aware from some Googling that I can assign dedicated keyboard shortcuts to every single folder on a case-by-case basis (for moving not jumping), but that seems like a lot of effort, hard to organize (I want to type the folder I want, not memorize 30 different keyboard shortcuts) and not very flexible.

Am I missing an undocumented feature here?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

MailActOn is an extension that provides fast filing of email messages in It is a paid extension though, but I find the $24.95 price tag reasonable for the productivity gains.

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ah, thanks for sharing this. From their videos it looks like I have to create a "rule" for each folder, and so every time I make a folder I have to add a rule in the mailacton interface on every computer I have. I don't think that's what i want (esp. considering the software costs money). Hmm, I might try the demo anyway, but it looks like a long shot. – malgorithms Aug 10 '11 at 20:38
@malgorithms: You don't have to create a rule for every folder -- there's a "move to folder" pop-up you can enable with a single keystroke, which allows you to search all your existing folders. So I enter shift-v (similar to v on gmail for move), type in a few letters of the folder I want to move the message to, and press enter. – yjsoon Aug 10 '11 at 23:42
I went ahead and bought this. It seems to work really well. In fact, it doesn't act all weird when mail is in full-screen mode in Lion, unlike MsgFiler (mentioned in another answer here) below. – malgorithms Aug 11 '11 at 19:24
@malgorithms: In addition to what yjsoon said, the move to folder pop-up keeps track of folders you move to most often dynamically and displays those in the pop-up with numbers. – JijoeV Aug 12 '11 at 1:18

to do this in LION/10.7 you need to display the 'favorites bar', mail > view > show favorites bar.

you can add any 'folder' to this bar, which you can then easily switch to with 'command + bookmarknumber'.

'command + control + bookmarknumber' moves the currently selected email(s) to the respective folder.

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This should be accepted – Anton Rudeshko Aug 10 '15 at 8:16

A combination of some judicious AppleScript and a good utility to trigger scripts with a keystroke will do the trick, if all else fails.

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Here is a shortcut that you can use easily as described by Philip Mat, No needs of any app, it is built in Mail using the help shortcut.


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Vincent - That is as close to a keyboard shortcut as I've seen, thanks for the tip! – user108765 Jan 7 '15 at 21:57
Excellent highlight of the Help menu power of OSX... :) – musophob Aug 25 '15 at 8:32
Please include the content of your link in your answer. Don't just link to it. Links can and will die. Thank you. – jaepage Apr 28 at 17:13

Try MsgFiler ($9.99) from the AppStore.

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My understanding is that keyboard shortcuts for moving messages to specific folders relate to those which already are on the bookmark bar or which you have added to it.

The keyboard sequence is Command-Control-BookmarkNumber (the number arrived at by counting from left to right on the bookmark bar).

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Also, Command-BookmarkNumber takes you to the matching mailbox. There's a full list of keyboard shortcuts in Mail help. Try typing "keyboard shortcuts in mail" in Mail Help's search box. – DublinJimbo Aug 10 '11 at 15:46
Are you describing creating a specific bookmark number for every folder? Interesting, but this isn't exactly what I'm looking for. I'd like to refer to it by its name when I want to interact with it. And there are dozens of them across all my accounts. – malgorithms Aug 10 '11 at 15:47
Thanks! I've looked at's keyboard shortcut list and there's nothing about invoking a dialogue where i can type the substring of a folder name to jump to or move items to. – malgorithms Aug 10 '11 at 15:49
Yes, my experience is that folder/mailbox interaction is limited to those which are on the bookmark bar. – DublinJimbo Aug 10 '11 at 15:50
Coming from Outlook, a shortcut to open up a dialog where you can type the name of a folder to move a message to is something I miss, but this is a somewhat workable substitution. – matt b Jul 30 '12 at 13:11

I've been a power Gmail user for years, and I like the new version of a lot.

However, I've since found Sparrow, which is now my favorite email client on Mac. It has a similar (and easier) set of shortcuts like Gmail (although you can elect to use Gmail's).

For $10 US, the app is one that I'm recommending to a lot of friends. It's also integrated with Shortmail, which I'm enjoying.

Good luck,


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Does it integrate fully with Exchange features, or is it just an IMAP client? (voted your answer up for the info either way) – malgorithms Aug 17 '11 at 14:34
@malgorithms Sparrow is/was Gmail/IMAP/POP only – matt b Jul 30 '12 at 13:03

Vincents answer is helpful and was unknown to me. I also was looking for an answer and found this to be helpful for me:

Add a move-to button to the mail-app tool bar by right clicking in the toolbar area and selecting "customize toolbar".

easy :)

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