In my todo list, I like to refer to email messages based on the date they were received so I can simply find the message at a later point.

For example,

  1. Follow up locking issue (see Peter's email 25th Feb 2014 18:04)

Rather than transcribing the message date by hand, I'd rather copy it from the mail message and paste it into Notes but this doesn't seem possible.

The date in a Mail message

There is no selection cursor when I hover over the date, just a "grab hand".

Are there any tricks to copying a mail message's date to the clipboard?


This doesn't get you the date in text format, but when I grab using that grab hand cursor I can drag it into notes. There is then an icon with the subject of the email which, when clicked opens that email (albeit in a new window).

Might be helpful.

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Apparently there is no option to copy date directly from mail message, neither in regular view, nor in "sort by thread" view.

The fastest method that I came up with was to reply to the email message and copy date from quoted part of it and discard draft afterwards

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You could use the messages show Header to copy that and more or any information from.

Originalarrivaltime: 26 Feb 2014 14:05:34.0926

You could use the screen shot of the mail and paste that in notes.

enter image description here

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As you mention that you use the date to find the message later another method is also possible.

If you use a Cocoa app (e.g. TextEdit) for the todo list you can make a link to the actual message such that you don't have to search anymore.
This is done through the message-id of the message, found in the raw source. This old hint explains how it works, and here an Applescript is shown that copies the message id of a selected message to the clipboard. The Applescript looks as follows:

tell application "Mail"
    set _sel to get selection
    set _links to {}
    repeat with _msg in _sel
        set _messageURL to "message://%3c" & _msg's message id & "%3e"
        set end of _links to _messageURL
    end repeat
    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to return
    set the clipboard to (_links as string)
end tell

Now if you paste the link in your todo list in TextEdit you can right click it, hit Open URL and the message will pop-up in Mail.

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The following Applescript gets the date and time of the selected message and places it in on the clipboard. Copy/paste it in the Applescript editor and hit run to see what it does (make sure Mail is open and has a message selected).

tell application "Mail"
    set theSelection to selection
    set theMessage to item 1 of theSelection
    set theDate to date received of theMessage
end tell
set theDateFormatted to (short date string of theDate & " " & time string of theDate)
set the clipboard to theDateFormatted as string
get the clipboard

To make the script useful you should make a service out of it using Automator and assign a keyboard shortcut to it.
Or, if you're using a launcher like Quicksilver or Alfred, you can save the script somewhere and launch it using the launcher. How to do that is content for another (probably already answered) question though.

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