I have recently starting using Mail.app with two email accounts (work and home). Every now and then I send email while having the wrong folder selected, and the default "from" account will be not what I expect. Are there any extensions or tips to make the currently selected "from" jump out at me in the compose window if it's not the 'default' from address? In other words, 99% of the time, I use my main account, but if I accidentally open a compose window with the alternate account, I'd like a different background color in the compose window, or some big flashing icon or something. The problem case happens because I was reviewing a folder in the non-default account. Any ideas?

  • I have done this many times. I am now in the habit of reviewing my "From" -- but I will favourite this question in case someone out there has a better solution! Great question.
    – Harv
    Sep 21, 2011 at 18:31

5 Answers 5


Mail > Preferences > Composing

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  • OOh.. I like this too. i don't think I have seen those two pull downs. Are they new in Lion? I will have to look. Sep 21, 2011 at 19:51
  • Yes, it's definitely a good way to avoid sending from the wrong account. The settings are not new to Lion, they're in Snow Leopard as well.
    – l'L'l
    Sep 21, 2011 at 20:09
  • Man... how have I missed those for all these years? Sep 21, 2011 at 20:22
  • I had these set to "account of selected mailbox" for a while, but I still ended up sending from the wrong account. Oct 14, 2014 at 23:55

Mail.app has the ability to flag in red any e-mail address (in the To, CC, BCC fields, or From pull-down menu) that does not match a particular domain ending.

If you go to Mail -> preferences -> Composing and enter your primarydomain.com in the "Mark addresses not ending in:" field.

I use this all the time for exactly what you are asking for.

if primarydomain.com is in this field, then the when your secondarydomain.com e-mail address is selected in the from menu, it will display in red. This calls my attention to it and I can make the decision to change it or send.

The drawback is that any contacts who are not at the same domain as you will show up in red in the To, CC, and BCC fields. I have gotten used to it and don't find it distracting any more. also you can put multiple domains in here "@example1.com, @example2.com, etc'

The purpose of this setting? If you worked at example.com, you would place example.com in this field. Then, whenever you e-mail somebody outside the organization, their address shows up in red, calling your attention to the fact that this e-mail is addressed to people no in your organization.

Hope that helps. I's not exactly what you wanted.

  • That does help! I work at a company like example.com :-) so doing this for my work email set up is appropriate. Oct 14, 2014 at 23:56

You can easily switch accounts from the pop-up in a new mail message, just below the CC or BCC field and just above the body of the message:

Sender dropdown

I have multiple addresses from not just multiple domains but also within one domain, so the clever answer with highlighting different domains with colour does not work for me. To avoiding hassles sending from the wrong account with multiple mail accounts the only satisfactory way I have found, is as follows:

  • Create a real email account that does exist, for instance null@yourdomain.com, and set it up so that it works.

  • Once set up set after working so it appears in the available list of default mail accounts from which to send, set it as your default account. Then open Mail preferences, edit that account and chose 'None" from SMTP server list for that account so you cannot send email from it, by mistake or otherwise. Save, and voila, you cannot send email from the wrong account.

It does mean you have to select the account you want to send to each time, but since the embarrassment of using the wrong account outweighs the hassle, for me, it is worth it. If you hit send without spotting it you just get the SMTP server list or the choice to edit your message, and so choose the right From account after clicking Edit Message.

I wish Apple would have a blank field, or Null, for the default send account, that would solve this problem more elegantly.

  • Very nice! Good suggestion! But 99.9% of my emails at work are using the work SMTP server, so selecting it for every send is overkill. Oct 14, 2014 at 23:58

You can set up distinctive signatures, and link different ones to each account [in Mail/Preferences/Signatures].

At one point I had an account that was being forwarded to me, but didn't have the capability to send outgoing emails. Kept getting errors when I would inadvertently just try to reply from that account. So I made a sig for it that was 36 pt bright red and said "Wrong Account!" Usually, though, the differences are just strong enough to catch my attention without looking too "loud" to the recipient. Perhaps just your work affiliation/title for the business one and a favourite quote or just a friendly signoff ("Toodle-oo!") for the personal one. Since the sig is inserted at the end of the email automatically, it's easy to notice if it doesn't match your intent.

  • Adding short signatures to both my home and work accounts might be enough of a nudge to remind me when I'm sending to the wrong one. I'm not trained to check the From header, but I do check the bod area. Good tip! Oct 15, 2014 at 0:02

There's a way to safely prevent sending new emails from a wrong account: If you want to ALWAYS send emails from the same account, simply select that account in the "Send new message from" dropdown at Mail - Settings - Composing.

If you want to be forced to ALWAYS select the sender when composing an email, do the following:

  1. At Mail - Settings - Accounts add a new account which you call "INVALID". At "Server Settings" provide invalid credentials for the outgoing email server.
  2. Then at Mail - Settings - Composing select "INVALID" in the "Send new message from" dropdown.

Whenenver you compose a new email, you see "INVALID" (you can also call it "PLEASE SELECT ME") in the FROM line, incidcating to pick the correct account from the dropdown. Even if you forget to choose the correct account, Mac mail will remind you to do so by prompting that sending is not possible.

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