You can set your preferences for many settings in PowerMail using the Preferences dialog.

To set your preferences:

  1. Choose Preferences from the PowerMail menu. The Preferences dialog appears. The Preferences dialog is divided into a list of preference categories along the left side of the dialog, and a panel of preferences for the selected category on the right.
  2. Select the category of preference that you want to set from the list on the left. The preference options for that category appear on the right.
  3. When you have finished setting Preferences, close the Preferences dialog, and click Save in the confirmation dialog.

There are preference categories for:


The General preferences let you set some miscellaneous preferences.

If you check the "Empty Mail Trash" and "Only messages older than" checkboxes, the messages that have been in the mail trash for more than the specified number of days will be deleted when you quit PowerMail.


The Replying preferences let you set the behavior for replying to messages you receive. You can set the default to reply to either the Sender only, or to the Sender and all other recipients.

You can choose to have replies use the standard "Re:" subject, or to use numbered subjects "Re(2)", "Re(3)", and so on.

You can choose to use an "attribution line" that appears above quoted text when replying to a message. (To quote text from a received message in the reply, select the message to quote, then click the Reply button in the Toolbar.) If you check "Use attribution line" checkbox, the attribution line you create appears above the quoted text. You can create an attribution line from a combination of text you type and placeholder fields such as date and time, that are filled in automatically when the reply is sent. A default attribution line is provided, but you can change it to anything you want.

To create an attribution line:

  1. Click on the Replying icon to display the Replying preferences.
  2. Type text and select placeholder fields from the popup menu to the top right of the attribute line text box.

You will end up with something like the following:

Well, <sender name>, I was shocked when on <short date> at <time>, you sent me:

Place holder fields enclosed in brackets, are filled in accordingly when you send the reply.


The Attachments preferences let you choose the folder where the received attachments will be stored, and wether StuffIt files (.sit and .sitx) will be decompressed automatically or not. You can also specify the default encoding to use when you send attachments (a popup menu placed at the bottom of the message window will let you use another encoding than the default one, for each message you send). Avoid compressing the attachments with StuffIt if you are not sure that the recipients also use a Mac.

Character Sets

The Character Sets preferences lets you define which character sets to use when sending messages in different languages (received messages are always handled using whatever character set they were sent with). The "For language family" popup menu displays the different language families or script systems installed on your computer. For each language family you use for sending messages, you can define the character set to use. Note that whatever character set is chosen here, messages that contain only ASCII characters will be sent with the US-ASCII character set. Similarly, non ASCII messages that contain only characters from the ISO-8859-1 character set will be sent in ISO-8859-1 even if you specify another character set, because the other character sets can be be unsupported by certain mail clients or operating systems.


The Display preferences let you set the display font according to the script system and to select how to display mail headers.

Text Colors

You can choose the colors to use to highlight quoted text and URLs.


The Notifications preferences let you set the notification sound used for sent messages, errors, and the arrival of new mail. You can also choose to display an alert when new mail arrives.


The Labels preferences let you assign names and colors to the labels of messages displayed in message lists.

To customize a label:

  1. Type the name of the label into the text field.
  2. Click on the color swatch for the label. The Color picker appears.
  3. Choose a color and click OK.

Address Book

When you type an address in the recipient field of a message, PowerMail will auto-complete the address using the contacts stored in your address book. You can choose which fields should be used for the auto-completion, and in which order. For example, if you type "martin" and you have in your address book a contact whose first name is Martin, and another one whose last name is Martin, you can choose which one will appear first in the auto-complete list.

If you check the Address History checkbox, the auto-complete will also search the recipients and senders of every messages you sent or received in last n days.

When you create manually a new contact in your address book, it's Display Name will be automatically composed from it's first and last name, in the ordre specified in the "Displaying" popup menu.

When you add the sender of a message to your address book, PowerMail parses it's full name or email address to try to extract it's first name and last name. You can define in the "Parsing" popup menu whether PowerMail should consider that the first word is is first name or the last name.


You can synchronize PowerMail's address book with Apple's AddressBook application (which can itself be synchronised with your mobile phone or PDA using iSync).

You can choose to synchronize in both directions (every change made in PowerMail will be reflected in the Apple Address book, and vice versa), or only in one direction. You can decide if you want synchronization to occur only for new contacts, or for contacts you modify, or even for contacts you delete (this last option can be dangerous, be careful).

If you prefer to import or export the address book manually, choose Import or Export in the File / Database submenu.

Indexing & Spelling

The Indexing preferences let you enable or disable automatic indexing of messages and choose a method for processing Roman text.

See the section above on indexing for an explanation of indexing options.

You can use Apple's spell checker to check spelling as you type, or manually (use the Edit / Spelling submenu).

You can also use a third party spell checker that support the Word Services protocol to check spelling manually. In the Indexing & Spelling preference pane, select the spell checker application to use, then choose "Check via external application" in the Edit / Spelling submenu (or hit command =) to spell check a message.

HTML Reader

PowerMail can display HTML messages using Apple's HTMLRendering library. This library does not display correctly certain HTML messages, and can hang or crash PowerMail, so you might want to disable the HTML reader, or to enable it only for messages that don't contain a plain text version of the HTML data. Also, you can disable the download of external pictures in HTML messages: they may be slow to download, and when you receive spam, they can be used to inform the spammer that you have read the message.

Note that you can click the button with a globe icon, at the bottom of an HTML message, to display it in your web browser. You can also press the button to reveal a popup menu that let you switch between the plain text or the HTML version, and download the external images manually.


The "mark as spam" and "mark as good" buttons do several things:

  1. set the spam rating of the message to 100 or 0, respectively
  2. train SpamSieve or your third party spam filter with the selected messages
  3. you can define additional actions, like moving the message, changing its read status, and perform the mail filters that would have been performed when the message has been received if it has not been identified as spam.

You can choose to automatically mark messages as good (and thus, train SpamSieve or your third party spam filter) when you manually move a message from the Spam folder to another folder.

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