Apple made the right move when they decided to integrate tagging support into OS X 10.9 Mavericks. As I mentioned before the current implementation leaves plenty of room for improvements. Being able to tag my emails is the one thing I miss most at the moment.

Why tag Emails?

I used to archive my work related emails into a folder structure. They were sorted by client and project. When I was searching for a project file, I either had to look at the corresponding folder at my hard disk or in Apple Mail.

Emails organized in Folder StructureEmails organized in Folder Structure

This worked well for the first few clients and projects but became somewhat unmanageable over time. As I often work with the same designers on several projects at the same time, I also faced the problem of receiving emails containing relevant information for more than one project. As I could archive such emails only in one folder, I had to decide which project was more important and stored the message there.

After reading David Sparks' Email Field Guide, I started to unclutter my folder structure and reduced it to work, personal and blog. The search function in Apple Mail is great to find the messages I am searching for.

But I still wanted a possibility to see all related files and emails at the same time. While this works fine for all my project files on my hard disk using tags, Apple forgot to add tagging support to its Mail app.

How to Tag your Emails

Fortunately, Apple Mail stores all emails as single files on your hdd in ~/Library/Mail. The only difficulty was to find the right file for the email that was selected in the app. Applescript came to rescue, which I included in my Alfred Tagging Workflow.

With my workflow installed, you can select any number of emails and press the ⌃⌥M hotkey. This will trigger the tagging workflow and pass through all selected email messages.

Tag Workflow showing EmailsTag Workflow showing Emails

The workflow shows all emails along with their assigned tags. You can then bulk add new tags to all messages or remove a tag from an email.

The Result

For all related files of a project I use the project name as tag. If I only want to get a list of emails with a certain tag, I can invoke an Alfred search with the .mtagged keyword.

Search Tagged Emails with AlfredSearch Tagged Emails with Alfred

A Spotlight search for the tag presents me a list of all matching files/folders and emails. That makes it pretty easy to keep all the related stuff easily accessible.

Search Tagged Emails/Files with FinderSearch Tagged Emails/Files with Finder

You can find all necessary information on where to download and how to install the workflow here.