How to Customize Your Mac Mail Sidebar for Enhanced Productivity

Discover how to customize your Mac Mail sidebar for a more efficient and personalized email experience.

How to Customize Your Mac Mail Sidebar for Enhanced Productivity

The sidebar in Mac Mail serves as a navigational hub, providing quick access to your mailboxes, folders, and flagged items. Customizing this sidebar can significantly improve your email management and overall productivity. This article will guide you through the various ways you can customize your Mac Mail sidebar.

The Basics of Sidebar Customization

Showing or Hiding the Sidebar

The sidebar in Mac Mail can be toggled on or off based on your preference. To do this, navigate to the ‘View’ menu at the top of your screen and select either ‘Show Sidebar’ or ‘Hide Sidebar.’ This is particularly useful when you want to focus on reading your emails without any distractions.

Resizing the Sidebar

The width of the sidebar is adjustable to suit your needs. To resize it, hover your cursor over the separator bar between the sidebar and the main email window. When the cursor changes to a resizing icon, click and drag to adjust the sidebar’s width. This is especially helpful if you have long folder names or want to see more of your email list.

Changing Icon and Text Size

If you find the default icon and text size too small or too large, Mac Mail allows you to adjust these settings. Navigate to the Apple menu, select ‘System Preferences,’ click on ‘Displays,’ and then choose ‘Text Size.’ From there, you can select your preferred size for a more comfortable viewing experience.

Customizing Sidebar Sections

Mac Mail’s sidebar is divided into different sections like ‘Inbox,’ ‘Sent,’ ‘Drafts,’ etc. You can choose which sections appear by right-clicking on the sidebar and selecting ‘Edit Sidebar.’ From there, you can add or remove sections according to your needs.

Color-Coding Folders and Labels

For those who like to organize their emails meticulously, Mac Mail offers the option to color-code your folders and labels. Right-click on the folder or label in the sidebar and choose ‘Label’ to select a color. This feature helps you quickly identify and access specific folders or labels.

Advanced Sidebar Customization

Organizing Mailboxes and Folders

One of the most useful features of the Mac Mail sidebar is the ability to organize your mailboxes and folders. You can drag and drop them into your preferred order, making it easier to access the ones you use most frequently.

Using the Favorites Section

The Favorites section at the top of the sidebar allows you to add mailboxes that you frequently use. Simply drag the mailbox into the Favorites section for easier access.

System Settings Impact

Your Mac’s system settings can also impact the appearance and functionality of the sidebar. For instance, changing the system’s font size can affect how much information fits in the sidebar.

Tips and Tricks

Keyboard Shortcuts for Sidebar

Keyboard shortcuts can make navigating the sidebar even more efficient. For example, pressing Control-Command-S can quickly show or hide the sidebar, saving you a trip to the ‘View’ menu.

Third-Party Tools for Sidebar Customization

There are several third-party tools available that offer more advanced customization options for the Mac Mail sidebar. These can be particularly useful for those who want to take their customization to the next level.


Customizing your Mac Mail sidebar is not just about making it look good; it’s about creating an email management system that works for you. With the right setup, you can make your email experience more efficient and personalized.


  1. Use the sidebar in Mail on Mac – Apple Support
  2. Apple Mail sidebar woes: Mac Talk Forum – Digital Photography Review
  3. 10 Ways To Customize Mac Mail –

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