It's great when developers respond to the needs of users and produce something simple that makes a big difference to your working day.
The creation of Letterbox is a good example of this. The program takes advantage of widescreen monitors to make using Mail a much easier experience. It's ideal for those using Powerbooks, MacBook Pros and Cinema displays, although it's appropriate for anyone with a widescreen display. Being able to manage your mailbox and organize it in widescreen can also increase your productivity by making everything clearer, rather than squeezing it all into a small space.
The major improvement in this latest release is automatic installation. In the previous version, you had to do it manually by creating the folder '~/Library/Mail/Bundles' if you've never installed a Mail plug-in before. Secondly, you then needed to open Terminal and type "'defaults write com.apple.mail EnableBundles 1'. Finally, copy the 'Letterbox.mailbundle' file into '~/Library/Mail/Bundles' and then quit and restart Mail for the settings to take effect.
You can still use a GUI to customize everything after installation. You can customize Letterbox's settings in the preference pane by select the menu item 'Mail:Preferences'. You can also change the preview pane position, which is useful if you regularly switch between a laptop monitor and an external monitor. Just go to 'View' then 'Preview Pane menu'.
Letterbox works by rearranging Mail into three separate columns. It removes the vertical nature of Mail and eliminates things such as placing the preview screen under the message list, making it far more suitable for widescreen monitors. The benefits of using Letterbox are many, although it would still be nice to be able to change order of the columns. For instance, it would be good to see the message in the middle column because that's where you naturally focus on your inbox. You can read more about Letterboxin our OnSoftware blog post.
Overall, Letterbox is a must have Mail plugin for anyone working on a widescreen monitor. It will surely become a standard feature of Mail in future releases.
- * This version of Letterbox is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.7 and the build of Mail on new MacBook Pros.
- * Still incompatible with some Mail plugins that also use Sparkle for auto-updating.
- * The two-line combined From/Subject column doesn't play well with fonts other than Helvetica and Lucida Grande.
- * Changing the preview pane position with the menu item or keyboard shortcut does not visibly change the value in the preference pane.