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Take your emails from plain text to personal. Apple’s Mail includes often-overlooked attractive Stationery templates for making your messages stand out.
Stationery has been a feature of Mail for several years now, but unless you’re a die-hard Mac user you might not know it exists. Like the greeting card and photo book features in iPhoto, Stationery allows you to spruce up and personalize your email messages using professionally designed templates and personal photos.
Fortunately, Stationery will remain a fixture with the release of OS X Yosemite, so here’s how to use it.
Create A Stationery Email
The Stationery feature can be accessed by creating a new message in Mail, and then clicking on the Stationery button on the right side of the toolbar (see image below).
Stationery templates will appear for you to browse through, when you find one you like select it and it will be applied to your current message. Stationery includes 23 templates for announcements, birthdays, business and greeting letters.
A few of the designs may appear a little dated, but they still offer something a little different to plain text-based emails.
Editing a Template
Just like templates in Apple’s Pages, you can drag and drop a photo or image from the media browser in the toolbar or the Finder, and replace the existing image photo in a template’s placeholder.
Notice that when you drop your photo into template, that same photo will show up when you change to another template. While all the placeholder text can be changed for your personal messages, that’s the extent of the changes you can make to a template.
You can’t alter the designs themselves without locating packaged contents buried in the library folder (User Account > Library > Containers > com.apple.mail > Data > Library > Application Support > Mail > Stationary > Apple > Contents > Resources > Custom > Contents > Resources, in case you wondered).
Though Apple only provides a handful of templates, you can drag the designs you like most to the Favorites folder for quicker access.
If you find these templates useful, you might want to consider downloading more templates created by third-party developers. Equinux.com has the widest multi-purpose collection of templates available through their free Stationery Greeting Cards application, also available in the Mac App Store.
The app includes a few free sample templates, and a wide variety of premium holiday, seasonal, and business templates. You can preview templates before purchasing them, and all of your purchases are backed up with Equinux where they can be restored to the app if they are ever deleted or lost.
To install a selected template, you can use the keyboard shortcut, Command+N, or drag the template into the preview window and click the New Message window. The template will be sent as a new message in Mail, and you will get the option to install it in the Stationery library. All imported templates can be found in the Custom section of the library.
Equinux also sells a Picture Mails greeting card app ($0.99) for the iPad, in which you can browse, purchase, and customize templates from its expansive catalogue.
Another developer, Macmanus, also sells a potpourri of templates in its Mail Stationery Designs ($9.99) application, which includes designs for invitations, announcements, notes, and holidays. Selected templates can be previewed by hitting the space bar, and installed in the Stationery library with a simple double-click.
The Macmanus website provides a few more sample previews of its stationery designs, which are not sold individually or in packs, but as an entire collection.
Perhaps the developer with the most modern designs is Jumpsoft’s Mail Stationery ($19.99) application, which includes 149 templates that can be previewed on its website. Their Cardboard templates, for example, could great attention grabbers for short email messages, and they would work for both personal and creative business purposes.
A significant advantage in Jumpsoft’s templates is that when you click on the background of most templates, the background color changes providing additional options to choose from for the same design.
Before You Buy
There a few good online digital greeting and stationery card services, including AmericanGreetings.com, 123greetings.com, and BlueMountain.com, each including free and premium selections. So before you purchase templates from third-party providers, you might want to look into other options for the type and style of stationery that fits your needs.
Do you use Mail Stationery? Ever bought any third-party designs? Let us know!