There’s a handy and much underused feature available in Apple Mail called Data Detectors which allow you to send information to other programs with a click of a mouse. How this works, is that whenever commonly used tidbits of information such as addresses, dates or phone numbers appear, point to it with your mouse. Once you do, a border appears around the data accompanied by a downward pointing arrow. Then, either right-click (or Ctrl-click) inside the box to display a shortcut menu. You can also click on the downward pointing arrow.
Options from the shortcut menu include:
- Show address in the Maps application
- Create a new contact from the selection
- Add selection to existing contact
- Open a Link
- Display flight information in the Flight dashboard widget
- And more….
I find that clicking the drop-down arrow can provide even more useful information.
Options from the downward pointing triangle include:
- When you highlight an address, a miniature map displaying the address appears. You can add or create a new contact from the address, or open the address in the Maps application.
- When a date is selected, the event appears in a miniature version of the actual Calendar day view. Click Add to Calendar to add the event to your calendar. If you double-click event in the Calendar, it opens the associated e-mail message.
- When a Web address is highlighted, clicking the downward-pointing triangle displays the actual Web page in a pop-up window.
- If a Tracking Number from a service such as UPS or FedEx is highlighted, clicking the triangle allows you to display the company’s tracking page for that particular package.
The Data Detectors feature is a handy tool that many people tend to ignore. I find that it can save a lot of time and provide tons of useful information.