Mail.app and text attachments
December 29, 2007 11:10 PM   Subscribe

How can I gets OS X Mail.app to display text attachments as attachments rather than dumping the text inline in the email?

I've come to like Mail.app generally, but I have one very annoying problem - I often send/receive XML files. When Mail receives an email with XML attachments, it puts their text inline and not as downloadable attachments. All I can do is copy and paste the text out of the email into new XML files in a text editor, which is very tedious and problematic, not to mention I lose the original file names. There is nothing in preferences nor anything in Apple's support that addresses plain text attachments.
posted by badstone to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I just did a test and, with Mail 3.1 running on Mac OS X 10.5.1, the attachments appear just fine.
posted by nathan_teske at 11:55 PM on December 29, 2007


Response by poster: well... that's... great for you! how can I be like you? granted, I'm running Mail 3.0 and OS X 10.5, so I guess I can wait to see if anything changes after upgrading. is this just a really new feature for Mail to be able to view text attachments as actual attachments do you suppose?
posted by badstone at 12:15 AM on December 30, 2007


Not ideal but... have the sender zip the file?
posted by crustix at 12:52 AM on December 30, 2007


I've never configured anything special, as far as I am aware, and text attachments don't show up inline for me, either. (I just tested this, as well, to make sure I wasn't remembering wrong.)
posted by Mikey-San at 1:20 AM on December 30, 2007


Best answer: Just a heads up, the .xml issue may not be a mail.app problem, but something to do with the sender of the message or your mail server (is it just from one person? or one company?) or just about any server and machine the email passes through between you and the sender.

Since emails are still just one long string of text, if the header of the xml file is munged, missing, or the file is not attached properly, mail.app will just happily display it inline with the rest of the text, because it doesn't know where the message stops and the attachments start. I see this happen a lot with rtf / txt / html attachments if the person is dragging / dropping vs using the manual attach option etc (i know, inconsistent UI behavior).

I've usually seen it happen with files sent form outlook / exchange, just because they like to throw extra data in there in case the receiving client is on outlook / exchange. And then other mail servers have options to strip that information out so it doesnt mess with clients, etc.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:21 AM on December 30, 2007


Best answer: Check out mail attachments iconizer.
posted by adamrice at 7:01 AM on December 30, 2007


So, are you saying that, under the last line of the header in the display pane, there isn't the little toggle for showing the attachment? Mail.app would normally show the attachment there as well as display it in-line.
Odd.
If that's not what you're seeing, then my money is on something like what mrzarquon postulates.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:13 AM on December 30, 2007


Send yourself a test message and see what it looks like in raw source mode.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:11 AM on December 30, 2007


Response by poster: To really illustrate this Thorzdad - I've had messages where both and XML file and an Excel spreadsheet file were attached. the spreadsheet would show up as an iconized attachment while the XML would appear inline.

OK, I've just tried sending myself XML from my personal gmail account (the account that I use Mail.app with is company email). Sure enough, it acts correctly! The XML file comes through as an attachment! So, I guess it's a problem with my company's email server! mrzarquon is the winner! or at least, the diagnoser. Then it looks like the mail attachments iconizer is the perfect patch. Shame I would have to pay to fix this bug though, maybe I'll just switch back to Thunderbird. (well, company would pay for it, but this is just out of prinicpal :) )

thanks!
posted by badstone at 12:24 PM on December 30, 2007


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