Revert Mail to the Classic Layout in OS X

Jul 26, 2011 - 10 Comments

Do you miss the way Mail used to look, when you used to be able to see many more email messages all at once from the primary screen without scrolling around? As you probably know, Mail.app received a pretty significant makeover in Mac OS X Lion that has stuck around in all versions of OS X ever since, but if you’re not a fan of the revised layout, you can easily revert back to the classic Mail appearances original UI:

  • Open Mail and go to Preferences (from the Mail menu, or hit Command+,)
  • Click on the “Viewing” tab and choose “Use classic layout”

Get the old Mail layout back in Mac OS X

That’s it! Changes are instant, and you’re back to the way Mail looked in Snow Leopard and before, which keeps the message list on top of the mail message, and also displays about 3x more messages per screen without scrolling around. That “classic” layout won’t show a message subject preview, but it does still show the sender, the subject, and the time stamp, and if you’re using VIP it will of course point out VIP senders as well.

Thanks to Jim for sending this in!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

10 Comments

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  1. Ben T says:

    Any idea if there’s a way to get ride of the new window animation? For example, when I hit send, the compose window flies vertically off the screen. Just another one of those frivolous animations that add little.

    • James says:

      Type this into the Terminal app, then restart Mail (and any other open app):

      defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

  2. Nice. All we need now is the same checkbox in Address Book and iCal. And Finder, come to think of it, regarding their silly monochrome icons.

  3. [...] if you don’t like the new interface of Lion Mail.app, you can also easily change back to the classic layout which shows the new mail on top of [...]

  4. MG says:

    Thank you! Just saved me from a big headache!

  5. Ray says:

    Brilliant… I much prefer the old mail interface. However, any way of activating tabs to include the search button?

  6. Bob says:

    Thank you!!

  7. Katherine says:

    THANK YOU! Oh, I’ve been suffering with the new ‘improved’ interface, and it feels SO good to turn it off.

  8. Patman says:

    Yes I prefer classic too. But I also want the mail message to the right. Not at the bottom!

  9. [...] instantly see the difference by toggling this setting. This change became the new default with 10.7 and wasn’t particularly popular with many [...]

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