How to Create a New Email Compose Shortcut for the Mac Dock
Heavy email users may find it useful to have a handy Dock shortcut for creating new email messages on the Mac. In this tutorial, we’ll walk through setting up a simple Automator application that will compose a new email message with a set template whenever the app is clicked in the Mac Dock, from anywhere the Dock can be accessed.
This new email compose shortcut will be demonstrated with the default Mail app in Mac OS, but Microsoft Outlook can be used as well for the new email message compose shortcut, and many other email applications on the Mac can do this too as long as they support Automator actions.
How to Create a New Email Message Shortcut for the Dock with Automator in Mac OS
- Launch Automator in Mac OS, it’s found within the /Applications/ folder
- Pull down the “File” menu and choose “New” and then select “Application” as the type of Automator service you will create
- From the left-side Actions menu, search for “New Mail Message” (or you can navigate to Actions > Library > Mail (or Outlook) > New Mail Message)
- For Mail for Mac: select the “New Mail Message” action
- For Microsoft Outlook for Mac: select the “Create New Outlook Mail Message” action
- Drag the selected “New Mail Message” action over to the right-side panel of Automator, the result should look like the image above
- Optionally, fill in the details for the New Mail Message action, since this is aiming to be a template you’ll probably want to leave the “To” and “CC” sections empty, but you may want to adjust ‘Account’ to set the email account this action will use, and possibly a subject and generic Message body too
- When satisfied, it’s time to test run the Automator action, so click the “Run” button in the upper right corner
- If the Automator action was successful as it should be, a new email message compose window should pop-up on the screen (you can close this when finished)
- Now save the Automator action by going to the “File” menu and choosing “Save”, then give the Automator action an obvious name like “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” and make sure the ‘File Format’ is set to Application, then choose to Save this file somewhere easy to find like the Documents folder
- Quit out of Automator when finished
- Now simply go to the Documents folder (or where ever you saved the New Mail Automator shortcut), locate your “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” and you can drag it into the Dock right now if you want, or optionally follow the steps below to customize the shortcut icon too
- OPTIONAL, Changing the shortcuts icon: Let’s change the icon of the “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” so it stands out in the Dock better *
- Copy the icon image below by right-clicking on it and choosing “Copy”, it is a transparent PNG file
- Now go back to the Finder and select the “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” item and then hit Command+i to open Get Info (or go to the “File” menu and choose “Get Info”)
- Click on the files Icon in the corner and then hit Command+V to Paste the copied icon, then close the “Get Info” window
- Now drag the “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” into the Mac Dock where it will reside for easy access, and it looks spiffier with that custom icon too
- Click the “New Email Compose Shortcut.app” app in the Mac Dock from anywhere to instantly create a new email at any time
That’s it! Now you’ve got an easy to access shortcut right in the Dock that anytime it’s clicked, it will launch a new email message composition window in the Mail application you chose. We covered using Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook here, but theoretically you should be able to use any other email client on the Mac as well as long as it supports Automator actions and is found within the Automator app.
* You can give your New Email Compose Shortcut application any custom icon you want by using the “Get Info” on file method to changing an icon in Mac OS. You can use the little custom icon I threw together in Preview with Emoji and another system icon, or you can use any other icon you want. The Mac has a collection of high resolution Mac system icons tucked into a System Resources folder if you want some other icon options.
Thanks to Michael W. for the tip idea!