and widescreen displays


OK, I’ve had my gripes about before (see Mail Signatures Suck, but I’ve never mentioned the layout of the window. Now there’s a solution that highlights a fault in the original and almost entirely related to the current trend towards widescreen monitors.

Why? Well, the current structure of the window assumes that you want a list of folders on the left, and a split between the list of messages in a folder, and the message itself on the right.

This is fine on a standard 4:3 monitor. But on your typical widescreen, as used in the iMac or Powerbook/MacBook and variations thereof, you end up with the potential to waste a lot of space.

If you use the full-screen for your window (like me), you’ll end up either with a very wide folder list, or a wide message list, which often means lots of white space, either to pad out your mail folders, or to pad out the columns in your message list. And even with a hi-res 20″ widescreen display, the amount of space you can devote to the actual mail message is quite small.

Now there’s a plug-in for that splits your screen into three vertical columns, one for folders, one for the mail list, and one for the message. You can download the plug-in from here (with instructions), and thanks to The Unofficial Apple Weblog for the heads up.

Here’s the traditional layout: three panels

And the same folder and message in the three panels layout: three panels

The overall result is that you can see more messages in a folder without having to scroll, and you an usually see all of the mail message too – or at least more of it at the same time.

Well worth trying out if you are a widescreen Mac user.


Earl Semones

Have just bought a widescreen LCD, but am concerned that my Emails that I compose are received by monitors that have to be horizontally scrolled to see the lines that go past the right side of the window. Is there a solution to this in OE, WindowsXP, eg right margin setting?

Dave M.

OK, I have been trying to figure out how to get Mail to display with the “message” pane “under” the list of messages. Like the first picture in this post.

Either I installed this patch to get the horizontal layout without remembering that I did it, or I just can’t figure out how to change the layout to vertical.

I have been using the widescreen layout for as long as I can remember. Am I insane, did I install a plugin/patch that I don’t remember? Is there a way to get the vertical layout?



Another question from a brand new MacUser:
Actually to prevent spam messages from opening in the preview screen, and also to have more reading space (yeah it’s true the widescreen can seem inapropriate for!), I prefer to open a new window when I read a message.
…the problem is: how do you get to the next message from this window??? I used to click “next” on outlook express! It’s hard to believe they haven’t thought about it…

Any clue to help me? ;-)

Seth Voltz

I’d like to see this extended (If it can be) to display each message in the middle pane the way Outlook does with the subject on the first line then other info (date, sender, etc) on a second line. Very useful in keeping the width of the pane small.


No problem in search of a solution? Drag the divider between sender list and the message to the bottom. Push enter on the highlighted message and the full message opens in a separate window that you can place beside the mail window. It remembers its position. Command W to close the window. Arrow down to the next message you want to read and hit enter. Full message window opens again.

Why screw around with some third party app for something you can already do with Mail?


@unqtom – UPDATE – archive is workin – It was propably only an error in dowenloading session.

Don Parr

In reference to Brandon’s comment, I can’t believe the difference 2 inches makes? I’m using it on my 14″ iBook G4 (not widescreen) at 1024 x 768, and it’s awesome! I don’t even have to use it at full screen to enjoy the benefits :)!

Once again, it a “personal” preference, so widescreen or not, give it a look or try and see what “you” think?! “I” like it and plan to keep it.


anyone else having problems with unzipping the plugin archive?
for me it shows up an error both on mac n pc.
Geee I need this plugin badly – after moving from PC to Macv it was the only thing i really missed from outlook. HELP :D


nc, it’s very monitor dependent… that’s why he suggested this for people with widescreen displays.

I just tried it on my MacBook Pro and it works okay, but would probably be best for any of the cinema displays or iMacs with more pixels. You can see everything on the MacBook Pro but have to have the window from edge to edge.

I like it though, it was one of the one features I wished was in

I have a PB 12″ too, and there’s absolutely no way this would work on a 1024 px wide screen. If you’ve got something 1400 or wider give it a shot though.


forgot to exit out of terminal…working now…cool!


Hmmm, did not work for me…. anybody get it to work? thanks for any advice!

Todd Baur

Just a note for Market Circle Daylight user’s: This thing seems to confuse DMI and it keeps saying that the ’email text area is collapsed’.

Le citadin

Huh… I’m only happy not to have as many emails as we see on those csreenshots… It would just drive me crazy!!!


Couldn’t you resize the entire window? I could be wrong.


I tried the vertical pane in Mail and in Vienna and in other programs, and have to admit that I don’t like it. You get less information out of the headers, for example. Matter of fact, the middle column was simply useless on a 12″ Powerbook. On a real widescreen machine (my MacBook is on its way) it might be different, but this kind of thing is really very monitor dependent.


Just in case one didn’t know, you can move the horizontal divider between the email list and the actual message up or down so the message area is larger/smaller. I have mine set so I only see 5-10 in the top list.

Todd Baur

Quite honestly this is probably the only thing I like from Outlook on the PC, and have secretly wished could give me the option to flip it around. Fantasic job!

Josh Pigford

Lime, I agree that having some apps fullscreen can be a bit counter productive (like Mail in it’s current state) but I personally can’t stand seeing the edges of like 20 windows when I’m looking at my screen. That’s extremely distracting.

And also, your claim that you shouldn’t have ANY app at fullscreen is a bit large. Take apps like Photoshop or Illustrator, you better believe I’m gonna have those apps at full screen…that’s precisely why I have dual 21″ monitors…for more screen space in those apps. So be careful making claims like that.

Phil Bowell

“You shouldn’t be using any application fullscreen its completely counter productive, thats one of the worst things about windows.”

Anyone else confused by this?? How is it counter productive?? Means it block out all the distractions that lurk behind open windows. Obviously not always necessary, but when dealing with large amounts of emails, you don’t want distracting.


You shouldn’t be using any application fullscreen its completely counter productive, thats one of the worst things about windows.

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