Mail Steward ($49.95) is one of those products that Tim would love “You know how I love Mac software that’s simple to use and functional, this is one of those programs”
As for me I am still new enough to this Mac stuff to be in awe of the simplicity of the installation, set up and use of virtually every application, so if I say it installs exactly as you would expect from a Mac application you will know what I mean.
I am a self confessed “BackUp Junkie” – I religiously follow a Back Up schedule that now includes my Emails. Setup is really easy with only a few decisions to be made. First you need to select the path where you want the database to be created. I selected a File Path that placed the file in my home documents folders. This isn’t the default BUT I wanted to ensure that the files sat in a folder that I already Backed Up. Next you select the Mail Accounts, whether you want to include attachments etc and then you are ready to Store Email in Database. This allows you to set the date range, which is really useful for ensuring that you don’t keep re-saving the same files i.e. I have saved all mine in an initial Folder (MyEmail310306) so next month (for example) I will save in a folder (MyEmail310506) and set the parameters to just save emails created or received in May. I will repeat this every month and then every sixth month I will create a file that includes ALL my emails and effectively start the process again, which means I will be able to delete the last six months files. I did tell you I was a Back Up Junkie.
A neat feature is the ability to import mbox files, which means that for people switching from a Windows PC they could use Outlook2Mac (a great product) to convert all their emails and then use Mail Steward to import them into Apple Mail. I used Outlook2Mac when I switched and was really pleased EXCEPT for the lack of organizational/filing features. I ended up with a huge list of emails that I had to manually file.
Back to Mail Steward. Once the emails are stored in the database (945 including attachments in my case took about 20 minutes to back up) you get a nice little summary list with a number of function. You can print, save, delete or export the email, and you can even reply to them as well). Once the database is created there is a solid search function, a browse function and the ability to merge databases. Of these the later is the most useful in my opinion.
In summary – great product, but can’t see that it is actually worth $49.95. I can see why they want to charge that amount, but too many of the features are not really necessary in my mind. Bearing in mind that with my Windows PC I back up my emails, contacts, tasks and calendar with the export/import .pst option, this product gives me what I want, but at a price I can’t really justify.