MailMate is the email application you should be using if you’re on OS X. It’s extremely powerful, customizable, actively developed, and its developer, Benny, is very responsive and provides excellent support on the mailing list.

What started with me asking the list for help accessing MailMate’s mail database so I could play around with plotting email data became an email visualization bundle that MailMate users can install and use.

Pie chart of selected emails by day of week

Bar chart of selected emails by sender

Scatterplot of selected emails over time

The text in the bar chart is garbled using MailMate’s supercool “Distortion” mode which you can enable in the View menu. It helps you hide private information whenever you want to share screenshots, and it extends to the plots you create with Visualize.

Visualize.mmBundle is hosted on GitHub and you can find installation and usage instructions there.

Select a bunch of emails or an entire folder and invoke one of the bundle’s two commands (two for now):

  • Emails by sender (^B)
  • Emails by time (^T)

I am thinking of and planning many more interesting plots that one can make with the treasure of data in emails and email headers. All suggestions are welcome.

Benny put a lot of time and effort in helping me get the data out of MailMate and into a form I could wrangle into summaries and graphs. I really appreciate that time and help.