Recently, a beta tester asked whether a widescreen layout had been considered for MailMate. A widescreen layout has the message view to the right of the messages outline instead of below. The short answer would be no, but the long answer is better: It is possible to create such a layout yourself.

Unfortunately it is mostly undocumented and creating layouts is only going to be for expert users for now. The following should be considered a very short description of how it works for those who would like to experiment with layouts themselves. If you just want to know how to get a widescreen layout in MailMate then jump to the bottom of this post.

MailMate currently has 3 kinds of windows which can have custom layouts:

  • Mailboxes: The main window of MailMate (⌥⌘N). Currently there are 4 layouts available which can be seen in the “View ▸ Layout” menu. One of these is the default three-pane layout which is how most email applications are designed.
  • Message: The window used to display a single message (⌘O). Currently no alternative layouts available.
  • Composer: The window used when editing a new message (⌘N, ⌘R or ⇧⌘F). Currently no alternative layouts available.

The existing layouts are specified using the property list format and they are all located in the following folder:

Each type of layout has its own subfolder. If you want to try to make a custom layout you should base it on one of these files. They are the only real documentation of the format for now.

Custom layouts must be placed at the following location (using the appropriate subfolder):

~/Library/Application Support/MailMate/Resources/Layouts/

In short, a layout is specified as a tree where each node corresponds to a view controller which is created by MailMate based on the viewerType specified for the node. Various key/value pairs can be specified for the nodes. Some are supported by all kinds of nodes and some are only supported by specific nodes. In particular, the only nodes which can have children are MmSplitView and MmBoxView.

Note that all of the above may change in future versions of MailMate. It should be considered an experimental feature. That said, if you make any interesting custom layouts, you are most welcome to share them with us and the rest of the world.

Now back to the initial question. To get a widescreen layout (as an option in the “View ▸ Layout” menu) you should download this file and copy it to the following location (creating the folders as necessary):

~/Library/Application Support/MailMate/Resources/Layouts/Mailboxes/

You must restart MailMate to make the layout available.

Updated October 25th: Changed the example file to include the view to be displayed when blocking images.