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Old 08-27-2011, 12:29 PM   #1
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Mail on lion has no view area?

I somehow got rid of the third column in the Mail application where you view the email, similar to the Ipad...How do I get it back?
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:03 PM   #2
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That was a fun ride! I figured out how to reproduce your problem, then had a heck of a time figuring out how to undo it.

To reproduce the problem (in case anyone is interested), drag the right edge of the second column all the way to the right edge of the window. The third column disappears. (Here, column 1 is the sidebar, which is easily shown/hidden with View->Show/Hide Sidebar, or by clicking on the Sidebar icon in the toolbar; column 2 is a list of messages or conversations; column 3 is the content of the selected message/conversation.)

The way Apple expects the user to undo this: on the right edge of the window, about half way down, you'll see a little dimple, indicating a grab point that you can use do drag the dividing line between columns 2 and 3 back to the left again. Trouble is, it doesn't work. The right edge of the window is already busy supporting two new features added since then: the window edge itself can be dragged to resize the window, and the region just inside the window edge is covered by the (normally hidden but still active) scrollbar. You cannot click-and-drag on that dimple without one of the new features usurping the click-and-drag.

The solution: don't click-and-drag. Neither window resize nor the scrollbar are interested in a double-click. Double-click on the dimple, and the width of column 2 gets reapportioned evenly between columns 2 and 3. Once the boundary between the columns is moved away from the right edge of the window, it can be easily dragged to where you really want it.

How did I find this? While I was flailing around, I happened to leave the cursor hovering over the dimple, and it helpfully popped up a message saying "Change size of the message area. Double-click to restore previous location." It lied about the restoring previous location bit, but the double-click advice was near enough to the truth to be useful.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:19 PM   #3
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If the width of the total Mail window is too narrow, then the double-click won't work, because the thin bar with the dimple disappears, and there's nothing to double-click. You then need to resize to make the window wider. The "dimple' will reappear when you quit dragging the width. If it does not reappear, then you are not wide enough yet.
Suspect a small bug in Mail....
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:37 PM   #4
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I had no problem just dragging the window back. Apple knew what they were doing and when the column is not visible there is a thick border so you can grab it. Also, pay attention to the cursor. There is a difference between the column-dragging cursor and the window-width cursor.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:10 PM   #5
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That doesn't work if the whole Mail window is too narrow.
Try it - for example, making the window narrow enough to show the default toolbar icons will very little space around them. You'll see that right-edge bar disappear. You can't drag the message window back when there's nothing to drag. The cursor seems to change, but there's nothing to drag, so nothing happens until you drag the window size back out.
So, I think it's a bug in Mail.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:16 PM   #6
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I still don't think it's a bug. Apple restricts the minimum column width, so if the window is too narrow to display two columns you don't get that draggable bar. The cursor makes it pretty clear what your options are.
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:09 PM   #7
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Another solution is to select Classic View. That yields two columns-- Mailboxes, and Individual Messages. Then deselect Classic view and all three columns appear.
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