Wednesday, January 4, 2012

[Review] Enable Text Formatting In iOS Emails

Rich Text for Mail allows you to format text in an iOS email.

The iOS Mail application is a great email viewer, but it really isn't that great of an email composer. It lacks a feature that many of us use in email every day - text formatting. Because of this, iOS developer Ryan Petrich found it necessary to create a jailbreak tweak known as Rich Text for Mail that allows you to change the formatting of your boring text in iOS Mail email composition. It's not a new tweak, but it's one that should be brought into the light if you've never heard of it. Since it lets you format your emails to make them more lively, you'll never have to worry about sending an email where you can't emphasize your important points with bold or italic letters ever again.

Rich Text for Mail gives you a whole lot of options. It gives you the option to:
  • Make something bold
  • Make something italic
  • Add a strike-through
  • Add an underline
  • Change text fonts
  • Change text colors
  • Change text sizes
  • Insert images
  • Insert links

Looks a lot more fun than just black and white non-formatted text, doesn't it? You can see the numerous settings below:
 To apply format settings to text, you have to highlight something. After you highlight it, you will see a popup menu like the one in the first image of this review that has multiple formatting options. It's actually a plugin for another of Ryan Petrich's tweaks, Action Menu. Action menu lets you add custom buttons to the popup menu that appears when you highlight text in iOS. Rich Text for Mail takes advantage of Action Menu to add the formatting buttons right into that feature of iOS to make the integration seem seamless.

Perhaps the best part about this tweak is that it lets you add more functionality to one of the greatest Mail clients in the world. I think that having the option to format text, no matter how often I might use it, is an important feature. Rich Text for Mail's email formatting will actually show the email effects on any other iDevice whether it's jailbroken or not. It will also show up on a computer the same way that you created it. So one important thing to remember here is that it's not an illusion that you'll only see for yourself, but instead it really does format the text that you're sending.

Aside from text formatting, you can also insert pictures and links. You can select the picture option to attach a photograph from your Camera Roll directly into your email - something that Apple obviously missed, big time. The link option is very handy. Have you ever wanted to put a link in your email that was actually hyperlinked text instead of an unattractive looking email? With Rich Text for Mail you can do that. It lets you choose what text you want hyperlinked and then put the URL that you want to link it to. Pretty large improvement from the standard iOS Mail application if you ask me.

Unfortunately, Rich Text for Mail only works in the Mail application, so you won't be able to use it system-wide to use text formatting in applications like Notes. After installing it, it doesn't add any icons to your home screen, but it adds a settings cell to your Settings application that holds numerous on and off switches so that you can enable to disable the functions that will pop up in your Action Menu. If you disable one of them (they're all enabled by default) it won't show up again in the popup menu when you highlight a word until you enable it again through settings.

Here is a video demonstration of Rich Text for Mail by Ryan Petrich:
What are your thoughts about Rich Text for Mail? Share in the comments.

Sources: Ryan Petrich