Mail Headline

An AppleScript solution for mimicking NetNewsWire’s “Mail Contents of This News Item” functionality with email applications other than Mail.

Mail Headline converts the currently selected to Markdown-formatted plain text using Aaron Swartz’ html2text script.

This script originated as a way to send articles using Mailsmith, I’ve since added support for Entourage and Mail (if you prefer plain text to rich text). Adding additional email clients is just a matter of writing a small script of the form:

on CreateEmail(subjectText, bodyText)
    tell application "email client"
        create new message with properties...
    end tell
end CreateEmail

using whatever syntax applies for the specific email client, adding the script information to the main Mail Headline script, and installing the new client script in Mail Headline.scptd/Contents/Resource/Scripts.


Mail Headline 1.0.1 (24.0 KB) Updated August 29, 2007


Before running Mail Headine, it needs to be configured for your email client. To configure, open the script in Script Editor and uncomment the set emailClient to... line for your desired email client.

Mail Headline cannot be run from NetNewsWire’s built-in script menu. As of version 3.0, NetNewsWire does not support running script bundles from the menu. As such, I recommend using something like the system script menu or FastScripts.

For this scenario, move Mail Headline.scptd to either ~/Library/Scripts/Applications/NetNewsWire/ or /Library/Scripts/Applications/NetNewsWire/.

You are, of course, free to install the script wherever you find it most functional for your workflow.


Mail Headline will create an email containing NetNewsWire’s current content at the time the script is run. If the News tab is selected, the email will contain the article title, the article URL, and the article text. If a web page tab is selected, the email will only contain the article title and the article URL.

Occasionally, Mail Headline will be unable to translate an article to plain text. The most common cause of this seems to be the presence of either unencoded entities or unknown entities in the HTML. Unknown entities can be added to html2text, but I’m not entirely sure what to do about unencoded entities. I’m not much of a Python person; if anybody has any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.


  • NetNewsWire 2.1
  • A compatible email client (Mailsmith, Entourage, or Mail)

The script has been tested with the most recent version of the email applications (as of 8/12/2007) and may work with older version.

Mail Headline does not work with NetNewsWire Lite.

Version History

1.0.1: August 29, 2007

  • Mail Headline should no longer refuse to convert HTML that contains non-ASCII Unicode characters.
  • No longer prepend “Fwd: ” to email subject.
  • Links are included after the respective paragraphs instead of the end of the article.

1.0: August 12, 2007
Initial release.

One Response to “Mail Headline”

  1. Jimmy Says:

    It just does not work!

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