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That depends on the amount and nature of your mail. The primary performance bottleneck in MailMate is the number of messages and not the size of the messages. Part of the reason for this is that MailMate puts all messages in one big pool, which means that messages you rarely access still hurt performance. (Optimizations to minimize this are on the developer’s to-do list.)
As an example, if you have 10GB of mail archives spread out over 500,000 messages (averaging 20KB each), then you are likely to have performance problems. However, if you have only 50,000 messages in your 10GB archive, then you should be fine.
Many users have reported acceptable performance with message archives in the vicinity of 100,000 messages. The developer has indicated the largest archive he’s heard of has been in the vicinity of 400,000 messages.
No. Any mail that MailMate imports will be stored on your IMAP server, and vice versa.
Hold down ⌥ when clicking on a triangle or when using the arrow key to expand. This is a standard Mac OS X feature. Also note that the navigation shortcuts in the “Message” menu automatically expands threads, for example, when using ⌥⌘⇣ to go to the next unread message.
Change focus to the part of the user interface you want to change and then use “Format > Show Fonts” to open the fonts panel. Now set your preferred font and font size.
First, set up the search you want to have as your default. Then select “Edit > Find > Use as Default Search” in the menus. This will remember the search fields you have open.
Note that you can have multiple fields defined as a default search, but any fields left blank in an actual search are ignored. Thus, you could define your default search to bring up “From / Contains”, “Subject / Contains”, and Recipient / Contains” whenever you start a search. Then if you only input a term for the Subject, the other two fields will be ignored and only Subject lines will be searched.
Go to the “Signatures” preferences pane (⌘,) and change the default. You may also want to clear the signature cache. If you also want to understand how signatures (and caret placement) works in MailMate then read about signatures in the manual.