Badges on the Mac are those little round, red ‘badges’ on Dock icons which display the number of messages in Mail, Message, or other applications. Those badges are useful but don’t do much more than the obvious– display a single number. Mail is the perfect example because you can see the number of unread email messages in the Inbox in the red badge of the Mail app’s Dock icon. It’s visual. It’s handy. But it’s limited.
Even more useful than the default Mail badge is the Mac utility DockStar which adds four more badge icons to Mail (total of five), and each one is fully customizable.
Install DockStar on your Mac, open Mail, then select Mail’s Preferences. DockStar loads as a Mail plugin with plenty of useful options for each of the five badges.
Configuring DockStar is simple, too.
Select the badge number (in order) from the drop down menu. Select the Mail mailbox to assign the badge, then select what you want to display in the badge. Select from a variety of shapes (seven) and colors, and even add the option of sound. Each badge can also be displayed in the Mac’s Menubar.
What you get may look like this. More badges.
Since you’re the person who setup the badges and assigned each to an email account, you’ll know exactly what the numbered badges mean at a glance. Blue could be for your home account, red could be for a work email, green could be for Gmail, and so on.
But badges are not just email accounts.
Badges can also be assigned to Notes, Todo list items, and even RSS feeds, but it really shines for those of us with multiple email accounts who need a quick reminder of how many unread messages are awaiting our eyeballs in the inbox.
My only grumble is the price tag and upgrade policy but it’s hard to deny the time savings and usability. DockStar works great.