EML to PDF: Four Questions to Ask Before Converting .EML or .MSG E-Mail Files into PDF Documents

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E-Mail messages are being replaced by other forms of communication, including instant messaging through services such as Snapchat, Facebook and Google IM.  Despite the creep of communication alternatives into our lives, e-Mail is still used by 2.6 billion people.

For businesses and governments, it is frequently necessary to archive and convert e-mail into a format that be readily shared. More than 80% of all legal discovery involves e-mail. Converting e-mail into PDF documents is a favored way to share important e-mails for review and to introduce them as evidence into court proceedings.

Converting e-mail to PDF seems to be a simple matter at first glance.  People who have not been exposed to the process often don’t understand how complex it can actually be.  Here are five things to consider when converting .eml emails or Outlook .msg e-mails into PDF files.

1.  Why are you converting e-mails to PDF?

Before purchasing software or embarking on a project that will consume hours of your time, be sure that your work is going to serve the needs of the project.  For example, if you are converting e-mail for an archive librarian, you will need to familiarize yourself with ISO 19005-1, or PDF/A.  This format embeds fonts within the PDF so that the email can be faithfully reproduced later.  Failing to adhere to this standard will result in pdf files that not suited to long term preservation.

2. What about File Attachments?

While any PDF virtual printer will allow you to “print” an email message,  failing to process e-mail file attachments can result in the loss of extremely important information, and may result in the purchase of inadequate software.

Is it important that the files in the e-mail be editable?  If so, you will want to use software that embeds the file attachments within the PDF document.  Embedding files inside a .pdf allows the files to later be extracted from the pdf file.

On the other hand, if it is most important to preserve the email attachments and to not allow any changes, or if it is conceivable that the program that created the documents may not be accessible in the future to open the file, then converting the documents directly to the PDF image is preferable.

3. What about E-Mails within E-Mails?

Eml and Msg e-mail files may themselves contain Eml or Msg e-mail attachments. It is not uncommon to encounter emails within emails within emails, etc.    Consider whether your responsibility for processing e-mail file attachments to PDF includes the need to handle embedded e-mail files, and how you would like to see this situation managed by your e-mail conversion software.

4. What about Naming PDF Files?

Many software packages that can convert e-mails to PDF default to using the subject line as the file name, but are not able to provide a custom naming scheme to the PDF files they create.

Consider how the resulting PDF files should be named. For example, you may wish to include a court case number to the PDF file name. Or perhaps you simple want them to have a sequential number.   Or  maybe it would be best if you could combine different parts of the email, such as sender’s email + send date.

Accomplishing the task of naming e-mail files needs to be considered and planned before the project is started, or the final results may be unsuitable.

Converting Email to PDF

At Encryptomatic LLC, we have been helping our customer’s convert e-mail messages into PDF files for nearly a decade.  Our products include PstViewer Pro, an email to PDF converter for Windows desktop, and MessageExport, an e-mail convert that works within Microsoft Outlook.

Both products are well suited to the task of convert e-mail to PDF.  Both provide options for naming the PDF files in complex ways.  Either can convert most e-mail attachments directly into the PDF image, or they can embed the files with the PDF so they can be extracted later.  Both products support PDF/A e-mail archiving standard.

Visit Encryptomatic.com to learn more about this products and to download a 15 day free trial.We invite you to reach out to our support team with any questions. you may have.

How to Search .EML Email Files Quickly

The EmlViewer Pro software team has been working on the upcoming Version 7 release. We’re excited about this update because it has some some new features that we think you’ll be able to put into use right away.

One of the improvements we’ve made is to make it easier to quickly filter and discover email from within a large set of .eml email messages.  As users of EmlViewer Pro (also known as PstViewer Pro) understand, there are two basic ways to identify important email messages:  searching, and filtering.

How to search .eml files

Searching prepares a set of .eml emails.  For example, you may have a folder of 1,000 .eml files. Searching may return, say, 500 .eml files.

Image shows the advanced search window for EmlViewer Pro, which is used to search .eml emails.
Search window in EmlViewer Pro locates .eml files.

Use filtering to to quckly refine those .eml messages.  Filters can be as complex or simple as you need them to be. You can save filters, and then apply them against differerent sets of messages.

Although filtering has been available in previous version of EmlViewer Pro, in version 8 filtering was been repositioned in the UI to make it more prominent and easier to use.

Filtering is now easily easily accessible on the left-hand margin. Simply click “Filter Editor” and begin building a filter to apply to the .eml files in the list.

Image shows the filter editor in EmlViewer Pro, which lets users create complex filters to discover .eml emails that are important.
.Eml File Filtering

The filters you create can be saved and then applied against later searches. The Filter Editor contains numerous boolean criteria that you may combine in powerful ways.

Image shows the filtering options for EmlViewer Pro, which include: And, Or, Not And, Not Or.
Filtering .Eml Files.

The logic of the filter may be applied against different fields within the .eml file, including:
subject, submit time, To, From, whether the email has attachments, and many other bits of data residing within in the .eml file.

Screen shot of a filtering criteria from .eml email fields.
Eml filter criteria.

Using the filter tool, you can create powerful filters that contain a fix of And/Or conditional statements, such as “Find email from Bob or John,” and then layer on additional criteria, such as a date range or whether or not the email contains files, or has a specific word in the body.

While Search and Filtering can give you similar results in the end, here is why you should consider using the Filterin option more often that search.

First, .eml file filtering is faster.  A search operation has to re-scan each individual .eml file, which can be slow depending on how many .eml files you are working with. Filtering does not rescan emails, but uses the data that has been included in the search set.

Second, filters can be re-used and applied later against different search sets.

Third you can apply multiple filters against a single data set.

Download a free trial of EmlViewer Pro and start experimenting with filtering your .eml files. Learn more at the EmlViewer Pro home page.