Thursday, October 25, 2012

Outlook to PDF: Converting Office Document File Attachments Into PDF Files

PDF is a good format for archiving email.  Correctly handling email file attachments when converting Outlook email to PDF files has traditionally been a challenge. MessageExport add-in for Outlook 2007/2010/2013 helps you overcome these challenges by providing several different methods you can select from to get the end result you desire.

Let's look at these methods and discuss their use and effect.

Converting Document Email Attachments to the PDF image.


Using the export profile called "Export to PDF - Attachments converted/included" causes MessageExport to create PDF that have file attachments embeded within the PDF image.  Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint documents, Word documents, text files and images will follow the email mesasge within in the PDF document. 

The original name of the file is placed vertically along the left page margin so that it's easy to identify the name of the file.  This is a method that is often used when preparing email for legal purposes. It's very convenient, as the documents are easily visible within the PDF, and no software other than a PDF viewer is needed to view the documents. The documents are "frozen" in their original state and cannot be readily altered.

What happens if an attachment is unable to be converted?  MessageExport will default to embedding the file within the PDF to preserve it's context.  This means that the file can later be extracted from the PDF and separately analyzed.

Embedding Outlook Email Attachments within a PDF


When it is desireable to keep all email file attachments as a separate documents so that they can be extracted and later edited or manipulated with their native software application, MessageExport provides a profile called, "Export to PDF - Attachments Embedded." 

This profile will cause MessageExport to create PDF files that are not part of the PDF image, but rather embedded within the PDF document as separate files.  Using any standard PDF viewer, the documents can be later extracted and used.

This method works very well for personal email archiving, where it may be desirable to be able to have full access to the original documents  for editing or to continue working on them.

Extracting Outlook File Attachments

MessageExport makes it easy to save Outlook email file attachments to a folder, in bulk.  This process involves selecting the appopriate email messages in Outlook's message list (Control-A will select all emails in the list), then choosing the profile called, "Export to PDF - Attachments saved to disk."

MessageExport will leave the original email attachment within Outlook, so nothing is altered in Outlook's pst file.  A copy of the original file attachment is placed in the selected Windows folder, where it can be easily accessed. 


A free 15 trial of MessageExport for Outlook can be downloaded from the product home page.







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