I work at a design firm as the manager in charge of freelancers. Eighty percent of what I do is done through email. I know Outlook well, but I could hardly be called a Power User. I’d like to share an experience I had using Duplicate Email Remover.
Once I needed to work remotely for about a week. At the beginning of each work day I launched Outlook and saw about 2000 new messages. This was unusual – the new messages didn’t look like spam, judging by their subject and sender, and some of them I even recognized. When I sorted by date and subject, it became clear that many of the messages were duplicates. I contacted the admin and he explained that there was a problem on the Exchange server and, apparently, some of my messages were loaded several times. Since the messages were loaded in my local Outlook, there was nothing he could do to help me.
Usually, working in this kind of situation is very inconvenient – my daily volume of new messages is in the hundreds and searching out the ones that needed to be answered using sorting would take a very long time. At first I decided try to find and delete the duplicates by hand, but after about half an hour and deleting only about 10% of the messages, I realized that I needed a different method. Some messages could have the same sender, subject, and sending date but have different content or be some a piece of a conversation. So I had to open each one and scan through it to understand whether it was actually a unique message.
Googling ‘find email duplicates in Outlook 2013′, the first link lead to a Technet forum from Microsoft for my exact problem. The first answer there suggested search and deletion of the duplicates using Outlook’s built-in function Clean Up Conversation/Folder. I was glad to see that there was already a tool for my needs. But it turned out that Clean Up only deletes absolutely identical messages, or cleans up conversations leaving only the most recent message – without the rest of the thread. So that was not a solution.
The next few links leading to the Microsoft support forums and consultant services recommended a free program called ODIR, that would do what I needed, only it does not support Outlook 2013.
Beyond that were links to multi-functional business solutions for Outlook, which included duplicate removal, but the price of these products started at $300, so it was not an option for me.
The next links were to plug-ins, and the first two were to Kutools for Outlook and Duplicate Email Remover. Skimming through the description on those product pages, I understood that both were solutions to my problem, and that they have very similar functionality. The price of Kutools was $39, and Duplicate Email Remover was $24. In order to save time, I decided to Google reviews and look at feedback about these two. Cnet.Download.com was quite useful in providing a comparison – I had used this site previously. Kutools had a rating of 1 star with one review, and Email Remover had 3 stars with 8 reviews, most of which were positive. Based on these numbers and the pricing, I made my choice for Duplicate Email Remover.
I downloaded the plugin from the Mapilab site and installed it. The trial program only allowed finding 10 duplicate messages, but that did let me get an idea of how to use the interface and the settings and run a short test.
I made a test folder as a safeguard, since this was the first program I had tried, and set it up to move the duplicates into this folder. Launching the program, I chose the following scenario: search all folders and move the duplicates found to the new folder. Then I set up the criteria for finding duplicates. There are 8 options for the criteria with 3 of them checked by default: text, subject, and sender’s email. These were enough for me. I launched the search.
Ten duplicates were found in a few seconds. When the search finished, I opened the folder I had created and looked at the messages placed there. To convince myself that the rules worked properly, I used search and sorting by sender and found all the messages which had their duplicates moved to the new folder. Each set of duplicates indeed had a corresponding ‘original’ that remained in the inbox, so I was sure that the program did its work properly. I didn’t have any issues with the interface or the settings – everything was straightforward.
So I decided to buy the full version of Duplicate Email Remover to remove my duplicates – and also to solve any problems of the same nature which might arise in the future, since the plug-in has a lifetime license.
Purchasing via PayPal took a couple of minutes, and within another minute I got an email with my license code. The full version of the program processed all of my folders (over 10,000 messages in all) in ONE MINUTE and about 1500 duplicates were moved to that same folder.
To conclude, I’d like to state that the total amount of time spent on the problem, including the search for solutions, took less than 30 minutes, and the price of $24 seemed quite reasonable, and of course I can write it off as an expense. Working in Duplicate Email Remover presented no difficulties – the program was simple and the result was excellent.