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Manage attachments in Outlook: save and remove attached files from emails and save them to any folder

Table of contents:

What does it do?

This Microsoft Outlook addon saves attached files in a selected folder on a local or network drive. After the file is saved, the attachment can be removed from the message, replaced by a shortcut to the saved file or by a text file with a description of the saved attachment. This Outlook addon allows to specify what types of attachments must be saved and from what folders of Microsoft Outlook. Attachments Processor can work both in manual and automatic modes, and also on the schedule. Moreover, this Outlook addon reattaches the files back to the messages when forwarding. Also it is able to compress the message base.

What is it used for?

When saving attachments you are able to:

  • reduce the size of message base;
  • speed up the work with mail and data search;
  • store attachments on a secured file-server instead of a message base;
  • organize public attachment storage;
  • perform the search of necessary attachments relying on their content;
  • make changes to the files and automatically send the updated file when forwarding messages with attachments;
  • open attachments stored on a disk by clicking the shortcut in Microsoft Outlook.
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How does it work?

Attachments Processor can be used both in “simple” and “advanced” modes. The difference between these two modes is that in “simple” mode you can create only one rule for processing mail (incoming OR outgoing) and in “advanced” mode – unlimited number of rules both for incoming and outgoing mail.

Automatic mail processing. This Outlook addon monitors selected folders of Microsoft Outlook and automatically processes messages with attachments as soon as they appear in the folders. The “Inbox” folder is the only exception, because messages in this folder are processed with the three-minute delay (it is made for Microsoft Outlook rules and other programs to have a chance to process the message before it is changed).

Manual processing gives you an opportunity to process already existing messages. You can process both incoming and outgoing messages. After processing the message base you can use the compressing function in order to reduce the size of it (when a message or an attachment is deleted the size of the message base remains the same only till the compressing function is launched).

Scheduled message processing is indispensable when messages are stored in the public folders of Microsoft Exchange Server. You can specify at what time and with what recurrence it is necessary to monitor selected folders and process recently delivered messages.

Regardless of used processing mode you can:

  • fully restore a message in order to forward it using the “Forward” button;
  • select exactly what folders of Microsoft Outlook must be processed;
  • specify what attachment types must be processed;
  • use attachment filtration in order to process files according to:
    • attachment size;
    • mentioned words in the message body;
    • name of the attached file;
    • message sender;
    • message recipient.
  • save attachments on local or network drive;
  • group attachments into folders basing on:
    • name of the folder in which the message is located;
    • message sender’s name;
    • message sender’s address;
    • message subject;
    • current system date or date of message creation;
    • an advanced format created by you.
  • rename attachments when saving them basing on:
    • sender’s name;
    • sender’s address;
    • message subject
    • current system date or date of message creation;
    • an advanced format created by you.

When saving attachments, this Outlook addon checks for existence of the file with the same name; and if the file exists in the folder, the attachment can be:

  • renamed by means of adding a digital code to the file name;
  • written over the file saved earlier;
  • skipped.

Usage safety

This Outlook addon saves attachment on the disk, checks the size of the saved file and only after that makes changes in the message. If the file wasn’t saved for some reason, the message would stay in its original form. Such algorithm of program functioning excludes the possibility of attachment loss during saving and deleting from the message.

Moreover, Attachments Processor saves the list of all changes applied to the message in a database that allows to fully restore the message. For that a special utility “Restore Attachments” is included into Attachments Processor.

If you have a necessity to change the location of saved attachments, the utility «Update Links” can help you modify the information in the shortcuts so the after moving attachments to another store the shortcuts are updated and point to the corresponding files.

Example of use

As an example of Attachments Processor use let us examine the situation when a supply manager regularly receives price-lists updates and it is necessary for him/her to provide access to these price-lists for all department employees. Messages from suppliers are moved to the folder “Prices” with the help of Microsoft Outlook rule, and price-list files must be saved to the shared folder «C:\Shared Folders\Prices».

In order to fulfill this task you need only one rule, so we are going to use this Outlook addon in the “simple” mode and configure it for automatic processing.

Firstly, it is necessary to select the Microsoft Outlook folder in which the messages should be processed. Go to Attachment Processor Options (Tools => Attachments Processor) and select the Microsoft Outlook folder “Prices” on the “General” tab:

After that you should select the folder in which the prices lists are going to be saved, and it is also necessary to set automatic processing mode of Attachments Processor work. For that check the box in the options “use this rule with incoming messages” and “enable in automatic message processing mode”.

In order to save only actual price-lists it is necessary to turn on the option “overwrite the existing file” on the tab “Other”:

Now when message get in the folder “Prices”, they will be automatically processed and attachments will be saved on the disk in the folder: «C:\Shared Folders\Prices», and will be overwritten by newer ones.

If there is no need for saving old price-lists in messages, they can be deleted or replaced with a shortcut or text description. This can be set up on the “Other” tab with the help of the options “Delete the saved attachments from the message”, “Leave a shortcut to the saved attachment in the message”, “Leave a text description with the file location in the message”.

The Attachments Processor is one of the three addons inlcuded into the program Attachments Processor for Outlook. You can learn more about other program components and download the trial version at the Attachments Processor for Outlook product page.

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User testimonials
I have been using Attachments Processor for my corporate email and given me countless hours of productivity back. Given the number of document-heavy projects I work on with people outside of our company, my gigabyte quota would only get me through about three months of email. With Attachments Processor, I can now keep two years of email in my inbox because the attachments are stored in My Documents. In addition to enabling me to keep project correspondence together on the email server instead of scattered across PSTs, I have saved many wasted project hours on the onerous job of sorting, archiving and deleting email just so the flow of critical project documentation isn't locked down by quota restrictions. It's amazing how much this automation has improved my productivity!

David Robinson
Hitachi Data Systems

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