C-Command Software Forum

Capturing mail content

Is it possible to capture the content of an email, not the message itself? I was wanting to capture some text from within an email, and I thought that it would be simple in terms of highlighting what I wanted, then clicking f1, but no go.

I don’t want to use EF as an archive, more a collection of todo notes and things, so I’m looking to grab bits and pieces of things, not entire messages or documents.


You can import individual e-mails, but not using capture (since that grabs whole mailboxes). You could, for example, drag the text of the e-mail onto EagleFiler, or print the e-mail and choose “Save PDF to EagleFiler” from the PDF menu-button.

I guess I was thinking that the capture was being smart in terms of what it grabbed. For example, if you had a single message open, and had selected some text, it would grab just that text. If you had just selected a single message it would get that message. And to grab an entire folder, you needed to select the whole folder.

That was my intuitive thought about how it should work, but maybe not your intention.

I’ll keep playing with the drag and drop, thanks for that, and will let you know if I have any other thoughts.


That’s ideally how I would like it to work, but with the current version of Mail it’s not really possible to do that.

But it’s not possible to select and drag text in Apple Mail, is it?

Sure it is. As with other Cocoa apps, when dragging text out of Mail you have to click and hold for a second before you start dragging.

As of EagleFiler 1.1, it’s possible to capture individual mail messages (if you have both a mailbox and a message selected, it will ask which one you want). You can also import the selected text of a message using the Import Text service (Command-<).

Capturing mail message
I just tried to capture an individual email and was not able to do it. I get a script indicating that it is not supported.

Capturing individual e-mails only works in Apple Mail. It sounds like you were using a different mail program.

not working
REally want to capture individual messages from Mail, but this isn’t working for me yet (using EF 1.1.4). Seems like EF wants me to have one message window frontmost, but when I do this, and choose “Capture from Mail” from the EF icon in the Dock, I get this message:

EagleFiler did not find any items in Mail to capture. Please try bringing a different window to the front before capturing and/or make sure that something is selected in the frontmost window.

EagleFiler doesn’t want a message window to be frontmost; the capture feature only works on viewer windows. If you have a message selected in the viewer window, then when you press the capture key EagleFiler will show a dialog asking whether you want to capture the selected messages or the selected mailboxes. If this isn’t working for you, please tell me more specificially what you did.

got it
Got it, it’s working now. I select a message in the main Mail window, then choose “capture from mail.” The result is a new top level mbox(?) entity called (in my case) “IN BOX” which contains the message I had selected.

This message is not able to be moved into other folders.

I am looking for a way to mix selected emails in with other project related documents, and this workflow won’t work for that very well. I can see I would have to revert to printing to PDF, something I was doing with DevonThink. Was hoping EF could reduce the number of steps here.

Would like to be able to move single messages directly from Mail into EF as regular entities just as if they were PDFs et al able to be sorted etc at will.

thanks for your time and responsiveness…

There are two ways to do this with EagleFiler. You can drag and drop the text of the message into EagleFiler to import the message as an RTF file. Or you can import the messages as mailboxes (merging multiple messages into one mailbox if you like) and organize your files and messages using tag sources (which behave just like iTunes playlists).

I’m wondering how this will work with my current setup – I subscribe to a few mailing lists, and periodically want to preserve the contents offline. Right now I have a mailbox called “Applescript” for an applescript list. I just imported it into EagleFiler, so I’m free to delete the messages from Mail. I now have an mbox in EagleFiler also called “Applescript.”

So what happens six months from now when I want to do this again? As far as I can tell, I’ll wind up with a new mbox in EagleFiler called “Applescript-1.” is that the case?


That’s right. If you like, you can then select the two AppleScript mailboxes and choose Record > Merge Mailboxes.

not bad
hmm… not bad…

EagleFiler seems to process these mboxes pretty efficiently, and I like how I can “copy record link” into, e.g., a page in VoodooPad… If I could drag and drop a message from EF to VoodooPad to accomplish the same thing, that’d be even easier.

This is probably something that VoodooPad would need to support; it must be set to prefer plain text drags, or something.

EagleFiler already makes messages draggable as links. For example, if you drag and drop a message into a rich text window in TextEdit, it will create a new link whose text is the message’s subject and whose link is the record link.