Adding a Note to an email

Occasionally I’ll import an email, so that I can have it for posterity, and today was one of those days. After importing the email, I had a phone conversation with the sender, and wanted to add some notes to the email for future reference. Unfortunately, I can’t think of how I can go about doing so.

Any suggestions on how I might go about doing this, and having the email for reference? (I could create a new document, and link the email to the document. Any other options or suggestions?)

You could use the Finder Comment or a separate annotation record (see Inspector).

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Ah, yes! I’ve never used annotations. This is probably a great way to do this.

Thanks @pete31


Annotation would be a new document filed somewhere
There’s also Finder Comments

Personally, I create a group for the email and create a new document
The group links the two documents, but you can also add a note link

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I do have a smart rule for that purpose that converts any imported email automatically into rtf format. This way the content is preserved but I can also add notes to it…

Text content is preserved
I suspect you lose non text elements; images, …

I prefer to archive .eml files

attachments turn into embedded documents, inline pictures of HTML mails seem to disappear (just tried), but in my use case that is a non-issue…

That would be RTFD format

you are absolutely right, thank for correcting / clarifying…the smart rule calls it rich text, thus my error…

You are still correct. RTFD is still a rich text file. :slight_smile:

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I’m sure there’s a much better way of doing this and there’s a reason no-one has suggested it, but when I import emails I convert to pdf with ocr. Then when I want to add notes, I just add a text box and write in it. Only works where there is blank space in the file of course, but that’s usually the case with emails!

when I import emails I convert to pdf with ocr.

By what means are you accomplishing this?

I should add a caveat before I explain this that I am fed up with myself for saving emails I do not need, so I only do this for essential emails (not everything, I have embraced the delete button!).

In Mac Mail I export to pdf (I dump it on my desktop, then delete later). Then in DT I import as an image with OCR.

Then if I add notes to it (not uncommon, as sometimes I like to chuck in a comment, add a few key words, make a note of when I did something, etc.), I just add a text box through DT’s pdf viewer thing (sorry, I do not know the language for how DT let’s you edit pdfs).

Most my database is actually pdfs. I also convert the webpages I save to pdf. I know some people don’t like pdfs, but I just find them uncomplicated and easy to move around.

I can’t test it right now, but I think a PDF rendered by macOS doesn’t require OCR afterwards.

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Ads @Solar-Glare correctly noted, OCR shouldn’t be necessary on the PDF exports from Apple Mail… unless they were emails of just images :smiley:

If you want to remove the original file while importing use ⌘ + dragging.


Morning. I’ve tested this and it doesn’t seem to be working? After other comments here (thank you everyone) I realised I could be much cleverer with this. Following advice in another post (New user questions: In or From DT - #8 by BLUEFROG), I set up an Alias for the DT Inbox and put that on my desktop. In Apple Mail I exported an email to PDF and saved it straight to the DT Inbox. This bit all works as expected.

However, the new PDF email in DT has not got OCR - I cannot search for text that appears in the email. Any idea why that might be, as I think from the comments Apple should have done the OCR step?

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Actually, there shouldn’t even be an OCR step. Your e-mail consists of (mostly) text. So the text layer is already there – even Apple would not be so stupid as to convert a text to PDF without simply copying it to the text layer, too.

I just tested with two e-mail here myself, both had a text layer after exporting to PDF just fine (checked in Preview, no problem to select text). What kind of e-mail did you try that with

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What edition of DEVONthink are you running?

It’s working! I think either I was too impatient when I checked it (I’m guessing it takes a second to index?) and/or I was an idiot and searching with the wrong parameters. Either way, everything is working as it should! Thank you for your help, and for giving me tips to make the process quicker :slight_smile:
Frohe Weihnachten!