Imported Email messages missing some images

I’m in the process of “Importing Email”, and several of the email messages aren’t displaying the inline images that are contained in the email messages. I’ve checked both Apple Mail, to ensure that “Display remote images in HTML messages” is checked, as it is in DevonThink Pro Office (Preferences -> Email ->Download Remote Images in HTML Messages).

For instance, the content of the email that I’m looking at includes the images in the body, but not the companies logos. They appear as fields with question marks, however, when I look at the email message in Apple’s Mail, the email contains all of the images, including the logo. This is happening with several different email messages, in several different mailboxes.

Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance,


Do the images appear after switching to the alternate view (via the View menu or the navigation bar)?

Hi Christian,

Not surprisingly, it does work! Thank you.


Hi Christian,

I’m getting some strange behaviour regarding html emails in DT. I’m currently testing DT, particularly with archiving emails. Incidentally, “Download Remote Images in HTML messages” is ticked in DT Prefs.

I’ve been using a set of emails as a test. These rendered fine in Mail. When loaded into DT they displayed several Placeholder / Question Mark boxes. Toggling the Alternate Display gave me the html links. Clicking on these links gave me 404 pages or “no access”.

Strange Behaviour: These have, for the most part, resolved themselves, in that they now render similarly to Mail. Yet this took about ten minutes before the Alternate View worked as advertised. Strange?

Having said that I’ve tried two other emails that don’t render correctly. The first is a Spam email that has images in it. Whilst these show in the Alt View, the images are much smaller than in Mail. Any particular reason?

The other email is from you guys at DTech. Your banner is displayed as a block of green in both views. Text is either formatted or not depending on the View.

Whilst this can probably be seen as nit-picking, I’m bemused as to why there’s a difference. Graphics and Design are very useful tools when trying to find things. If emails (and perhaps other things) are going to change to another arbitrary design once imported into DT, I wonder if it’s a help or a hindrance?

Could you explain why there are these differences?


The default view uses Mac OS X’s Quick Look technology and therefore the results should be identical to the Quick Look panel in DEVONthink or the Finder.

The alternate view is basically a rich text view used to easily access attachments or to highlight occurrences. But the conversion from HTML to rich text is not always lossless.

Are there any plans to use a WebKit view instead? It’s extremely frustrating that DT cannot display an archived email message as intended by the sender.


Same problem here, if i try to archive a HTML-mail in Devon Pro.

Some of the embedded Images are missing or doesn’t have the correct size. In this cases the mail can not be archived as an original according the german GDPDU law.

Is it planned to fix this in the next release?


If you have checked the option in DEVONthink Preferences > Email to download remote images in HTML messages, the images will be included in the captured email messages. As Christian explained above, the images are not displayed when viewed via Apple’s Quick Look.

But the images are there, and the stored email messages do meet the requirements of the German law you cited. You can view the images from within DEVONthink by using the Text Alternative view within the database, or by opening a message externally under your email client application. DEVONthink did NOT change the filetype of the email message by capturing it.

Hi Bill.

Thank you for your reply and your advice. I’ll give it another try and checkit later on.

In case of the german archiving rules (law), it seems to be enough to archive the mail as a pdf and not in any valid email format. So - is it possible to archive a mail through a mail rule in pdf format directly into devon pro!?

I found nothing like that in the Scripting forum.


This appears to be the Holy Grail of email archiving. Many valiant Mac users have died trying to automate the creation of PDFs from Mail messages.

When I investigated this problem some months ago, Email Archiver ( seemed the most capable of everything that I found. But having said that, it is somewhat inflexible too (inability to customize the output file name and inability to organize messages into threads come to mind as issues). See the App Store reviews.

(I am not affiliated with the developer or the app and I have not used it, your mileage may vary, etc etc.)

But if anyone tries it out, please post your results and experience. Email Archiver will create the PDFs, then you will have to import and organize the emails through some other process such as scripting.

The trouble with converting emails to PDF is that you lose the ability to retain threads, etc. as can be done using archiving with DEVONthink Pro Office. You will also lose any attachments to the messages.

To repeat, if you capture emails using DEVONthink Pro Office, and have checked the option to capture remote images in HTML messages, you WILL capture the complete email message, including images and attachments. That’s not a problem. Images can be viewed and attachments accessed by clicking on the Text Alternative button or by opening the message externally in your email client application.

Hi again.

@Bill - I understood and i tried it yesterday. The main problem for me is, that the archived mail has to look similar to the original. There should be no difference!!!

Here is a simple sample you might be able to reproduce.

Take a normal iTunes Store invoice. On the right side there is a grey column with some picture of appstore apps incl. description (commercials). In the original Mail the pictures are centered, in Devon Pro there are left aligned. Als the grey box around the commercial body has a different size as the header and the bottom part.

So - for me this is not an original and so it is for the german law.

Hope - this sample made it a little bit clearer.


Maybe you need to find archive software whose publisher guarantee in writing that it meets the requirements of that law. Just a wild guess, but I doubt DEVONtechnologies would be interested in that kind of indemnity.

Efty, you are missing the point, which is that the original email message you imported into DEVONthink was not in any way transformed by being captured. You are conflating the differences in appearances of the message when displayed via Quick Look, as a rich text file and as an HTML message in the mail client, e.g., Mail. Those differences in appearance are no more meaningful than the difference between viewing a list of items as text strings or icons. The items are the same, although their appearance differs and for various purposes one appearance may be preferable to another.

I think the message as captured is compliant with the German law. Open it in the email client, e.g., Mail, and you will see that DEVONthink did not alter the file at all. And DEVONthink allows you to open the document under its original application in a variety of ways. A Mail email message captured as .eml into DEVONthink will look precisely the same as before it was captured, when opened under Mail.

DEVONthink allows one to make use of the indexed textual content of files of differing filetypes, unifying their information content and providing a number of tools for organization, management and manipulation of that information content.

But the files themselves remain unchanged, in their native filetypes and capable of being retrieved from a database. just as they were before capture.

If you disagree, you might just as well argue that it would be illegal to have your email messages stored in Apple’s file system under OS X. That’s because Apple provides the alternative view used by DEVONthink, Quick Look (available to users of Spotlight searches), as well as the alternative view as rich text. For that matter, by its very nature, a document using HTML could alternatively be displayed as HTML source code. Alternative views allow DEVONthink to display text content without having to incorporate the proprietary code for each filetype of documents within the database. That’s a convenience to users of DEVONthink (and other databases, as well). Using an alternative view does not in any way affect the ability to view the document under its native application, or to retrieve the document in its native filetype.

Not to be argumentative, but you are mistaken. Preferences > Email > Message Content: Download remote images in HTML messages, when enabled, does not include remote images in captured email messages – it merely displays those remote images when possible. The preference is incorrectly named; it should – as in Mail – read “Display remote images in HTML messages”.

You can confirm this by capturing an email message with remote images on a server you control. Delete one or more of those remote images from the server and the captured email message will no longer display those images.

I concur with Bill’s assessment of the situation (and not just because I work with him). You cannot judge the conformity to any law based on the display QuickLook provides. QuickLook technology is a convenience technology and has known shortcomings in how it can display certain things.

For example, an Illustrator file with PDF compatibility on will show a clipped view (clipping to the page). Does this mean the file is damaged or not intact? Not at all! It is a limitation of QuickLook’s display capabilities. Opening the captured file in it’s appropriate application shows the true content of the file. (And no one would ask for a QuickLook display as legal evidence. they would ask you to provide the actual file.)


See Mail > Preferences > Viewing. There’s a clarification if one checks the option to display remote HTML images: “You must be connected to the Internet to display remote images.”

A Mail email message behaves exactly the same, whether in the original environment of the Mail application, or captured into DEVONthink, then opened in Mail.

The Mail preference is irrelevant to DT’s handling of the message. It only affects how Mail displays images, not how DT displays or captures remote images.

Your earlier reply stated “If you have checked the option in DEVONthink Preferences > Email to download remote images in HTML messages, the images will be included in the captured email messages” (emphasis mine). This is, at the very least, misleading, because it implies that the remote image is saved with the message. It is not. With this setting enabled, DT will display the image if it is still available on the remote server; if the image no longer exists, DT cannot display the image – because DT does not capture remote images.

Both Mail and DEVONthink will display a remote image in an HTML email message, if there’s an active Internet connection and the image remains in the location designated in the HTML code. The image is downloaded and included in the display of the message.

If the link to the image is broken, the image will not be displayed. That’s what would happen, in your example, if the image is removed from the server – whether you are viewing the message within Mail, or the rich text alternative of DEVONthink.