Monday, June 18, 2012

43 Thousand Emails

When presented with a seemingly Terrible Task, you know -- are just positively sure -- that there has to be a less terrible way of doing it.  There is no way on Earth that you are the first person presented with this particular Terrible Task. 

More importantly that person who came before you OBVIOUSLY took the time to figure out an easier way of doing it and then kindly documented it online for the next poor soul presented with the Terrible Task.

Right?  Please?  Somebody?  No?  Crap.

For future generations of those asked to do Terrible Tasks, let me document this for you:  HOW TO SORT THROUGH 43,000 EMAILS WITHOUT CRYING
  1. Skip the panicking, the call to the help desk, the desperate reading of the Outlook Help Guide (which will be infuriatingly vague).  Skip the Googling random email-related terms in hopes that someone else had figured out how to do this before you.  I've done all that for you.
  2. Go to and download the software (if you can't get your work to buy you the program, just use the trial version).
  3. Read their three-page tutorial.
  4. The tutorial doesn't mention that it is easier if you import the emails into your outlook first (instead of searching them as files).  It will save you an hour.  Just thought you should know. 
  5. Perform the search that you have been requested to do and narrow the emails down to a more manageable number.
  6. You are now the master of all that is on your computer.  You are basically magic.

Now you will have 1,300 emails.  Which is way less than 43,000.  Inevitably, you will want to dance a little at this point.  You will be expecting someone to refer to you as "The Miracle Worker" and offer to buy you lunch at the food truck across the street. 

At this point, they will ask you to PDF all 1,300 emails. 

  1. Skip the hour-long phone call with the help desk.  And the sinking feeling in your stomach when the experts have to escalate it to their boss who has to escalate it to their boss who still is stumped at first.  And the pleading that PDF isn't that cool of a format and who wants to read a PDF anyway?  You can skip that, too.  I did all that for you.
  2. Create a .pst folder in your Outlook.
  3. Drag all the emails into it that you want to pdf.  
  4. Right click on the folder and then click "create pdf."
  5. Create portfolio.  It is easier to read/manage than individual pdfs.
  6. Pretend like you had to pdf them one by one, freeing yourself up for an afternoon of Words With Friends.**

You are welcome.

*I'm sorry if this only works in Outlook 2010 and you don't have 2010.  That would suck.
**For the record, I've never played WWF in my life.

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