Just the facts: list of emails, but no body contents, please.
July 24, 2014 7:07 PM   Subscribe

I need to pull out just the Sender, Subject, Date, Time info from an email archive. Any way to do this easily? Details inside.

I have a local copy of a .mbox archive for one user on my Mac that I've opened in Mail. These messages are from November 2013 to January 2014. The mail server logs have long since been deleted. The email user is deceased. The Labor Standards Office is inquiring about the amount of work this person was doing and I would like to cooperate. Documenting these emails would be helpful, but I do not want to just give a government office a dump of the full emails from an NPO officer. I don't think there is anything sensitive in there, but it establishes a bad precedent.

I would like (and a lawyer agrees this is a good idea) to make a report like what I see when I open the folder in Mail: Sender, Subject, Date, Time. Is there some way to get only that out as just text? If I highlight all of the messages and copy and paste into a text editor, it copies the entire message contents. I imagine if I had super regex fu, this would be a piece of cake, but I don't. How can I copy, export, or otherwise get just the text I want (excluding the email body) so I can drop it in Excel and make a report? I really don't want to wade through 700+ emails to copy this stuff out manually. Thank you hivemind!
posted by Gotanda to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Someone who knows the Unix command line can do this in a few minutes, but it would be very difficult to explain over the internet to someone who isn't familiar with the command line. Your best bet is probably to offer your local nerd a beer.
posted by d. z. wang at 7:34 PM on July 24, 2014

There's probably a less complicated way to do this, but here's how I, with limited IT skills, would go about it:

Install Thunderbird
Install the add-on Import/Export Tools
Follow instructions to import an mbox archive
Follow the instructions to export a CSV with the data you need

You'll have to Google or check the documentation for those instructions, but they're pretty easy to follow along.
posted by mosessis at 8:36 PM on July 24, 2014

Thank you both. More then 12 years away from my minimal command line use, I couldn't do that. For anyone looking at this in the future, I had tried Thunderbird but didn't find any export function on the basic install and didn't realize that was an add on. Also, the original archive was sent messages only which Thunderbird didn't import, so I had to move them all to Inbox in Mail, re-export, import to Thunderbird, then as mosessis advised the csv export worked like a charm. The hivemind just saved hours of drudgery and may have helped a couple of kids and their mom get some financial compensation. Love this place.
posted by Gotanda at 10:11 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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