How to batch save emails as pdf
June 29, 2018 8:03 PM   Subscribe

The daycare which my son attends sends daily photos along with a short blurb about what he's been doing that day. My wife and I have saved all of the emails in our gmail account. I want to know what is the simplest way to download all of these emails in a pdf format to save for the future.
posted by Proginoskes to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you're on a Mac, I'd do these two things:

1. Print to PDF (built into the print dialog) - probably best from
2. Combine PDFs, which you can do with

Not sure if that's the best approach, but it's my best idea.
posted by jragon at 8:48 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you have adobe acrobat and outlook, you can use the Adobe menu in outlook to make a group of emails into PDFs.
posted by artychoke at 9:46 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can also use IFTT to automatically save gmail attachments into a folder.
posted by KateViolet at 1:00 AM on June 30, 2018

If you care deeply about this data, please also keep a backup of the actual emails, exported from Google like gregr said, for future proofing. Do not throw it away when you make your PDFs!

You'll always be able to easily go from original emails -> PDF or whatever, but the reverse may not be true. With a backup, you can view them locally in an email client, import them into another webmail provider if you ever ditch Gmail, etc.

Mbox format (one big file with all the emails clumped together) is good enough, the other common formats are Maildir and MH (one file per email in a directory structure). Any of these 3 are fine for long-term archival because you can easily convert between them with various tools.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:51 AM on June 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

The time I did something similar was a bit different. A relative (a Preacher at that) had Daily Devotional email sort of things in his Gmail account and wanted a Word document like thing. Mostly plain-text.

Still have the code around somewhere, (still know their Gmail password heh). Perl script using (forget) IMAP or POP no deletions. Scarfed down the entire account. More Perl email modules. Filtered by subject. Dumped subject/text to a file, did some cleanup for obvious typos and such. Formatted it as HTML and passed it off to `pandoc`. I could see the same thing working using text/html instead of text/plain message wise and going to PDF assuming pandoc makes it look presentable.

That's geeky that isn't just printing as PDF and combining.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:07 PM on June 30, 2018

lol gregr, just caught the MBOX to PDF converter link... heh.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:09 PM on June 30, 2018

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