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April 24, 2008 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Outlook Cleaning/Archive Gurus: Help me eliminate emails with similar (but not duplicate) content!

I'm having a hard time finding a way to automate the search and deletion of emails with similar content. I have a manual process that I'm trying to automate.

The method: Every time an email is responded to, the full text is usually retained from the previous response.

Example (without attachments):

* Person #1 sends email
* Person #2 replies to email (includes the first email's full text)
* Person #1 replies to email (includes the first two emails)

Why not just keep the latest response in the conversation and any emails that have unique attachments? This way, you can reduce the Outlook size without compromising any data! Of course, this gets more complex with multiple recipients and responses.

The setup: Let's assume 1000 emails are in 1 giant archive folder. These emails include my sent email and my received email that are ready for archiving. Hence, my manual process....

* Sort by conversation (more often than not, the email text in the body is duplicated each time there is a response)
* Delete the oldest emails within a conversation UNLESS there is a unique attachment or unique text that isn't already in a newer email

In a world without attachments, this would usually keep the most current email in the conversation (which has all of my replies and their replies).

I know this is a very specific request, however, I think this method is pretty snazzy (to blow my own horn here) because it keeps all the unique information and it eliminates the duplicate information. Hence, smaller backups and better searches.

Any guidance is appreciated! Also if you have any Outlook email tricks please post for all to see!
posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (2 answers total)
Well, I suppose there is some kind of macro that could be programmed to do this, but -- just in case you didn't realize it -- this is pretty much exactly how Gmail operates. Even if you have a non-Gmail address, you can basically send an receive any email you want through the Gmail interface. If you are not tied to Outlook, perhaps consider switching?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:19 PM on April 24, 2008

My boss won't let me route through Gmail (I've tried!). Fortunately, I have been able to hack Outlook together to work like Gmail with a few smart folders. Thanks though!
posted by colecovizion at 9:20 AM on April 25, 2008

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