How to aggregate emails into one text file
June 17, 2008 8:42 AM   Subscribe

How can I aggregate the text of multiple received emails into one text file?

OK, my real objective here is to have appointments from my work Groupwise 6.5 calendar show up on my Google calendar. I don't have a pda and there is no way to batch export Groupwise calendar information, according to my IT department & my own searching.

What I can do is set up a rule to forward each appointment from my Groupwise calendar to an external email account (my IT department has no problem with that; indeed, even suggested it). The forwarded emails show up as text attachments with the calendar information in a fairly regular format. If I had all of those emails combined into one file, I could periodically parse it into a csv format acceptable to Google calendar and import it. This would be, as they say, good enough.

But the part I'm stumped at is how to reach into my email box and combine the text of these email attachments into one file. Any suggestions? I feel like this should be simple, but can't quite figure out how to get started. Suggestions on the broader calendar problem are also welcome. I'm using Windows XP on both work and home computers.
posted by yarrow to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Any mail client that uses the MBOX file format should work for this, I think. I use Thunderbird on XP for my mail and it stores e-mail as an .mbox file. All e-mails that are in the same folder (e.g., the inbox) are stored as is one long text file divided by their message headers. Attachments are all rendered as text, so if they .txt files will show up inline in the .mbox file with a short header before the attachment. By default, the file is in C:\Documents and Settings\[accountname]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\[profilename]\Mail

Thunderbird in XP doesn't add the .mbox extension to file but if you'll be able to open it with any text editor.
posted by camcgee at 9:00 AM on June 17, 2008

Response by poster: That does sound easy. I use Thunderbird at home so will try this this evening. Thanks!
posted by yarrow at 9:45 AM on June 17, 2008

Response by poster: Found it! At first I was looking at the .msf file and was mighty confused, but then I found the .mbox file (looks extensionless). Thank you!
posted by yarrow at 7:13 PM on June 17, 2008

Sounds like you're good, but just as another data point, I use gmail to read all my mail that goes to the Groupwise server at work using POP. It picks up the appointments, too, and gmail automagically recognizes them as calendar items and gives me a little "add to google calendar" link with each appointment. I don't think you could set it up to only pull appointments, but if you can find some other way to deal with/ignore/delete non-appointment emails in gmail, you'd never have to mess with any importing.
posted by donnagirl at 10:44 PM on June 17, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, when I forward the appointments to gmail, once in a while it'll recognize as an appointment and let me autoadd, but mostly it doesn't - maybe b/c the appointment details are in an attachment. I'll investigate the POP approach.
posted by yarrow at 7:39 AM on June 18, 2008

« Older Good stretches for an inflexible fellow?   |   Should I retake the LSAT? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.