Tuesday Tip: Batch print email messages to PDF

DEVONthink Pro Office stores email messages in their original formats. If you want to keep your messages in an easier to handle file format one option is to ‘print’ them to PDF and keep the PDF instead. Converting hundreds or even thousands of messages manually is a painful process, however. But, as long as Apple hasn’t killed Mac automation, there’s a solution for this:

First enable the alternate email view (see Preferences > Email) or convert the messages to rich text. Afterwards use the “Convert documents to PDF” script (available via the Support Assistant) to print the (converted) email messages to PDF.

9 Responses to “Tuesday Tip: Batch print email messages to PDF”

  1. Erwin says:

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your tip. I usually look into the Tuesday Tips as I’m eager to learn how other people make use of..
    Today however, I’m completely lost. Call me a noob if you want, but:
    – I can’t find ‘alternate email’ view in Preferences > Email (I checked Mail > Preferences and System > Preferences)
    – Also, what do you mean with ‘The support Assistant’?

    FYI I’m on Mail 8.2 (2104) and on Yosemite 10.10.5

    Thanks for enlightening me!

  2. Stefanie says:

    HI Eric,

    thank you for the Tuesday tip!

    Usually, I convert my imported emails to rich text – as I could not figure out how to print or convert an email including attachment. The beauty of rich text is then that the attachment can be searched as well . For important stuff I convert then to rich text.

    Have a good week.
    Kind Regards

  3. @ Erwin: You can choose the alternative email view in DEVONthink Pro Office > Preferences > Email. You open the Support Assistant with Help > Support Assistant in DEVONthink Pro Office.

  4. Erwin says:

    Eric, thanks for clarifying! I was completely off on the wrong leg.. 😉

  5. Pat O'Halloran says:


    Thanks for the tip, as always.

    Can you tell me why I would want to do this. For me it seems to create larger files and the original email is searchable anyway. Am I missing something here? Thanks

  6. @ Pat O’Halloran: Some people simply prefer to keep email messages as PDFs instead of EMLX.

  7. Mark says:

    The post about Sal’s position cut at Apple has me very concerned about Mac Automation. While I’ve often struggled a bit with Applescript and Automator (despite being comfortable with shell scripting), it’s a tool that allows functionality that is critical.

    In any case, keep up the great work with these scripts!

  8. Robin says:

    I’ve installed the script from support assistant but how do I have to proceed from there. How can I activate this script to convert mail to pdf within devonthink ?

  9. @ Robin: Select your files, then choose the menu command Scripts > Convert > Convert Documents to PDF.