Converting EML Files into a PDF Portfolio
What is an EML File?
EML - short for 'electronic mail' or 'email' - is a file extension for an email message, saved as a file in the Internet Message Format protocol for electronic mail messages. It is the standard format used by Microsoft Outlook Express, as well as some other email programs. Gmail also offers the functionality to download email messages as *.eml files - we will demonstrate this in the tutorial steps below.
Besides Microsoft Outlook Express, EML files can be opened using most email clients - such as: Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Entourage, Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple Mail, or IncrediMail. Since EML files are plain text and formatted much like MHT (MIME HTML) files, they can also be opened directly in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera, by first changing the file extension from .eml to .mht. It is also possible to view EML files using Notepad or any other text editor.
What is a PDF Portfolio?
A PDF portfolio contains multiple files assembled into an integrated PDF unit. For example, it can include text documents, e-mail messages, spreadsheets, CAD drawings, and PowerPoint presentations etc. The original files retain their individual identities but are assembled into one PDF portfolio file.
It's important to understand that a PDF portfolio is not a PDF document. It is an archive of files stored inside a single file, with a PDF extension.
Every file inside a PDF portfolio may contain associated metadata information. In the case of emails, it can include "From", "To", "Subject", "Sent", "Description", "Attachments" and other fields. The list of fields depends on the type of the email messages and may vary.
Adobe Acrobat does not provide any method to convert EML files to PDF files, nor any way to extract their metadata. In this tutorial, we use Gmail to demonstrate how to download email messages as EML files, and then use the AutoPortfolio™ plug-in to convert them into a PDF portfolio. This can then be used to carry out a standard 'Portfolio to Single PDF' operation - see the separate tutorial here.
Each EML message is converted into a separate PDF file that is added to the output portfolio. All email attachments are transferred as file attachments of the corresponding PDF file, and each PDF/EML entry in the output portfolio is stored as a separate PDF file with associated metadata.
NOTE: This functionality is only available in AutoPortfolio version 2.7 and up (October 8th, 2020).
You need a copy of Adobe® Acrobat® along with the AutoPortfolio™ plug-in installed on your computer in order to use this tutorial. Both are available as trial versions.
Step 1 - Download Gmail Emails in EML Format
Log into your Gmail account and open the email message(s) you want to download (this must be done one at a time). Then click the "More" button (X3 dots).
In the menu that opens, click on "Download message".
Messages will be downloaded in EML format.
Step 2 - Open the Tool
Select "Plug-ins > AutoPortfolio Plug-in > Convert EML files to PDF Portfolio..." from the menu.
Step 3 - Select EML Files to be Converted
Use the file selection dialog to locate the EML file(s) you want to convert to a PDF portfolio. Select multiple files by holding "Shift" and/or "Ctrl" whilst selecting files (standard Windows multiple selection rules apply).
Step 4 - Select Output Options
Use the next dialog to select an output folder, and name the PDF portfolio. Press "Save" once this is done.
Step 5 - Check the Results
A progress dialog will show on-screen until processing is complete.
The resulting PDF portfolio will be automatically opened in Acrobat. All extracted email files will be listed, and can be placed in order of specific metadata fields by clicking on them ("From", "Subject, "Date" etc.). Navigate through email files, and select one from the list to open it in the viewer section below.
All email attachments are now PDF attachments in their native file formats, and can be viewed by opening the “Attachment” pane located on the left toolbar panel.
Step 6 - View Metadata
Right-click anywhere on the bar showing all metadata headers (“From”, “To”, “Subject” etc.) to access the “Sort by” and “View” options. Use “Sort by” to manually select which factor the email files are placed in order of.
“View” can be used to show all available metadata fields, and not only the default options. Use this menu to add/remove fields from the bar.
It's now possible to convert this PDF Portfolio into a single PDF. You can find more AutoPortfolio™ tutorials here.