How can I combine the content of selected eMails in GMail into one document?
Question by David /

In GMail I have a bucketload of eMails with a friend pertaining to a topic that I would like to review.

I would like to combine the content of all these eMails into one Google document, or Word or text document. That way I would be able to scan and search a single document instead of having to open a hundred eMails looking for content. How can I best do this?

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Answers (21)
  • Urthbound

    I have the exact same question David! It seems some kind of Java applet could work, one that just sat there, and ran a series of button selections on a search/filter result that copied each email into a document. Surely this must exist somewhere..

  • Pat Rogers

    There was a “Combine emails” feature in Outlook Express. Is it still available in the later versions of Microsoft Office.

    • Tina


      are you still looking for an answer to this question?

      It looks like you won’t receive a response within this comment thread. From experience I know that you have a better chance of receiving replies when your question hits the front page of MakeUseOf Answers. Hence, I recommend you to ask a new question.

  • Jared

    I would like to capitalize better on gmail’s search capabilities by merging selected messages into a single thread.  That way if I get responses to a messages which don’t come in the main thread I can plop them over and later find them all with a keyword search.

    I get the label solution, but it’s cumbersome because most of the time threading works fine and it’s automatic, so I don’t want to separately decide when to label something, or when to search through my labels…this is a non-gmail way of organizing.  What I’m suggesting seems like it’s more of a link and pile, linking so that later your search results will return them in the “thread” with the one message that had your keywords.

    Just a thought, if this capability is there and I’m missing it please feel free to point out the solution.

  • Bhavya_lal

    I would like to combine the contents of about 300 emails into a single word file. I have enabled in Lab as suggested above (and am using Chrome), but I dont see how to get the emails into Word. Any advice would be most appreciated.

    • Tina

      I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. Thus I recommend you to ask a new question.

    • Adam Auteri

      Use Outlook. Add your Gmail account to outlook (i’m doing it via IMAP),
      then from within outlook, copy or move all of the emails to one folder. Once all of the
      emails are in the same folder, simply highlight (select all) of them and
      go to File -> Save As Type (text only) and name the file and location and you’re done! You will end up with one text file that contains all of the emails, including simple headers, and you can read it like a book or conversation.

  • Bart Proot

    I got the same problem as David. But from all the solutions I see here, it is still too complex. Actually, what i’m looking for is a simple feature where I can select the text in a mail, click my right mouse button, select the doc (or project) it belongs to and have it automatically copied in there.
    Any of you who can help me?

  • Oron Joffe

    Seeing as the thread is still live and there’s interest in the subject, here’s a method more suitable to large numbers of messages.

    In GMail, create a new label and mark all the messages that you want to export. Now use Thunderbird to connect to GMail over IMAP, and subscribe to the label (in IMAP, GMail labels appear as folders). This will download all the messages you need, but not others (apart from the inbox, which will be automatically subscribed).
    Download ImportExportTools from and install it into Thunderbird (Tools=>Add Ons… Install…). Restart Thunderbird to complete the installation

    Now click on the folder you want to export, and choose from the Menu Tools=>ImportExportTools=>Export all messages in the folder=>Plain text format (one file). This will create a text file with the key headers (From: To: Date: etc) and the body of the messages.

    • Jl


      Would this work with MS Outlook emails as well? I have the same question but not with Gmail but Outlook.


    • emm

      You sir are a BOSS! This worked great! Thank you soooooo much buddy. all the best.

    • Rodney Daut


      This technique rocks!  You are a superstar.  This only took a few minutes to do… and now I have a way to do this quickly when needed in the future.


  • 10stepstester

    Copying and pasting still makes you go into every single email which is what David doesn’t want to do…there’s GOT to be a program that can automatically download emails into one document

  • Dwoolrog

    Tina, thank you; which leads to the next question: is there a way in Gmail to combine all emails into one long email?

    • Tina

      Not that I know of. You would have to follow Oron’s suggestion and copy&paste all eMails into one document.

    • Jessica Cam W.

      There’s the ‘Create a Document’ Labs feature (by Jeremie LE & David K) that can get this process started. After you enable it, you can click on the right sidebar (under Print All) while you’re reading an email, and it’ll take you to a Google Docs document with the contents of that email. Granted, I think you’ll still have to paste the rest of the other emails in.

      I guess another workaround if you have MS Word 2007 would be to create a document out of each email, then select all of those documents on the main GDocs site and then click on More Actions > Export (to MS Word).

      In MS Word, there’s a Insert Text From File feature you can use to merge the files together.

  • Oron Joffe

    Copy and paste! Just copy each email from GMail and paste it into your word processor. Even if you have a fair number of emails it shouldn’t take long.

    • Wilson

      I have the same issue as this person – it’s 1,571 emails. I think that would take a long time. :)

    • Oron Joffe

      Wilson, see update at the bottom of the thread.

  • Tina


    I don’t know of an automatic way to export selected eMails from GMail to a single document.

    However, if your major concern is searching eMails of a specific topic, I recommend using labels. Create a new label for this topic and assign the respective eMails to this label. If you have already selected all messages, you can just click > Labels > Create New > Enter a name for your label and click > OK. The label will automatically be assigned to all selected eMails You can then search only eMails with that label.

    Let me give you an example. Say the label was ‘conversation’ and you were looking for a ‘keyword’, you would type ‘keyword in:conversation’ into the GMail search bar.

    I think this is much easier than to search through a long document. Please let us know whether you agree and if this solution works for you.

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