How do I forward an email as a PDF file in Outlook 2013?

Chris April 19, 2015
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How do I forward an email with its attachments, if any, as a PDF file in one step in Outlook 2013?

I’ve got a 64-bit Windows 8 Lenovo laptop, in case that matters.

I’ve tried looking for Outlook plugins, but these don’t seem to exist for this purpose. Everything allows you to save an email as a PDF file, and separately attach it then forward it. This is not what I’m looking for.

Here is what I want to be able to do (hopefully there is an Outlook plugin or something out there that someone else has found):

I want to be able to open an email, hit “Forward as PDF” or something like that, have it automatically turn both the body of the email, and any attachments it has, into one attachment. Then I hit “Send”.

I’m expecting that when I hit “Forward as PDF”, it take a second, attaches all the  new rendered PDF files from the email and attachments, then opens a new email that you have to enter the “To” email address on, enter subject line, etc, and hit “Send”.

I already know how to save an email as a PDF, create a new email and re-attach the new PDF, etc. That is what I am trying to avoid. There are too many steps to be consistent, and I need to do this often and quickly.  Here is the situation:

WHY: I use the Neat Desk Scanner with Cloud Services. Since more people are getting emailed receipts, they wisely have a feature that enables you to simply “forward” any email to your Neat Cloud Service. It then appears in your Cloud account as a document to organize. The emails can have attachments or none. It understands the difference between the body of the message and the various attachments. Cool right?

The only problem I’m having is that, too often, the emails I’m sending are not being read properly because they were HTML and other email message formats. It’s a hit or miss who can predict how companies will choose to code their e-receipts. Attachments seem to come out fine when forwarded to the Cloud this way, because it doesn’t need to read anything, just display the PDF receipt.

So I want every email I send to them to just be a PDF before it even gets there. I’m losing too many receipts. I got the Neat storage system because I struggle to remember to scan — I’ll never be able to keep up with it if I have to save everything to my desktop for a second, re-attach, forward, etc. I need a plugin for Outlook 2013 Windows 8 that allows this functionality, or another suggestion.

Thanks!

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  1. Oron J
    April 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    My reaction is much the same as Jan's. You should be able to make a macro which will convert the email to PDF and then merge it with attached PDFs, attach this new PDF to a new email and send the lot to your Neat Cloud address.

    Converting an email to PDF and then reattaching it to an email is, well, an unnatural thing to do... (although I do understand your reasoning) and I doubt very much that you will find a plug-in to do this "off the shelf".

  2. Jan F.
    April 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I didn't have any success finding a ready-to-use solution for this.

    One way I can think of achieving this is by creating a macro that will save the selected message(s) as a PDF file and automatically create a new email with the PDF(s) attached. But that is just theoretical…

    You would also have to decide how you want to handle all the attachments.
    (a) save the attachments, then save the original message as a PDF, finally attach all of it to a new mail
    (b) save the original email including the attachments as a PDF (Acrobat does support PDF's with file attachments, not sure about third-party integrations tho)

    But how about an easier solution:
    Set your Outlook to ignore the original message format and always send/forward emails in the format you have selected, the one support by the cloud service.

    Regardless of the original format emails should always be plain text readable and not rely on extensive HTML formatting (the exception being some fancy newsletters). If that is not the case school your contacts about creating proper emails…

    • Chris
      April 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      @Jan F. - Thanks for these suggestions - Unfortunately, maybe a macro and rigging something up is the only option to achieve what I want. The worst offender is Microsoft's e-receipts, surprisingly. Their e-receipts constantly display errors in the Neat Cloud conversion process (the issue lies with the Neat Cloud rendering system, whatever that is). Neat cloud doesn't even say on their site exactly what formats are supported in the level of detail we are discussing. Rendering emails to PDF works great on a local machine. But if the conversion is happening third party (like in the Neat cloud using some custom converter they made), the quality is always an issue.

      Too bad Adobe hasn't come up with a way to do it. It would make e-doc management way easier. Thanks again!

    • Jan F.
      April 20, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Some PDF printer actually support forwarding the created PDF as an email. Since you always send to the same email address it should be possible to set this up fairly automated.

      example with Nova PDF
      http://www.novapdf.com/kb/create-and-send-pdf-via-e-mail-214.html

      PDF42 does support emailing too
      http://en.pdf24.org/pdf-creator-download.html

      I didn't have time to test either so I cannot tell you upfront how this will work for emails with attachments.

  3. ha14
    April 19, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Save As PDF Add-In for Microsoft Outlook
    http://www.sperrysoftware.com/outlook/save-as-pdf.asp

    Save Outlook email as a PDF
    http://www.slipstick.com/developer/code-samples/save-outlook-email-pdf/

    Convert & Save Outlook Emails to PDF with Attachments for Printing Purpose!
    http://www.pcvita.com/convert-outlook-emails-to-pdf-with-attachments.html

    • Chris
      April 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      @ha14 - Thanks - but your answer is exactly what I am trying to avoid in asking my question (see why above) . The links you listed above are just plugins & instructions to convert an email into a PDF then "save it on your desktop". - I already know how to do that. I'm trying to AVOID having to save the email as a PDF to my desktop first... AND I need to avoid having to manually open a new email message AND avoid manually attaching the saved PDF. I'm looking for a "Forward as PDF" all in one step type solution. It may not exist. But thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I suspect I'm not the only Neat Desk customer who has need for a solution to this.

      • Mark
        October 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        Did you ever figure that out?
        I have the same need . . .
        Thanks

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