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Am I finicky?  I guess I am but I do like to arrange whatever I write or email with the proper space, font or indent. Call it a format fetish but I do hate the sight of email forwards with trailing blank lines and haphazard text.

And the “˜>‘ which goes onto become “˜>>‘ with each forward doesn’t make for a pretty mail.  Essentially if I want to use that same text I have to take it with all the undesirable formatting.

It is an irksome problem which begs for a simple solution. My earlier way involved copying the text to Notepad (or NotePad2) and using the Find/Replace functions to remove the undesirables from the text. I was looking for something which could cut down on the three steps of Notepad.

The outcome of my hunt introduced me to the following ways :

StripMail

A handy freeware utility designed for just this problem. StripMail (v0.99j) can be used with any email program to clean up the text. StripMail formats the mail text by cleaning the “˜>’ and “˜|’ from forwarded e-mails. It organizes the text into paragraphs and indents the right margin thus making the text easier on the eyes.

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The 279KB executable runs as a standalone executable. Yes, I still have to do the copy paste thing but thereafter StripMail handles the cleanup operation with one touch operations. There is a Do it all button which is like a master switch handling all the stripping and pasting operations in one go.

eMailStripper

Get rid of all those pesky “˜>’ characters with this freeware utility. Paste the message text into eMailStripper and Strip It. The software bumps off the indentation characters at the beginning of lines and also brings together the lines to make the whole message a bit more legible.

EMailStripper (v2.2) was probably not meant for sophisticated operations as it lacks configuration options. But for a neat little formatting job, the light program is worth a download. The program is compatible with Microsoft Windows (all versions) and Linux (under WINE).

You might also like to read Mark’s review of the software here Clean Up Your Emails with emailStripper Clean Up Your Emails with emailStripper Read More .

Clippy

Clippy takes the pain away from the painstaking task of reformatting multiple-forwarded emails. Apart from removing the “˜>’ character, Clippy also realigns the lines, wipes any HTML tags, converts case and removes line breaks among a host of functions. Copy the text to the clipboard and click on Clippy installed in the system tray. Clippy works on the text and all you need to do is to paste it back where you need it.

Clippy can also be configured with other functions (like count words, convert between DOS and Unix formatting and also between white space characters and tabs, change the case of characters and even replace strings) through its Edit option.

Clippy (v1.20) is compatible with Windows (Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/3/XP) and can be alternatively be downloaded from here as the author site seemed to be down.

If you have been at the receiving end of emails populated with “˜>’ and “˜>>’ then you should surely save the next soul some annoyance by cleaning it up and only then sending it forth. It’s not only for the sake of clarity but it is also in the interest of good email etiquette.

Do you think that clean email forwards make for a good practice? If you do clean up your emails, what methods do you apply? Give us your opinion without a “˜>’.

Photo Credit : Tim Morgan

  1. Ron
    January 13, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    It would be great if there was an online version of this. It's a bit of a pain trying to install any software in a work environment. Anyone got any links?

  2. Ippar
    May 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you. I have been using eCleaner for a long time for removing symbols and other trash; it is still available for download, however it is no longer supported by the developer.
    By the way, when the mail to be forwarded has images and text and has plenty vertical lines, how to remove these lines? Thanks again for a useful article.

  3. Mackenzie
    April 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    If you get rid of all the quote-markers, how do you know who is quoting whom? Stripping HTML, though? Nice. Now if only we could convince people to stop using HTML to begin with!

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm

      This is more for those forwarded jokes and chain emails that you get with all those >>>>> in them. I've been using emailStripper for years to get rid of all the crap that comes in these emails if, on the few occasions, I want to pass anything onto my uncle or best friend. Works perfectly. Might take a look at StripMail now though.

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