This post will show you how to extract and save some (or all) of those attachments without the need to open each individual email. The following two tools will let you manage your email attachments more efficiently, back-up your files stored online and save on your email storage space (if you have managed to exceed it).
1. Attachment Extractor (Thunderbird Plugin)
If you are using Thunderbird, you are lucky because there is a handy, flexible and easy-to-use addon called Attachment Extractor that lets you easily extract and save attachments from the selected messages. The addon has already made one of Make Use Of’s lists: 10 must-have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 more).
- The first step to take after installing the addon is to set the default folder (the tool won’t work without that!). Go to Tools -> Attachments Extractor Settings and select the default folder you want all the attachments to be extracted to.
Now whenever you want, just select the messages containing the attachments you need to extract, right-click and select one of the following options:
- Extract from Selected Messages (to a default folder);
- Extract from Selected Messages (to a custom folder);
- Extract with a custom filename pattern (to automatically intelligently rename files to avoid replacing existing files)
The same set of features is available for extracting all the attachments from any folder (just right click on any folder in the right-hand panel).
The addon offers you quite a few options to save on your Thunderbird and email space. For example, you can set it to:
- Delete the message after the attachment is extracted;
- Delete the attachment after downloading it (while keeping the message):
The addon can also be configured to extract attachments automatically on email receipt. To configure this option, go to Tools -> Attachment Extractor Settings -> Auto-Extract and there:
- Set when the attachments need to be extracted (the tool can be set to wait until all messages are downloaded before starting to extract);
- Specify the default folder to save the attachments;
- Set up the filter (Extract only messages tagged …);
- Choose what to do if the file with the same name already exists:
2. Mail Attachment Downloader (Windows only)
Mail Attachment Downloader is a desktop client that connects to your email account, extracts all the attachments and saves them to the specified folder.
It works with popular email clients like Gmail, Hotmail/Live, AOL and Y!Mail – and it looks like it can be configured to work with other services as well. The tool keeps your mail untouched: the messages won’t be marked as read.
The “Basic” and “Advanced” Filters give you some flexibility over which type of attachments you want to download:
- You can filter email attachments by size (“greater than”)
- You can filter email attachments by file type (movies, pictures, music, documents)
- You can choose to check all mail or selectively check new messages only.
- You can filter emails by the sender of recipient, the keyword in subject or in the body;
- You can also specify the time frame:
I am sure there are other great ways to download multiple email attachments (for Outlook, for example) I am not aware of. Please let me know which ones you have tested and had success with!