NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Making Forwarded Email More Presentable
by Grant Wales, December 2001
(click to email author)

Making the content of an email free of the ">" symbols, and making the line endings of the text layout be determined by the width of your email browser composing screeen is a breeze with a freeware program called emailStripper. It will restore "forwarded" or "replied" emails back to their original state so they're easier to read.

The download URL is http://www.printcharger.com/emailStripper.htm. The executable file is just over 150 KB. In use, just access the executable file from your hard drive, and it presents a simple screen with a few buttons, which include "Copy" and "Paste." The message to be "cleaned" is pasted into the window of the screen. Hit the "Strip It!" button, and the temporary text file will be stripped of the ">" symbols and hard line endings, without losing the separation between paragraphs. The cleaned version of this text can then be copied into the desired application, which will often be an email message.

The emailStripper.exe executable program file needs no installation except to be available on the hard drive, and a shortcut icon on the desktop may be desirable.

To use it, open the emailStripper.exe program and see a "scratchpad" window and a few buttons below it. The message to be converted is brought into this scratch pad and converted there - then copied to the composition screen of the mail to be forwarded. Means for doing this are described below.

The message to be stripped should be highlighted, then copied. From the virtual clipboard, use the emailStripper "Paste" button to enter it into the scratch pad area. Click on "Strip It" to convert the message, and use the "Copy" button to place the converted message on the clipboard so it may be entered into the email browser composition screen.

To do this, place the pointer (or its equivalent) in the message window and left-click to put a cursor there, then click on "Paste" in the toolbar. Note that the > symbols are gone from the converted message and that the text lines wrap when they get to the right side of the browser window.

There are alternative means for highlighting, copying, and pasting.

Other uses
In addition to its use for "cleaning" email, it may be used for other purposes, such as pasting the content of an email message into a word processor document. Also, for those who wish to archive the text (only) portion of the HTML content of a web page, it may be necessary to remove hard-line endings (if they are present) so the message can take on a width as great as permitted by the word processor's left and right margin settings. Some documents will benefit from this change, as they won't occupy as many pages.

A user that chooses to archive text with lines wider than those in the source document may wish to have more control of the process than is provided by emailStripper.

EmailStripper converts the Shift + Enter paragraph symbol to the regular paragraph symbol. In addition, where multiple spaces appear in succession in the source document, each of these spaces will be deleted. For certain applications where the end result won't tolerate these modifications, the user can resort to a custom approach.

A more labor-intensive and customized way of modifying text is to use the "Replace" function of a word processor. When removing paragraph symbols to let the text lines wrap when they reach the width allowed in their new environment, certain notations must be entered into the "Find what:" line of the "Replace" dialog box. Things to remember are that the usual paragraph symbol is represented by ^P, while the "Shift + Enter" type of paragraph symbol is represented by ^L. The ^ symbol is obtained by doing Shift + 6.

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