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Thunderbird Email Highlight received emails

Posted on 2008-10-03
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I refuse to believe that no one in that last 10 years has developed a valuable piece of software to permit the recipient of emails to highlight a portion of the email. This seems like such a need that someone should find a solution and market it if you cannot find a solution. I have checked the web all over and cannot fiind software that allows someone to highlight text of received emails.  

I am using Thunderbird 2

Thanks for your help

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Question by:djkaraok
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by:rid
ID: 22651898
Ehm, how do you mean, "highlight"? As in making certain parts stand out to the reader, or highligt as you'd do to copy-and-paste (a part of) the text?
/RID
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by:djkaraok
ID: 22654543
Someone needs to write a script to be able to do this since no one on the WWW has found a solution. I can highlight any part of a received email but when I close the email the highlighting goes away because I am only highlighting for cut or copy function. This is a permanent highlight. I don't want to copy my email to a text file, but keep it in my email browser with the other emails that I receive. There are solutions to highlight a web page but none for email that I have found.

I am wanting to go through my emails received and highlight a part of an email so I do not have to re-read the whole email to find why I saved that email.

So I want to highlight a received email and then save it to refer back to it later.

JT



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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22692568
Is there a different website that has professional software engineers/designers/programmers etc that answer questions and may shed some light on this seemly simple problem?


JT
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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22699628
So should I ask for a refund since I pay a monthly fee for answers and no one is answering?

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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22716915
Maybe my questions are to hard for this site. Seems like I need a more advanced site for level 2 and above tech support people. Search my name for latest post and see if you can answer this question.



JT
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by:BrandonGalderisi
ID: 22717013
You are asking a question that can't be answered.  "Why hasn't someone thought of this?".  Well, you thought of it, so do it!

In general the basic principal of what you want to do is, open an email, alter it, and save it.  Whether it is just as simple as highlighting, or altering the email, that's what you are trying to do.

That alters the email.

If you want, I could suggest this as a "reasonable workaround" to your desire to flag sections of emails for follow up.

On the email you desire to "EDIT", click forward, make the changes you want, save and close.  This will save it to the drafts folder.  I realize this isn't EXACTLY what you are looking for, but it is a workaround until you get around to developing a plugin for thunderbird that allows you to save redaction and highlight sets on a per email basis.
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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22717326
If I had the knowledge to write it I would have not requested help. Not lazy just ignorant. By the way in my Thunderbird when I forward an email it does so as an attachment and does not display the email body. Therefore your suggestion will not work plus it will add to my existing emails but it will put it in drafts.

On the other hand if you do a reply the whole body of the email is there and you can highlight text and change the color then save the file as an html. This gets it out of my emails and into a folder called email notes. I can now attach a note to my html file that describes the area of the email that I need and enoiugh information that I can search and find it easily.

In some ways this works fine but just some extra steps to a problem that seems to be easier to fix than that.

I will hold out hope that someone can and will write a program to do email highlighting with search features. As you say the difficult part is that the original email needs to be edited and we have not found a way to do this. Probably not the best idea to allow your email to be edited by anybody making it look like an original. Still it should be able to be done with some form of email highlighter. How many thousands of people would like to scan an email and highlight the important parts and attach a note that can later be searched for reference?

Get to work those of you with a programming spirit. Geeks rule the world make us proud!

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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22717881
If I understand you correctly you want to be able to highlight, with a color, a section of a received e-mail? If so buy Outlook 2007. I believe it was also in 2003, but it is a default feature. Just choose edit e-mail, select the highlighter and any color you want, highlight and save. You can also do the same to any e-mail you wish to forward. The e-mail must be saved in HTML format of course.

Outlook 2007 also offers incredible search features.

Perhaps I have missed the point of the question.
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by:djkaraok
ID: 22717926
Since my question was related to Thunderbird I am not really looking for Outlook solutions. Especially since I am using Vista 64bit OS. I have heard only bad things about Outlook and Vista 64bit.

So far my only solution is to start a reply then highlight text and change font color then save as and html. This gets the job done but not what I was looking for so it is the best that I can do.

Thanks for your replies but am hoping for someone that writes or knows someone that has written a script for Thunderbird. Time will tell.

Thanks for the reply.

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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22717952
Just  for the record; I have been using Outlook 2007 an more than 25 machines, and Vista 64 bit on about 4 and have yet to see a problem. Both are very stable.
Afraid Vista suffers from bad press somehow. The only common issues are incompatible hardware and incompatible software. The latter is becoming less and less of an issue.
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by:djkaraok
ID: 22717983
Thanks for the FYI - Maybe when Outlook 2009 comes out.

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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22718000
:-)  Probably won't be long.
Cheers !
--Rob
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by:BrandonGalderisi
ID: 22720968
http:#22717952
Afraid Vista suffers from bad press somehow.

Completely agree.  I've been using 64-bit ultimate on my box at home for well over a year now and I love it.  But I don't use MS office.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22752236
djkaraok,


Sorry I haven't been around for a while but I think I already have what you are looking for. It's been around since Feb, 2008, it's only Experimental so you'll have to log into Mozilla to download it, but it seems to do what you desire.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/6509

Hopefully this will help you.

As far as your Forwarding issue, have you confirmed under Tools->Options->Composition->General->Forward Messages and select the Inline option instead of As Attachment. That should help out as well.
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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22753782
Thank you for your reply "mtz1of4" but I think that this is for highlighting emails that you are preparing. I could not find where you could highlight received emails.

Am I missing something?


JT

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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22755314
It worked for me.

Were you able to install the extension OK?  Once it's installed, I simply hit a Reply to one of the emails, selected some text with my mouse, and then Right clicked on it and Highlight Text shows up in the context menu, at the bottom.

My preference is for HTML mail, so if you are using plain text, the highlight might not show up. I didn't test that.  As you noted, I believe you wanted to  mark up forwarded mail, and the same held true for my test, I simply selected some text, right clicked and Highlight Text was an option for me.

 I do not see a way to highlight just the received messages, until you either Forward or Reply to them.
If you want to mark up the incoming messages, I  simply use the Tag option, but I don't see a way to mark up individual lines within the email unless you open it as a forward or reply, mark it up as you wish,  do not send ,but Save As Draft or just Save.

Hope it helps.
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Author Comment

by:djkaraok
ID: 22755470
Yea, I know that I can reply and then mark it up but I wanted to be able to search my emails for portions that were highlighted. I don't want to have to reply to every one that I want to mark up for future recollection.

There are programs out there that will let you "highlight" a portion of a web page so when you send it to someone it will already show the receipent what is important on the email web page.

So far no one has found a solution better than doing a reply and marking the email before saving it as an html page. I really did not want to add a bunch of saved email html pages when I already have the email and could highlight it when I read it instead of during a reply.

I have not heard from anyone on this site a different solution but there is a solution out there on another site somewhere or I will hire someone to write it for me.

Thanks

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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22763262
All right, Sorry I couldn't help.
If you would be so kind as to let us know what you find/found on another site, you could request your points be refunded.

I would love to have the alternative that you speak of.  Searching for highlighted emails, that would be interesting.

By the way, "There are programs out there that will let you "highlight" a portion of a web page so when you send it to someone it will already show the receipent what is important on the email web page." this is not what you asked about, nor is it what  I suggested.  Just so we aren't getting confused here.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22780896
djkaraok,
 
you mentioned, "There are programs out there that will let you "highlight" a portion of a web page so when you send it to someone it will already show the receipent what is important on the email web page."

Do you have the name of such a program? Perhaps we can inquire to that author if it is available or easy to turn it into a Mail option.
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by:djkaraok
ID: 22782655
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Accepted Solution

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BrandonGalderisi earned 500 total points
ID: 22801442
I object on the grounds that sometimes "there is not solution" is the solution to the question.
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by:djkaraok
ID: 22801665
(There is not a solution) cannot be the solution or you are saying that there was a solution. It would be called "there is not a solution" as the actual solution to the problem. A solution by the very nature of the word means that their a resolution of which there was not.

Calling "there is not a solution" an actual solution is like saying "I tried it" will equal "It worked".

Why lesson the value of actual solutions with the non-changing answer "there is not a solution"?



 
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by:IncisiveOne
ID: 22805717
There is a lot of offence in your attitude, please contain yourself, otherwise I will not answer your future posts.

1  Answering a question re "why has anyone not thought of crossing a great dane with a chihuahua" is a question for Philosophy, not Software Zone.

2  You are certainly intelligent, however, Just because you have thought of a feature that would be a great idea for a particular email program, or all email programs generically, does not mean:
a  it is a good idea (yes, in your mind, but maybe not for others)
b  it should be implemented the way you think.  That would be limited to the way you think things should work, and things actually work quite differently.

3  The first technical (setting aside the other problems) problem with your post is, that you are making technical assumptions which are not correct.  This has to do with protocol, auditability, etc.  When you receive an email, that image is what you actually received.  It may have highlit or emphasised portions, but not that was done by the sender, NOT you.  It would be improper to doctor that image (what you received was what you received); you cannot make it anything else.

4  Likewise web pages that you visit.  They are as they are, and [unless you own the site] you cannot change them.

5  Now if you want to highlight, emphasise, mutilate or remove portions of that email, please feel free.  Depending on exactly what sort of change you want to make, choose a program capable of doing that.  If you want to write a story use Pages; for a leaflet, use FreeHand, etc.  In all cases, that program will not change the email that you receive (or the web page that you visit); they will make some form of COPY of the email or web page; allow the changes you desire; and SAVE it locally; which you can then do whatever like with - send it as a fresh email, an ANNOTATED web page, etc.  Understand this point before attempting the next point.

6  Most email client programs already have what you want, but due to protocol, audit requirements which are well established and exist as standards (the value of which you may not appreciate today, but if you ever had to find different versions of changed emails, you may come to appreciate), that EXACT requirement is already implemented within the existing structure.  However:
a  it is not as a new isolated feature that someone thought of last week or exactly the way you think it should be: it is implemented within the existing standards and existing implementation.  
b  And they implemented it a lot more than 10 years ago (my email programs have had it for 24 years).  

7  This is the reason you are best advised to find out "HOW DO I DO etc" rather than "WHY HASN'T ANYONE THOUGHT OF etc" which assumes the feature does not exist; and that if it exists, it should only exist as you have thought of it.  It will take a lot less time for you to find the answer; and cause us a lot less frustration in trying to serve you.

8  Outlook is a total dog, and has many encumberances (just because one or the other person does not have problems, does not mean there are not problems), therefore I do not recommend it.  

9  I use Eudora which is brilliant and does both highlighting, emphasis, colours and provides powerful, fast searching.  You can also "flag" emails with colors (separate to text colour); the colours having being previously set to something meaningful by you; meaning (eg): Action, Reference, Abuse, etc.  I am not a Thunderbird expert, but I understand it does the same (I happily defer to mtz1of4) .  In either case (and that of marking up web pages), you will have to save the marked up or mutilated copy somewhere.  

(The technology is not magic.  Even if you pay someone and get exactly what you want [highlight without storing], they will have to store THAT somewhere, along with the reference to the email it applies to; keep/lose track of that, etc.  Then there is the consequence problem: what highlighting do you want with the annotated email when you Forward it or Reply ?  Highlights and emphasis preserved or lost.  All been thought about and implemented properly.)

10  Suggest you set up your folders, so that you can save the marked up versions of your incoming emails into reasonable locations; find them easily; and search them for specific text.  Depending on the program, that means either a series of DRAFT folders or a series of IN folders: in Eudora, I would call it In_Annotated.  There is an assumption in your question that you delete [unannotated] emails (I delete nothing, which BTW blows Outlooks um 'brains' out), so you have to work with that.
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by:IncisiveOne
ID: 22805788
I forgot to mention ...

11 You can save yourself the cost of someone writing your exact special request for you (which will be limited anyway, and when your needs expand to that of the rest of the email user community; it will be redundant).  That may give you a few decades subscription to Experts Exchange.

12  Unless you are adamant about your our exact special request AND you refuse to use programs within the context of existing standards and protocols, which is not something EE can help you with, I may have helped you understand your problem and the solution, but mtx1of4 provided the correct technical answer.

13  The ONE web page markup program you referenced does the same: either markup and store or cut-and-paste and then email, etc.  All of which require storing it locally.  FOr emails, you may as well use Thunderbird and remain within the email context.

Cheers
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by:sda100
ID: 22902881
Late to the party here, but this extension will do what you want:

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/3093

Just copy/paste the text you want into the sticky, which gets displayed along with that particular message.

Steve
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22913146
That's a nice find, Steve.  

I don't know if it will work for searching but I haven't tested it yet either.

Let's give sda100 some points.
22902881
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22913219
I wasn't able to search through the XNotes, but at least you get a column if you have a xnote attached to the email so it's easily visible.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22913233
Wow, after more testing. Steve, you should get all the points.

With the Preview Pane active, select an email in the Inbox, or what ever folder, scan and highlight the text you would like to note, right click->Copy, then right click on the email in the Inbox folder andselect XNote->Create note, paste the info into it and save and close it.  You now have a column in the Inbox Folder indicating XNotes with a yellow note in  it if you do.  You now have the notes you require, without defacing the original email.
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by:IncisiveOne
ID: 22914618
> Experts, please post your recommendations on which comment(s) ought to have been accepted. <

1  Assuming the Original Poster does again change direction yet again, or we are preventing that.
2  Assuming we have some consensus that Comment http:#a22913233 identifies the best solution, and this is final.
3  As identified first in Comment http:#a22717013, and explained at length in Comments http:#a22805717 and http:#a22805788 ...
4  The solution chosen is in fact one of the specific forms of the many "alter and save" options.  Which means Comment http:#a22717013 provided the first correct answer,  Comments http:#a22805717 and http:#a22805788 supported that resolution.
5  Which means Comment http:#a22801442 is correct, and I support that.  
6  100% of the points go to Brandon.

7  Now for a further resolution, which is only possible after "there is not a solution as asked" has been accepted, implicitly or graciously, and NOT before; he is therefore open to one of the many "alter and save" options which are available.  
8  These are by definition beyond the scope of the original question.
9  A decision has to be made about how to deal with the evidenced vindictive and contrary nature of OP, and his denial of facts.
10  If he is a repeat offender, since no remorse is shown and no admissions have been made, no lenience should be shown by EE and the matter should end there.

11  If he is not a repeat offender, then on the condition that he is warned to play by the rules, I recommend we:
" recognise a second question "ok, I accept I have to alter and save in some fashion, now what is the best way to do that"
" recognise answers to the second question
" recognise that Comment 22913233 as the "best" solution thus far to the second question
" award 25% of the points to sda100

Yours in Integrity
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by:IncisiveOne
ID: 22948197
> Could you take a shot at a more straightforward recommendation? <

(Pardon my pedantry, I was being absolutely specific, naming Comment Ids as requested, in case OP came back with yet another challenge; and establishing a checkpoint, so that at least we do not have to refer back past that).  

Keep it Simple:
Original question:
All points to Brandon Galderisi
This would negate any complaint or attack from the seeker.

But most of us have understood where the questions leads, what was intended (as opposed to what was asked) and we have accepted that IF the seeker were serious about  a solution (as opposed to a fight), then there is a FURTHER resolution.  To some extent, we are doing the seeker's thinking for him, and thus we are open to attack for not following protocol to the letter.  Therefore the moderators need to decide if we take this route or not.

IF we take the route of accepting the second, implicit question "ok, I accept I have to alter and save in some fashion, now what is the best way to do that":
the best solution to that problem was provided by sda100:
Award 125 points to sda100.
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by:BrandonGalderisi
ID: 22949610
I would have to agree with IncisiveOne's comments in http:#22948197 .  The real question comes down to whether or not the asker is willing to accept that there are viable ways to achieve things LIKE what they desire, but not exactly what they desire.  I think, without testing the addon, that sda100's find is the most valuable.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 22959292
VM,

Where can we (you know, the people trying to help others) get this info, except from posts like yours?  I love that little trick and have used it in the past, but I keep forgetting the darn correct syntax. And I end up with about three different posts b4 I get it right. I hate that.  If only there were some magic Highlighting tool that would let me grab sections of a webpage and let me return to it quickly...

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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22959793
I'll second that. I have made a few posts to date ;-)  and yet there are some simple things I see others do that I have never taken the time to figure out. The http:#a being one. It would be very useful.
Thanks,
--Rob
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by:IncisiveOne
ID: 23000931
VeeMod
No worries.

Tricks & Tips
Yes, definitely.  All formatting definitions, and short cuts, please.
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by:mtz1of4
ID: 23009811
Maybe someone will write an "Article"  - I'll vote for that one.
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