View attchment names within Outlook

Posted on 2012-03-22
Last Modified: 2012-03-26
Hi All,

Is there a way of displaying attachment names within the Outlook 2010 email list. There is an attachment column available which only displays if the email has an attachment or not.
I have looked into field chooser > new > type:formula and then not sure on the field for mail item attachment.
Is this at all possible, am I on the right track?

Question by:whitewire
  • 2

Accepted Solution

Grobpa earned 250 total points
ID: 37755943
Hey Whitewire

I had a look, and it seems to me that this is not possible.
What I do is to switch my Reading Panel on and preview all my mail.
In the reading panel there is an option to mark as read and when you deselect this option you the mail will only me read once you have OPENED the mail.

Hope this helps you.


Author Comment

ID: 37763657
Hi Grobpa,

Thanks for your answer. Still would like to find out if this is at all possible.


Assisted Solution

Vanguard_LH earned 250 total points
ID: 37764787
Attachments are NOT defined in the headers (other than to list the identifiers for the MIME parts that contain the attachments).  The Content-Type header only identifies there are MIME parts for attachments, not the parameters in the MIME headers.  So there is not sufficient info just in the headers to identify the attachment.  You have to go look at the parameters for the MIME part in the body (of the raw source) of an e-mail to see if the filename attribute has been defined.

All e-mail gets sent as plain text.  All of it.  HTML is just text tags.  Unicode characters are encoded text strings.  Attachments are long encoded text strings.  They are MIME sections within the body of the e-mail.  The filename parameter in the MIME "header" (which is in the *body* of the e-mail) specifies the original filename for the attached content.  The filename is optional since it will be whatever the user wants to use as the new filename when they decode the long string to extract the content into a file on their drive.  So a MIME section might not have the optional filename parameter.   Also, there are 2 types of attachements: attached and inline.  Disposition=attached means the MIME section should *not* be displayed in the body of the e-mail and the client should show an indicator that the MIME content is an "attachment".  Disposition=inline means the content must be displayed inline with the body of the e-mail and that means it definitely doesn't need a filename as it's in the body of the message.

So, to find the filename of an attachment depends on if disposition is attached or inline.  It might not be there as a parameter to the MIME header that delineates the encoded string for the "attached" content.  The e-mail client would have to scan through the body of the e-mail seaching for MIME parts to see if each had a filename parameter that listed what was the original filename of the content that is not a long encoded string in the e-mail.  Scanning through the e-mail body is not what e-mail clients do except to discover MIME parts.  They do scan to show you a list of disposition=attached MIME parts in that you will see the list of "attachments" when you select an e-mail.  In the preview/reading pane, and if that e-mail has an attached (disposition=attached) MIME part, then you will see the value of the filename parameter for each MIME part.  The reason the e-mail client will do that (list the filename parameter in each MIME part) is that there *is* a header that gives the identifier for the start of the MIME part.  The e-mail client then knows by the header that there is a MIME part with that identifier so it goes look in the body to get the filename parameter.

For example, when my VOIP provider sends me a recording on a new voicemail message (as a .wav attachment in the e-mail), there will be a header like:

Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="----voicemail_3763202490847941741665795"

When someone attaches a .pdf file, I'll see a header that looks like:

Content-Type: multipart/mixed;

That triggers the email client that there is a MIME part for it to interrogate.  The string after the equals sign is the ID of the MIME part.  So it scans the body of the e-mail looking for a MIME part with that identifier and returns some of its parameters, like the filename attribute, if present.

So if you see the paperclip icon showing there is an attachment (disposition=attached) to an e-mail in the headers pane, go look at that e-mail in the preview/reading pane where you will then see the filename parameter's value for the MIME part wherein is encoded the text string for that attachment.

If you don't want to select an e-mail in the headers pane to then preview it to then see what are the filenames for the attachments, or you don't want the preview/reading pane to be enabled (due to security concerns), then right-click on the e-mail in the headers pane and from the context menu select "View attachments" which will show you a list of disposition=attached attachments in that e-mail.  This works in OL2003 so I'm assuming it still works in OL2010.

Author Comment

ID: 37768834
Hi Vanguard_LH

Thanks for your time and the detailed reply.


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