Create PDF or otherwise link Outlook EMails to an MS Access record

I would like to create PDF files of sent/received emails and save them with the customer record.  The concept is to select the email in Access or Outlook 2010/2013/365 and create a linked PDF file.  Link that file to the selected customer record in Access.

Any ideas?  Maybe there is a better way to attach emails that one person may send to a customer record so all users can see the email that was sent/received?

Thanks in advance!
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Bill RossProgrammerAsked:
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
This is a very complicated request with a lot f different variables...


1. <create PDF files of sent/received emails>
From which Email account?

For example if Customer A sends 3 emails to you, and sends 7 emails to your co-worker, do you need all 10 emails?
The same is true for sent emails.
You send out 5 emails to client x, and your coworker sends them 11 more, ...do you need all 16?

2. Then next thing here is security:
<so all users can see the email that was sent/received?>
*All users*!?  Might sound like a good idea now, but this is fraught with potential legal ramifications. (Permissions, Read/delivery receipts, distribution lists, Bcc, CC, archiving, ...etc)

3. You can certainly link an Inbox into Access then key off of the email address, to the email address field in your Access table.
But this will give you the email "fields", not really the email itself (as displayed in Outlook)
(But here again, the question of multiple users sending and receiving emails comes up)

4. I see no easy way to save an email as a PDF

I may be missing something, so  lets see what other experts suggest...

JeffCoachman
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the feedback.  This is for our support team.  We use a shared address book but different email accounts.  When customers send questions we now write an entry into the customer log.  When the answer is sent another manual entry into the log.  

I'm trying to figure out a way to automate that so we don't have to constantly enter info twice.

Thanks,

Bill
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

In answering your questions:

1. Yes all 16 emails.
2. It's all inside our company so no legal issues.  The emails are on our exchange server anyway.
3.  Ideally we would like the email not just the text.
4.  Too bad on that.  Is there an active x or other control that allows msg files to be displayed in Access?

Bill
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
<1. Yes all 16 emails.>
Then talk to your Exchange Admin about this...
Accessing multiple email accounts is not my specialty...

<2. It's all inside our company so no legal issues. >
So if an employee quits/gets layed off, and has knowledge of these emails, how could you be sure that they would never do anything mailicious with this info...?
Just make sure, ...let the lawyers decide...
;-)

<3.  Ideally we would like the email not just the text.>
Then I am not sure how this can be done

<4.  Too bad on that.  Is there an active x or other control that allows msg files to be displayed in Access?>
Yes (but not sure if it is really what you need/want):
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Development/MS_Access/A_4616-Outlook-View-Control-OVC-part-one-Putting-the-OVC-on-an-Access-2007-form.html

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Microsoft/Development/MS_Access/A_4617-Outlook-View-Control-OVC-part-two-Changing-folders-and-interacting-programmatically-Access-2007.html

As always, note that I am only speaking from my experience with Access, ...So I may be missing something here.
So lets wait for an Outlook/Exchange expert to chime in..
;-)

JeffCoachman
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Still a struggle.  In Office everything but emails can be saved as PDF - go figure.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
...seems odd, ...but not surprising...
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Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
It would still be a manual process; but, CutePDF would make it easy to create the PDF's by simply printing them: http://www.cutepdf.com/
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
DavisMcCarn is correct,

With CutePDF you actually create a PDF "Printer" that you can print the PDF's to...

So points to him...
;-)

Jeff
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Jim P.Commented:
Note that storing the PDF (or any binary data) in a DB is a very bad idea. It will cause a mass amount of bloat, be slow and the potential for DB corruption is high. About the only binary data should ever store in a DB is something like a logo or similar.

Yes, it can be done. But should it be done is another question and the default answer is no.
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Hi,

Thanks for the comments.  I already have a PDF printer option with PDF995 that is manual and the user can "Print" the email, save it to a file folder and manually link it to the customer record.

jimpen -  I'm not saving the PDFs in the DB although I might when I set up the SQL server DB.

I'm looking for a more automated process.  It's quite labor intensive now.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
As with most things, ...Anything is possible...

I am sure there is a way to hook into the Outlook object model and do this.

If not Outlook experts check in, then you might want to go here and investigate:
http://www.outlookcode.com/
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Jim P.Commented:
I'm not saving the PDFs in the DB although I might when I set up the SQL server DB.

Still not recommended even with SQL.
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
Jeff - http://www.outlookcode.com/ has promise.  Thanks for the link!

jimpen - I'm curious by this statement

"Still not recommended even with SQL." - Why?

Bill
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Jim P.Commented:
"Still not recommended even with SQL." - Why?

My last company, a medium-small bank, had purchased an imaging/electronic document storage software from a company. The company that made it used SQL to store pointers to the files on the disk along with keywords such as names and account numbers. The database, by itself after about four years, was about 80GB with about 5GB free. The files, on disk, were about 650GB of just raw files. Could you imagine trying to restore that? The backups would take hours.
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Bill RossProgrammerAuthor Commented:
That makes sense.  Maybe that's why SharePoint is so bloated...
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