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Saving amended email attachments back to original email

Posted on 2014-02-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-25
I know that this is wrong, and I know it shouldn't be done.  I have a user who won't be told that it's wrong.

He used Windows XP, Outlook 2007 and Word/Excel 2007, would receive a document as an email attachment, edit it, and then save the amended document back to the original email.

Yes, that means the email he has in his Inbox is not now the same as the one he was sent.

He has now upgraded to Office 2013 with Windows 7.  Rightly, opening an attachment now will not let him save the temporary file he is viewing and working on, and rightly, it won't allow him to save that amended temporary file back into the email.

However, he insists that his workflow requires that it does.

Is anyone aware of a way of having Office 2013 applications behave as Office 2007 and before did?
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Question by:RedLondon
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Expert Comment

by:Jeff Perry
ID: 39882524
Microsoft changed it to prevent users from losing work in the temporary directories.

I don't believe that there is a way to reverse their code changes.
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BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 39882746
As far as I am aware, up to Outlook 2003 you could save the attachment back to the email.  I believe that it was 2007 which introduced the "Reading Pane" layout which is "Read Only", but from memory opening the message fully and double-clicking the attachment opened it in Edit mode where changes could be saved back to the message.  Outlook 2010 and 2013 attachments are opened in "Read Only" mode unless you specifically instruct Outlook to open the attachent in "Edit Mode".  This functionality is hidden away and requires a few steps for obvious reasons.

You can configure Outlook 2007 to always open the attachment as Read Only via the Registry;

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Options\General]
"OpenAttachmentsReadOnly"=dword:00000001

A value of 0, or a non-present value, means that attachments opened from the Reading Pane will be opened as Read Only and attachments opened from a fully opened message window will be opened in editable mode.

To open a message in Edit Mode requires that you first double-click to open the message fully.  The "Edit Message" option is here:

Outlook 2007 > "Message" tab > "Actions" group > "Other Actions" button > "Edit Message" option.

Outlook 2010 and 2013 > "Message" tab > "Move" group > "Actions" button > "Edit Message" option.

Now double-click to open the attachment, make the changes, and save the attachment.  On closing the message, the prompt will show to allow the saved changes.

Here is a much better idea to preserve the original attachment and message.

Click the Forward (NOT Reply) button to create a new message with a copy of the attachment rather than putting the original into Edit Mode.  You can then edit the attachment in this new message and send the edited and saved attachment.

Note and disclaimer.

I have only tinkered with this out of curiosity and nothing more.  It appeared to work for minor edits, but I cannot guarantee that it will work for all attachments and changes.  If the client's workflow is so hectic that shortcuts like this are necessitated, then the risk is on the client.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RedLondon
ID: 39882875
Excellent, thank you
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39885001
Thank you RedLondon
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