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Ways to Save Emails to SharePoint

MacroView provides a great user experience for saving Outlook emails to SharePoint & Teams

In this blog we’ll look at 20 user requirements related to saving Outlook emails to SharePoint (and Teams and OneDrive for Business) and see how those needs are satisfied by add-on software available from MacroView.

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1. Drag and drop to save Outlook emails
MacroView Message and MacroView DMF let you drag and drop to save Outlook emails to any SharePoint document library, document set or folder for which you have permission. These areas are displayed in a new pane which is added to the right side of the Mail windows of your desktop Outlook when MacroView Message or MacroView DMF is installed (see Visualise the structure of my SharePoint areas, below).

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2. Save to Teams / OneDrive for Business / SharePoint Online / on-premises SharePoint

MacroView Message 365 and MacroView DMF 365 both provide excellent integration between desktop Outlook and Microsoft 365 / SharePoint Online (including Teams and OneDrive for Business). You can view and save to any SharePoint Online area for which you have permission. In addition, the Hybrid versions of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF also let you view and save to areas in on-premises SharePoint Server.

MacroView pane makes it easy to visualize the structure of a SharePoint email and document store

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3. Save from desktop Outlook / iOS or Android mobile / Mac / Outlook Web Access

MacroView Mail is an Office app that runs in the Outlook app on an iOS or Android device, on a Mac or in Outlook Web Access. MacroView Mail lets you save Outlook emails and attachments to any area for which you have permission in SharePoint Online (including Teams and OneDrive for Business areas). The emails are saved with the same naming and metadata as used by MacroView Message and MacroView DMF. MacroView Mail can be downloaded from AppSource and is free for up to 15 email saves per month.

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4. Visualize the structure of my SharePoint areas

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF automatically discover all the areas for which you have permissions in your SharePoint Online or on-premises SharePoint Server environment. These areas are displayed in a complete and accurate tree-view in a new pane that the software adds on the right of the Mail window in your desktop Outlook.

The MacroView tree-view of a SharePoint Online environment supports hub sites. If you have a large number of Teams site collections, the ability to arrange site collections into hub site groups and to hide nominated hub sites makes visualising and navigating much easier.

Unlike many competitor products, you do not have to register each site collection – MacroView discovers them for you. The MacroView tree display can extend to cover multiple Office 365 tenancies and multiple web applications supported by on-premises SharePoint Servers. You do not have to select folders or document sets from a drop-down list after you drag and drop to a document library.

The Search Site Tree command of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF lets you find and navigate rapidly to a SharePoint area based on part of its title or name. Thanks to the way it uses the SharePoint Search engine, this finding by Search Site Tree remains fast even when the SharePoint structure grows to contain thousands of site collections, sites, libraries, document sets and folders.

MacroView Mail app displays all areas for which you have permission as you drill down through each level in the SharePoint tree structure.

MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail all support Favorites and Recents. Favorites can be arranged into groups – much like Favorites in a web browser- and are a good way to visualise and navigate rapidly to the areas that you use frequently. You can right-click in the MacroView tree to create your own Favorites, or Favorites can be created automatically for you by the Push Favorites mechanism of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF.

MacroView pane showing hybrid environment – on-premises SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online (including Teams and OneDrive for Business)

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5. Familiar view of emails already saved

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF make it easy to update your existing SharePoint libraries, or to create new libraries, with metadata and views so that saved emails are displayed with their To, From, Subject and Received Time attributes – very similarly to how emails are displayed in your Outlook Inbox or Sent Items folders. If you click on an email in SharePoint, MacroView software displays a formatted preview in the bottom of the main central pane of the Outlook Mail window – again very similar to how emails in your InBox or other Outlook folders can be displayed.

If you click the Subject column heading in the Emails view, the emails are arranged by Conversation Topic, so all the emails in the same discussion tread are grouped together in descending order of Received Time. The Re: and FW: prefixes in the email subjects are ignored – again just as they are when you sort the emails in your InBox by Subject.

Double-clicking an email in a MacroView file list causes that email to be retrieved from SharePoint and re-opened in Outlook, exactly as it was when it was saved to SharePoint. You can then Reply and Forward as normal.

MacroView provides a familiar view of emails that have been stored in SharePoint

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6. Emails saved in EML format

MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail all support saving emails in EML format. This format is preferred because emails in EML format can be opened in a mobile device.

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF also support saving in MSG format. Emails in both MSG and EML format are found when you Search – see below.

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7. Create the area in SharePoint for a new customer or project

If you have Contribute permission (i.e. you can save an email) you can right-click in the MacroView tree and create new folders (and document sets too if the relevant content type is defined). The new folder will appear in the MacroView tree and inherit the permissions of its parent area. You and other users can then save emails and attachments to the new area.

The right-click menus of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF can be extended to include custom commands – e.g. New Client, New Project, New Case or New Matter. If you have appropriate permissions these custom commands are an easy and convenient way to create the SharePoint areas for new customers and projects or cases or matters.

The new document set created for a new project, case or matter can automatically have a standard set of folders (and sub-folders) corresponding to frequently used types of document. The resulting standardisation of folder structures has obvious benefits. The standard folder structures are also easy to adjust if necessary – e.g. so that the document sets for all new projects contain a folder called Invoices. The standard folders are defined in an XML file which is stored in a SharePoint document library, which is an easy and convenient way to make updates to the standard folders as required.

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8. See which emails have already been saved to SharePoint

MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail all set a yellow Saved to SharePoint category on an email as they save that email to SharePoint. This is the case both when a copy of the email is saved (i.e. the original email remains in its Outlook folder) and when the MacroView software is configured to delete the email from its Outlook folder upon save to SharePoint. In the latter case the yellow category appears on the email in the Deleted Items folder of Outlook.

In addition to the yellow Saved to SharePoint, the MacroView software also sets a second category whose value is the URL of the area in SharePoint where the email is saved.

Showing the categories that MacroView adds as it saves an email to SharePoint.

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9. Save emails to SharePoint without being prompted for metadata

If, like many other users, you deal with many emails, you will appreciate the way MacroView software is designed to record metadata automatically as it saves emails to SharePoint. All the non-personal attributes of the email (i.e. To, CC, BCC, From, Subject, Conversation Topic, Sent On, Received Time, Importance, Sensitivity, etc) can be recorded by the MacroView software without any prompting of the user for input.

This automatic recording happens provided that the destination document library contains the relevant Email content type and metadata columns. This content type and these columns can easily be added to a new or existing document library by using the right-click>Provision command that is available for MacroView Message and MacroView DMF.

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF can be custom-configured so that they record other email attributes and so that the metadata columns can have whatever names you like. This is handy if your libraries already have metadata columns with non-MacroView names – e.g. as a result of initially using a competitor product.

A well-designed SharePoint email store will also enable the automatic recording of metadata such as Client Code, Client Name, Project Number, Project Name, Project Type, Project Start Date, etc).

As we will see below, this automatically recorded metadata is vey useful when you need to find an email.

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10. Use metadata to help me find emails in SharePoint

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF both make it easy to filter and sort the files in a SharePoint Online library based on values of their metadata attributes (and using the content of the emails). This includes the metadata attributes that have been recorded automatically (see previous heading). This ‘slicing and dicing’ is a great way to zoom in an find a wanted email within a document library, document set or folder.

The Search mode of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF enables finding of emails and documents in any SharePoint area for which you have permission. Both these products ship with an Email Search, which allows finding of emails based on their metadata and content. As with the slice and dice technique mentioned above, this metadata includes the automatically recorded attributes of the emails (e.g. To, From, Subject, Received Time). You can click a search result to see a formatted preview of that email. If you right-click a search result you can choose Open File Location, which automatically navigates you to the SharePoint area wherein the search result is stored. This is a great way to see the other documents and emails that have been saved for the Client, Project, Case or Matter.

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF send queries to the SharePoint Search Engine – you do not need to create additional search indexes or perform special crawls.

The list of Search types available in the MacroView Search mode can readily be extended – e.g. so that there is a Search Type that let you search for emails and documents based on custom metadata attributes – e.g. Client Name, Project Number, Project Type, Project Start Date, etc. As mentioned under the previous heading, these metadata attributes can also be recorded automatically as emails and attachments are saved to SharePoint.

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11. Prevent duplicates

A real advantage of MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail is how they prevent duplicate copies of an email in any one area of the SharePoint email and document store. The MacroView products achieve this by the way they automatically name the EML or MSG files that they create to store the saved emails. If multiple recipients attempt to save the same email to the area for a Project, only one copy of the email will be stored, but all recipients will see the yellow Saved to SharePoint category on the email in their InBox.

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12. Save emails in bulk, in the background

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF let you select multiple emails in an Outlook folder and drag and drop to save them all to a SharePoint area. This bulk save is performed in the background, so you can go on working in Outlook while the save proceeds. This saves a lot of time when you are filing your emails at the end of a busy week or project.

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13. Save emails retain their attachments

The default configuration of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF causes the complete email message to be saved to SharePoint – ‘complete’ meaning that any attachments to that email in Outlook are embedded in the email that is saved in SharePoint. These embedded attachments are visible at the top of the formatted previews of emails (see Familiar view of emails already saved, above). They will also be present in the email when that email is retrieved from SharePoint by double-clicking.

The Email Search command of MacroView Message and MacroView DMF (see Use metadata to help me find emails in SharePoint) will find an email in SharePoint based on text contained in either its body or in its attachments (provided those attachments contain searchable text).

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14. Save attachments separately and rename them

Sometimes you need to save the attachment(s) of an email separately to the email – e.g. because you will want to edit that attachment or attach it to another new email. MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail all let you save attachments separately. You can save one or multiple attachments. The MacroView software will examine the metadata definition of the destination area for the save and prompt for metadata accordingly. MacroView supports all types of metadata that you can have in SharePoint.

If you are saving multiple attachments you will be able to check a box and have common metadata applied to multiple attachments. As with bulk-saving of emails, bulk-saving of attachments is performed in the background, so you can go on working in Outlook while the save proceeds.

As you save attachments, file system attributes (such as Created Date, Last Modified Date and Author) can also be recorded automatically. This overcomes one of the frustrations reported by folks who move their File Shares to SharePoint, which is that the Created date becomes the date you loaded the file to SharePoint, and the original Created date in the file system is lost.

If an attachment’s file name contains characters that are illegal in SharePoint they are automatically trimmed out, with no confusing error message from SharePoint. If the destination library contains the appropriate metadata column the original unstripped file name complete with its illegal characters is automatically recorded and will subsequently be re-instated when the file is later retrieved from SharePoint and inserted as an attachment to an outgoing email. That way a customer is unaware that the illegal characters had to be removed to store the attachment in SharePoint.

You can also rename an attachment as you are saving it to SharePoint. This is particularly relevant when you are saving the PDF containing a scanned image that has been sent to you by a smart copier – the incoming attachment name will be a number (or date plus number) and not be that useful.

As you save an attachment to a version-enabled area in SharePoint you can arrange for that attachment to be saved as the next version of an existing document, even if the incoming attachment has a name that if different to that of the existing file in SharePoint.

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15. Emails saved to SharePoint automatically

Being able to drag and drop to save emails to SharePoint is good, but it’s even better if emails can be saved to SharePoint automatically! MacroView provides several ways to automate the saving of emails to SharePoint:

  • Personal email filing rules – Each MacroView user can define their own rules for filing the emails that they send and receive. These personal email filing rules are similar to Outlook’s own filing rules – e.g. if the From address of an incoming email contains ‘@MacroView365’ the incoming email is saved to the SharePoint area corresponding to MacroView.
  • Predictive Email Filing – An optional module available for MacroView Message or MacroView DMF when deployed with an on-premises SharePoint Server. MacroView PEF can suggest filing locations for an incoming email based on its From address and for an outgoing (i.e. Sent) email based on its first To address. A filing tag corresponding to the save location is added to the subject of the saved email, which will automate the saving of subsequent emails containing that tag.
  • Corporate Email Filing – an optional module available for MacroView Message and MacroView DMF when used with SharePoint Online or on-premises SharePoint. MacroView CEF supports the same types of filing as Personal filing rules and also inserts and recognises filing tags similar to MacroView PEF. Compared to MacroView PEF, the key difference is that MacroView CEF does NOT require the implementation and maintenance of a custom database.

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16. Save an email by sending it to an email address

Users of Public Folders like the way they can save an email to a Public Folder by sending it to the address of that Folder. MacroView can provide a solution based on MacroView Corporate Email Filing (see previous heading) which automatically saves an email to a SharePoint Online or Teams areas when that email is sent to the email address that corresponds to that area. The effect is like email-enabling the area in SharePoint Online or Teams.

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17. Save emails from Shared mailboxes

Many users have one or more secondary mailboxes in their Outlook Mail environment. These secondary mailboxes might be for a colleague (e.g. the Executive that a Personal Assistant is supporting) or Shared Mailboxes (e.g. sales@acme.com). A MacroView Message or MacroView DMF user can drag and drop emails in these secondary mailboxes to save them to SharePoint.

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF can both monitor one or more secondary mailboxes, as well as the user’s own (primary) mailbox. This enables the automatic filing of emails as they arrive in the InBox or Sent Items folders of a secondary mailbox.

MacroView monitoring the InBox and Sent Items folders for a colleague’s mailbox and for a Shared mailbox.

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18. Prevent saving of certain types of email

There are some messages that you just don’t want saved in your SharePoint store. A good example is emails that have already been archived by a tool such as Enterprise Vault – what is left in your InBox is a stub that points to the archived message somewhere in the Vault. If you attempt to save a stubbed email MacroView Message can display a warning, or if you prefer, prevent the save.

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19. Save emails to SharePoint without volume limitations

When you are saving an email you don’t want to have to worry whether this email will cause a volume problem in your email store. Earlier versions of SharePoint did have significant limitations in relation to volume. With the latest releases of SharePoint Online and MacroView these limitations have now largely been eliminated. Each site collection in SharePoint Online can be up to 25TB in size. MacroView Message and MacroView DMF will let you page through all the items in a SharePoint Online library, even when your view contains more than the List View Threshold number of items.

MacroView Message and MacroView DMF are designed to provide consistently good performance and efficient resource utilisation when saving to and navigating SharePoint document stores, including those with large, deeply-nested Site Collection / Site / Library / Folder trees and very large document volumes.

MacroView can advise on optimal design of a SharePoint document store so that it is able to store large volumes and still be easy to navigate and use.

For more information, see this MacroView Blog post: Implementing Great Designs for SharePoint and Teams

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20. SharePoint to replace Private and Public folders

The limitations of Public Folders in SharePoint Online are causing organizations to look for an alternative way to store their emails. Many organizations are choosing to use a combination of SharePoint Online and MacroView to replace their on-premises and online Public Folders. MacroView provides a familiar user experience for saving emails and allows the user to take advantage of the additional capabilities of SharePoint around metadata and search. The Search Site Tree feature of MacroView and MacroView DMF Message (see above) makes it easy to find and navigate to a particular area in SharePoint – much easier than with Public Folders.

MacroView can assist with your migration from Public Folders to SharePoint Online. MacroView Solution Provisioning can be used to create and provision the areas in a new SharePoint Online email store and MacroView Standardiser bulk processes migrated emails so that their naming and metadata are consistent with new emails saved with MacroView Message, MacroView DMF and MacroView Mail. The new MacroView Migration tool that is anticipated to be available at end Q1 2021 will make the migration from Public Folders, private folders and file shares even easier.

For more information see this MacroView Blog post.

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Next Steps

Contact MacroView for more information about our solutions for document management, email management, document drafting and automated document assembly.