General Question

flo's avatar

Legal secrataries/ clerks, how do you reverse email exchange's order?

Asked by flo (10547points) February 6th, 2012

That is if you need to make a printout of the exchange, how do you do it? The way it is on the screen the latest email is on top. How do I make it show the exchange starting from the earliest email for the purpose of having this long dialogue printed out which is a few pages worth.

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10 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

What Email Client are you using and what version? (Outlook, Notes, etc)
It will vary from email client to email client. and version to version.

flo's avatar

@blueiiznh Yahoo and Gmail. Vrsion-wise, the latest one they switched to, I don’t know what they call it.

Jeruba's avatar

@flo, if this is a dialogue within a single e-mail thread, more or less like this short example, where you read from bottom to top:

Ok, that’s all right then.
> I meant that we could go together.
>> Wait, I don’t want you picking out what I’m going to wear.
>>> I’ve made plans to go shopping for our costumes this afternoon.

the reason it’s bottom to top is that the correspondents are following the common practice of typing their responses above the ones they’re answering. Some people type below and some embed their answers, but most type above. It’s nothing automatic in Outlook.

The only way I could think of to show them in chronological sequence would be to manually reverse them all.

First you might try a File Save of the thread to see if it gives you a text file with times and dates embedded in it. That ought to make it easier, but it will still be a pain.

Alternatively, you could preface it by a note that says: “This is an e-mail thread written from bottom to top. To read chronologically, begin at the bottom.”

flo's avatar

@Jeruba you’re right, manually is a tedious way to go unless the exchanges are really short.
Prefacing it by a note is what we’ve been doing so far. Maybe @blueiiznh will come back and let us know about one of them so I can open an account with them.

flo's avatar

@Jeruba it makes sense why the latest email is on top by the way, I have no problem with that, otherwise we have to scroll all the way down each time. But I thought lawyers office (suggested by @Buttonstc) among others, would need this function and therefore would be commonly available.

blueiiznh's avatar

This is not a straighforward way of printing due to the fact that emails are composed and stored in conversation order of most recent first.
I have looked through the native options of various web based email such as hotmail, gmail, yahoo, comcast, etc and all do not have this available view or print option.
Outlook versions 2003, 2007, 2010 do not support it either.

HOWEVER, there is a market for this need in the legal space and there are 3rd party tools that can do this. I found a few and downloaded and tested them successfully with Outlook as the client. You can point Oulook to send and recieve email from most every email hosted service (Yahoo, gmail, comcast, hotmail, etc.)
I was pleasantly suprised to see how easy one of the tools functions as an add-in.
Advanced Email Printer did as it promised and ordered the email conversation by date, oldest first on top for printing.
Let me know if you need any more guidance. Hope it helps.

flo's avatar

Thank you @blueiiznh. I will send this to my party and see and what they say. I hope you found this good to know.

flo's avatar

@blueiiznh do you think it is easily doable for the email providers to add that feature for their next version?

blueiiznh's avatar

@flo It is a fairly simple coding exercise. If a company or person had the skills, they could develop a similar tool. I did see it submitted as an enhancement request to Microsoft in Outlook, but this goes back to first request almost 10 years ago. If I get a chance I will look at Eudora, Thunderbird, or other open source email clients.

flo's avatar

That is what I guessed. Thanks again @blueiiznh.

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