Mac Users! Save Client Email in Five Easy Steps

If you follow this blog or read my articles in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin, you know I’m a big proponent of capturing email as part of the client file.

Read on if you believe, as I do, that email communications should be stored with the rest of your client documents to ensure a fully integrated, complete record of your work.

I Know You Love Gmail

Many lawyers are ardent users of Gmail. If you believe in saving email to your client file, this poses a problem.  Google doesn’t provide a tool to let users save multiple messages in one step.  You can print one message at a time to PDF or paper, but that’s about it.

Zapier

One workaround is to use Zapier, a web automation app.  [See my upcoming blog post on April 11.]

Outlook + Acrobat

Another approach [and my personal favorite] requires a combination of Outlook and Adobe Acrobat.  These two programs work together seamlessly, allowing the user to create searchable email portfolios that are automatically indexed and hyperlinked. When the Acrobat ribbon is installed in Outlook, you are only a few mouse clicks away from converting a single message, group of messages, or an entire folder of messages to PDF.  No need to worry about attachments, as these are automatically captured during the conversion process.  [Beware that Office 2016 requires an upgrade to Acrobat DC.]

What If Zapier, Outlook, or Acrobat Aren’t For You?

There are other options, but if you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck.  I can show you how to save client email in 5 simple steps without buying any new software.  All you need is the Mail App built into Mac OS.

Mac Users: Save Client Email in 5 Easy Steps

OK, I actually fibbed a bit.  First you need to set up your email account in Mail.  Macs are configured to help you automatically pull down email from Yahoo!, Gmail, and AOL, so this is very easy.  Your Web account stays intact.  All you’re doing is bringing your email messages into the Mail app.  Once you’ve set up Mail to pull messages down from your Web-based account, follow these five easy steps:

  1. Select the messages you wish to save [Use Command A to select all messages in a folder].
  2. Choose File, Save As.
  3. Verify the File Type is set to “RTF” [Rich Text Format].
  4. Verify that the box marked “Include Attachments” has a checkmark.
  5. Give the message string a name and save it to the desired location.

RTF [Rich Text Format] documents can be opened in Word, WordPerfect, Open Office, or any text utility [WordPad, NotePad].  This method will save your messages in a single thread which includes attachments.  The result is a searchable document that can be saved with all your other client documents.

Once the RTF file is created, you can delete the messages from Gmail, freeing up space.

Best Practices for Mac Users

IMHO, I would perform this maneuver as part of the file closing process.  Go ahead and leave messages in Gmail while your file is open.  When the work is complete, and your file is ready to close, make it part of your file closing ritual to “File, Save As” email messages to RTF.  Then delete the messages from Gmail.  This creates an integrated, complete client file.

Personally, I file as I go – an easy thing to do if you’re using Outlook+Acrobat, but I understand why lawyers prefer to leave emails in a folder while a file is open.  Many people find it easier to search email and use existing messages to send a new message. I get it.  My only caution:  If you do this, carefully review the original recipients of the message before you hit Reply All.  Clients, in particular, may have included someone else in an original email thread.  If you don’t notice this, and hit Reply All, you are sending confidential client communications to your client and someone else.

[All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2016]

[Note: no promises here that original attachment formatting will be preserved, but since most lawyers automatically save attachments as separate documents in the client file, I wouldn’t lose sleep over the fact that they aren’t perfect in appearance in your RTF email thread.]

The Year in Review – Top Posts in 2015

Thank you loyal readers!  As 2015 comes to a close, here is a look back at the year’s top posts:

Working Effectively – Time Management, Staffing

File Management – What to Keep, What Not to Keep

Marketing, Business Development, and the Attorney-Client Relationship

eCourt

Fees – Getting Paid, Finances, Credit Cards, Trust Accounting

Security

Technology – Macs, TECHSHOW, Office 2016, Windows 10, Paperless, and More

Potpourri

[All Rights Reserved 2015 – Beverly Michaelis]

Opening or Converting Old Forms – Tips for Mac Users

As Mac users know, not all legal forms are Mac-friendly (especially older forms).  For untitledexample, what if a colleague sends you a document created in Microsoft Word 97/Windows?

If you have Pages, you should be able to open a Word 97 document without a file converter. Try these steps.

If you have Microsoft Office for Mac, you can search the Download Center for a file converter, but the only one I could spot was the Microsoft Word 97, 98, and 2000 Converter for the Macintosh.  Office for Mac 2011 users report there is no converter for newer versions of office and old files created on the Windows platform do not open.  If you’re an Office user, what should you do?

  • Open the old form in Pages first, then resave it.
  • Try the Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… command.  Launch Word, select Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… browse and find the old form, click Insert.  Inserting a text file into a blank document in Word strips out formatting.  It often works better than using File > Open to access a document created in a non-compatible word processing program.
  • Ask the colleague who provided the form if he or she can resave it for you.  Options include: a newer version of Word for Windows, Word for the Mac, Rich text format (.rtf file), or PDF.  If a PDF is created electronically or scanned then OCRd, you should be able to copy and paste text from the body of the PDF into Word 2011 for the Mac or Pages.  You can also save a PDF as a Word document in Acrobat.
  • Try an online file converter, such as ZamzarOnline-ConvertCloud Convert, or Convert Files.

Final Words of Wisdom

Old forms may be “old” and not converted to a newer platform or software version for a reason – they are old and shouldn’t be used.  Before going to all this effort, be certain this is a form worth converting, meaning it is valid and still legally viable.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

 

 

Email Filing Assistants for the Mac

Are you tired of dragging messages to Inbox folders?  Try using an email filing assistant to speed up the process!

How do Email Filing Assistants (EFAs) Work?

Email filing assistants help “automate” filing of email into folders by using algorithms to learn and adapt to your email filing habits.  After you “train” the assistant for a time, filing email in the correct folder is a simple process.

Whether you are sending a message or replying to a message, the filing assistant “guesses” which folder the message belongs in.  (Accuracy rates are 80-90%).  There are no configuration wizards, no set-up, and no rules to maintain.

EFAs for Mac Users

I’ve written before about electronic filing assistants for PC/Outlook users, but what about Mac?

Option One – EFA Lite 2 or EFA 3 from Schulz

The first contender is the Email Filing Assistant from Schulz Software. The company offers a free versionEFA Lite 2 and a pro version for $6.99 – EFA 3.  Both are compatible with Apple Mail and require Mac OS X or later.  This chart explains the differences between the two versions.  EFA Lite 2 is unrated in the App Store.  EFA 3 (the pro version) has a three-star rating from 8 reviewers.

If you are tempted by EFA’s free version, check out this post from Addictive TipsEFA does not offer support or documentation, although there is an FAQ page. A few testimonials are available here.

Option Two – Msg Filer

A second option is MsgFiler.  From the outset, MsgFiler seems to be a more tried and true brand – touting a rating of 4.5 mice from Macworld and 4.5 stars from 130 reviewers on the App Store.  The testimonials are numerous.  Support appears to be more robust than EFA and the documentation section of the MsgFiler site has helpful screenshots and detailed how-tos.  The app is $9.99 in the Mac App Store, and from all appearances is well worth it.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis [2014]

 

 

 

Once You Go Mac, You Never Go Back

Macs in the law office continue to gain traction. Why you ask? Find out from the experts at the 2014 ABA TECHSHOW:

The Mac Philosophy

“Time is Money for Attorneys – You need (the) best computer that works the way you want, when you want it. That’s a #MAC” @rajuip – via @MrsMacLawyer

@rajuip: “If there is a mantra for macs – it just works” – The Business Case for Going All Mac. @jwlounsberry

IT #Secret: If you’re in a big firm, your IT guy won’t like #Mac conversion – makes their job obsolete. @rajuip @themaclawyer – via @MrsMacLawyer

RT @larryport: CIO Study cited that in one company, employees with identical titles but using Macs vs PC found Mac ppl generated 26k more $… – via @MrsMacLawyer

Built-In Backups

All #Macs come with #TimeMachine. The ability to backup can’t be done this cheap on PC. It just works. @themaclawyer & @rajuip – via @MrsMacLawyer

Files are Hard to Lose

Spotlight on a #Mac: Once something in on your Mac, it’s really hard to lose it.” @themaclawyer – via @MrsMacLawyer

Printing to PDF is Easy Peasy

Print to #PDF is built into the #Mac – Command+P+P = print to PDF automatically. @rajuip – via @MrsMacLawyer

(Use) TextSoap to clean up copied text from PDF, Web etc for #Mac per Mark Metzger @david_bilinsky

The iWork Office Suite is Free and Preloaded

#Macs now come fully loaded w/ the iWork suite of software – No add’l $ outlay for software to support the machine. #MacTrack – via @MrsMacLawyer

Go Mini

Wanna make case to switch Get a Mac Mini. It will work w/ existing PC monitor, etc It’s a #Mac & it WORKS @rajuip @themaclawyer – via @MrsMacLawyer

[All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis – 2014]