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Managing Outlook Attachments

Problem: 25,000 Incoming Faxes per Month – Find a Better Way for Managing Outlook Attachments

What a minute, I thought you said 25,000 Incoming Faxes… What does that have to do with managing Outlook Attachments?

Outlook AttachmentsThat’s exactly what one our small business clients asked us recently.  They have 25,000 incoming faxes per month.  Their fax servers have been in overdrive for several years, as have the shredders because the data entry is accomplished in a matter of minutes and then — at that point — the faxes have come to the end of their useful life.  So, the problem is how to get faxes into the modern office computer network without filling up Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, or Office 365 Inboxes.  Even with 25 GB per user, this many faxes will fill up an Inbox pretty quickly.  And anyway, it takes too long to open up each e-mail separately in order to open up the attachments.  What if there was a way to have the faxes be stored in a folder on the server, a.k.a., a Network Share.  Hmmm…

First of all, we need an Online Fax Service, that receives faxes as if they were e-mails, with the actual fax document being a .pdf attachment to the e-mail.  And, of course, in this case at least; it needs to be HIPAA compliant.

Okay, let’s start out with Interfax, for the Online Fax solution.  It will convert all incoming faxes to e-mails.  Next, lets get those e-mails into an Office 365 mailbox, with 25 GB of storage.  Finally, since there isn’t an out-of-the-box Inbox Rule to save-off attachments to a network share, let’s purchase EZDetach to automatically save the .pdf attachments (faxed documents) into a specified folder on your network.  Nice.  So, how does it all work?

Here is how it works if you wanted to save-off every email attachment that comes into a specific e-mail address.  A good example is if a company uses an online fax service that delivers faxes to an email address.  Rather than open each email then each attachment you use EZDetach to strip off the attachment when it comes in so it can be managed quicker and more efficiently.  Additionally you no longer need to delegate access to multiple users to open a central mailbox to download documents, faxes, or contracts

  1. Install EZDetach on the computer you are running Microsoft Outlook
  2. Open outlook and create a rule, starting from a message I receive (See Figure 1)
Create an Outlook Inbox Rule
Figure 1 – Create an Office Inbox Rule

Note that the highlighted “apply rule on messages I receive” is selected; click next

You do not have to select a condition if you want the rule to be active on all messages coming in.  (See Figure 2)

Inbox Rule Conditions
Figure 2 – Inbox Rule Conditions


Select “Yes” at this warning. (See Figure 3)

Inbox Rule will be applied to every message
Figure 3

On the next page scroll down until you see the ‘perform a custom action and put a checkbox next to it.  (See Figure 4)

Perform a Custom Action
Figure 4

On that page click on the hyperlink in step 2 ‘a custom action’ another window will open.  (See Figure 5)

Select Custom Action - EZDetach
Figure 5

In the dropdown choose EZDetach as shown in this screen shot. Then click on the Change button for action value and another window will open.  (See Figure 6)

Save Outlook Attachments
Figure 6

Here you select the browse button under destination folder and navigate to the folder you want the attachments in. If you want to filter the attachments that get saved to this location you would click the filter button on the top of this page like this. In this example I am only going to extract PDF files from emails that come in.  (See Figure 7)

Saving off .pdf document Outlook Attachments
Figure 7

Click on OK then click the OK button under the folder location you set earlier and OK on the Select custom action window. Then click next two times on the outlook rule wizard.

On the last page of the outlook rule wizard make sure ‘Turn on this rule’ box is checked and click finish.  (See Figure 8)

Assign a Name for Inbox Rule
Figure 8

Now when you get PDF attachments via email the attachment will be automatically saved to the location you specified.  (See Figure 9)

Saving Outlook Attachments to Network Share
Figure 9

To Review, companies needing to have an unattended email mailbox that receives a lot of attachments or users who save a large number of email attachments there is a tool that is very inexpensive that can send your attachment manually or automatically to a shared network location, drop box, or SkyDrive folder with little or no effort.

Several things this third-party software can help you do is:

  • Improve productivity and save hours managing Outlook attachments
  • Reduce mailbox and PST size
  • Speed up Outlook by reducing your PST or mailbox size
  • Organize attachments in file system folders for easy access and sharing
  • Automatically save attachments with Outlook Rules
  • Retrieve important documents from an employee’s mailbox without opening every attachment
  • Automatically print attachments

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