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Tom Briant

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saving a message in Apple Mail as an RTF or PDF file for later reference

Apple Mail offers you at least two ways to save a mail message in a format you can refer to later. You would want to save the activation codes for purchased apps on your own Mac rather than rely on cloud storage. 

But how can  you do this, other than copy and paste the message into a word processor or take a screenshot? Well, Apple Mail has this capability baked right in.

In Snow Leopard 10.6.2 and in later versions, you can save a message in Rich Text Format (.rtf), plain text format (.txt), or in the raw message format of .eml. 

You start with Mail’s File Menu and go to Save  As...


Save Options in Mail for Snow Leopard

You also have the options through the Print menu of printing a hardcopy of the message or saving it as a PDF.


But back to the Save As… command.  When you select the Save As…command, you get a File Dialogue box with these options:


Save As Options in Mail In Snow Leopard



The default format is Rich Text Format, which preserves the style and format of the message, along with any links. Plain text would just save the message as, well, plain text. Saving the message in its Raw Message Source is when you want to archive the message to open with another mail program.

In the example above, clicking on Save puts the message about using  Google Forms in Rich Text Format in my /User/thomasbriant folder

As for saving in PDF format, in Snow Leopard 10.6, you would use the Print command or hit Command + P to bring it up. You have several options available.


Print to PDF in Mail In Snow Leopard



As I have written before, you can edit the PDF menu to add your own folders. You might want to add one for activations codes for purchased apps.

What about Mavericks?

in 10.9 Mavericks, you don’t have to go through the Print menu to reach PDFs. Now you can select Export to PDF… directly from the File menu. 

Save Mail as PDF in Mavericks

 Of course, you still have the Save As… option and you can still go through the Print… menu to save in PDF format or create a hardcopy. 


 Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog






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