Free macros clean Outlook email Subject text

Over a year ago I posted some freeware for Microsoft Outlook which eliminates junk out of email Subject lines. It really helps when searching and sorting. I update it periodically and post the changes for whomever is interested. I just made a number of small changes recently, so I decided to tell you a little about it here and point you to the latest update.

In short, I have a series of macro functions that collaborate to clean up the Subject text. Here is a brief summary of some of the features:

  • People tell their anti-spam software to modify their email Subject text so that they can easily see mail that has a high possibility of being spam. I don’t want to see the warnings when I know the mail is good, so I remove the following text:  **SPAM**, [SPAM], Spamslayer Alerts, SPAM-LOW warnings, Baeysian Filter warning … and others.
  • In the U2 forum people use notation like [uv] for Universe, [UD] for Unidata, and/or [U2] to tell us a post is about U2. We’ll in a U2 forum I don’t really need to know that text is about U2. I’ve left those codes in, but when someone says [U2][UV], I hack out the unnecessary [U2] code. If someone has UV and UD then I summarize it to U2.
  • Some people code advertisements as [ad] or [adv]. These are all converted to [AD]. Some people surround their ad subjects with [adv] … [/adv]. These are converted as well.
  • Note the casing for [ad], [u2], [uv], etc is all converted to Upper case.
  • When a subject is flagged as being [OT] and [U2], it seems to me it’s not about U2 if it’s off-topic, so I remove the U2, UV, or UD codes.
  • Multiple RE: codes are removed, sometimes even when they’re not together, like RE: [OT] RE: [UV], and also RE[2].
  • When we see [U2] RE: this is replaced with RE: [U2] to standardize responses.

There are some other annoyances that get removed, sometimes these come up in individual threads and never come back:

  • The "Unclassified" text that gets inserted for military installations.
  • Preceding "Memo:" notes.
  • Spaces in the spelling of "New Zealand" are removed, as in  "N ew Z" or "Zealan d".
  • The text "COMMIT/RO…" was fixed back to "COMMIT/ROLLBACK".
  • Warnings about different SMTP TO: and MIME TO: fields were removed.

Many more changes are made, described in code comments and easily visible in the code itself. When the process is done with its conversion, extra spaces are removed, and then the process repeats itself to ensure some unusual ordering of text wasn’t missed.

To simplify use, I have instructions in the macro comments for creating a toolbar button. Select any one mail item or even a large group of them, click the button, and they all get zapped. Don’t know if you trust such a beast? Create a new folder, copy your items there, then run this filter on the test items. If you like the results, move the originals to a temporary archive and replace them with your converted items. After the first couple of times you do this I’m sure you’ll feel comfortable enough with the code to just click the button on your current mail items.

I’ll continue to modfy this macro as I see the need – just look at the long list of comments in the code to see the changes. I’ll post a note to a couple forums occasionally to announce updates when it seems reasonable. I’ll also add a comment to this article when updates are made – people who use RSS will get immediate notification.

You can get the macros here. The latest file is:
Prior versions are there just in case someone wants to downgrade – which has never happened.

Please contact Nebula R&D for custom development which integrates MV DBMS business applications with Outlook. Examples include:

  • Updating Exchange Server Calendars with Appointments from MV data
  • Sync of Outlook Contacts with the DBMS
  • Update LastContactDate in customer records when Sales or Support get emails
  • Updating Journals with current OnHand data, and pricing
  • Creating Tasks for field people to follow-up on orders or invoices

As always, if you have any comments, questions, or requests for enhancements to these macros, please feel free to e-mail.

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