Presenting, printing or filing an email correspondence in date order

The Challenge

Do you need to present, print or file an email correspondence, or chain, in chronological order? It should include all or selected email messages exchanged between two or more people and read in date order, as they were written. You may need to present it as a paper print-out or as one or more computer files, or include it in other documentation (such as e-bundles ).

You may need to present the result in evidence to a court or a tribunal, or you may just want a clear record of the correspondence for a range of other purposes, such as responding to a Subject Access Request made under UK GDPR/Data Protection Act where email messages need to be included.

The task sounds straightforward but it is not. There are a number of problems to be solved.

Problem 1: Appended messages

A single email may have all the previous messages in the conversation appended to it (added at the end). If you have all the other relevant emails then you may want to discard the appended messages and work just with the current message of each email.

Problem 2: Reverse order

If, on the other hand, you need to include an email with all its appended messages then the most recent message is first and the original one is last. This makes it very difficult to follow the narrative of the exchange of messages.

Problem 3: Duplicate messages

The messages you need may be spread across more than one email. This happens when someone sends a reply that is either a brand new email or a reply to an email that is not the latest. As soon as you start to consider multiple emails there is almost certain to be duplication in the appended messages.

Problem 4: Navigation

You will need to give the reader an overview of the contents and a means of finding individual messages. The problem is to compile a contents page. For documents to be read on-screen this should included hyperlinks and bookmarks so the reader can jump straight to a particular message and back to the contents page.

Problem 5: Flexibility

In many cases your record of an email conversation will not stand alone but it will be part of a larger dossier, or bundle. The problem here is to create the record in such a way that it can be easily incorporated into other documents with Bookmarks intact. See e-bundles.

Problem 6: Finding the emails

The emails concerned may be in your inbox or a special folder. However, if they are spread across your system in a variety of folders including Sent and Deleted items then the problem is to assemble them so you can work on them together.

Problem 7: Attachments

Do attachments need to be included in printed documents? For on-screen documents is a link to open the attachments sufficient? A particular problem occurs when attachments with the same name go back and forth in the correspondence with the same name but they are not the same file, perhaps an original document then copies with revisions.

The Solution

Print for Trial is an add-in for Microsoft Outlook that can do this for you.


  • PfT can process one or many emails together.
  • From PfT 3 you can either discard all the appended messages (in order to work with just the main message of each email) or separate them and present them in chronological order, discarding duplicates.
  • PfT allows you to select only messages from particular senders and select or de-select particular messages and attachments
  • PfT can send your output to a printer or present it as an HTML, Word or PDF document.
  • Alternatively, PfT can create the output with a separate file for each message with meaningful filenames and bookmarks to allow integration with other documents.
  • PfT can compile a cover page with a list of messages and a user-defined title and introduction. The list of messages can be saved in CSV format to be used as the basis of further customisation.
  • PfT can create Hyperlinks and Bookmarks to enable jumping to individual messages and back. The bookmarks are still available when the PfT output is included in larger documents.
  • From PfT 3 integration with Outlook’s Search feature means you can search for items in any folder and then use PfT to process the results. This means you can easily include items in the Inbox, Sent, and Deleted folders.

Print for Trial will not only save you time but present the evidence you need in a professional manner.

See How to use PfT