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Save a Gmail message to hard disk

5 September 2012, by Berwyn    5 comments

Often you want to save a formatted Gmail message to your hard disk.  Maybe it’s a license key or some design documentation that you want to save in version control.  You can print the whole conversation as a pdf, but not just one message.  And .html would be better than pdf.  Well, here’s how.

As you know, you can already save a plain-text message by selecting “show original” from the drop-down menu in the top-right of the email.  But it can look really ugly if it is an html message displayed in plain-text format.

And here’s the secret.  Once you get your “show original” window up, your address bar will contain something like this: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=1234567890&view=om&th=1234abcd1234abcd

Just change the bit that says “view=om&th” to “view=lg&msg”.  Push <Enter>, and Bingo: it’s no longer plain text.  Now save it as .html or as pdf.

Alternatively, below is a bookmarklet that achieves the same thing. To use it, just drag the link below to your bookmarks bar. Then when you want to see the message as HTML, view the original, then click your “Gmail Original as HTML” bookmark button:

Gmail Original as HTML

Sometimes it’s the little things …

5 comments and pings (oldest first)

Bryan Hoyt 5 Sep 2012, 17:00 link

That’s quite useful, good writeup. I’ve been using “show original” and saving as a .eml file (which Thunderbird opens in a reasonably standalone way without needing to be your whole email client).

steve 12 Oct 2012, 01:17 link

Terrific, thanks very much. I’ve had to wade through a lot of “fud” to find this information. Hopefully some feedback will help to make it more visible on Google search. I’m just surprised that Google don’t make it easier to save an e-mail, such as a “Save” button. Thanks, Steve.

Berwyn 21 Mar 2013, 20:19 link

Actually, I just discovered that if you click ‘print’ for that particular message, and then press before you print, you get the message in the same format on your screen — that you can save as .html

derry 18 Sep 2013, 10:45 link

Great tip, but is there a way to automate this so that you can save lots of email as html?

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