Edit the Subject of a Received Email in Windows Live Mail

The email Subjects people use are not always perfectly helpful.

Sometimes, people change the subject in an ongoing discussion, and if you sort by Subject in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express what belongs together is separated. Sometimes, a smart program puts the same Subject in every email it sends, whatever the message's content may be. Sometimes, the Subject just says "IMPORTANT" (which is not the important part of the message).

In such cases editing the Subject of a received message can be very helpful. Unfortunately, you can't do that editing in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Outlook Express directly. But, fortunately, there's a workaround.

Edit the Subject of a Received Email in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express

To edit the subject line (and, by extension, any other part including the body) of a received email in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  • Save the message as an .eml file on your Desktop.
    • Simply drag the message from its Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express folder to your Desktop and drop it there.
  • Open the .eml file in a plain text editor such as Notepad.
    • Launch Notepad.
    • Drag the .eml file from your Desktop over the Notepad window.
    • Drop the file.
  • Search for a line near the top of the file starting with "Subject: ". This is the email's Subject.
  • Edit the text following "Subject: " as you like.
    • Make sure the "Subject: " at the beginning of the line remains intact.
  • Leave the rest of the .eml file unchanged.
  • Save it and close Notepad.
  • Drag the (now Subject-edited) .eml file from your Desktop back to the Windows Mail or Outlook Express folder and drop it there.
    • A copy of the original message, but with your edited Subject appears.
  • Now you can delete the original message and just keep the copy with the Subject-as-you-like-it in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.
  • Finally, delete the .eml file from your Desktop.