How to Clean up Emails Before Forwarding Them

Forwarded emails are often filled with unnecessary characters

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When an email has been forwarded multiple times, it often collects unnecessary words, characters, and email addresses that are no longer needed and that should be cleaned up before sending it off once more.

Before emailing that message to your own contacts, consider following this simple email etiquette for the sake of your recipients.

How to Clean up Forwarded Emails

Follow these tips to quickly make a forwarded email more presentable:

Remove Unnecessary Email Addresses

When an email is forwarded as-is without any editing beforehand, the recipient can see the email addresses that the original message was sent to.

This might be helpful in some cases where you want the new recipient to see who has seen the email or when the original was sent, but it usually is not a good idea to keep all of them. This is especially true when few if any of the other recipients actually added any information to the email.

Comb through the message and delete any headings that include the other email addresses that the message was sent to.

Delete Forward-Related Markers

After an email has been forwarded a few times, the Subject field and body might collect one or more ">" characters, or even whole words like "forward this," "FWD," or "FWDed." It's a good idea to remove these to declutter the overall message.

In fact, keeping these characters can make the recipient think that the message is spam or that you didn't care enough about the email to remove these leftover characters.

Consider the Text Color and Size

It's extremely common for forwarded emails to carry the same style, which is usually text of varying sizes and more than one color. This is often hard to read and can quickly force a recipient to dismiss the entire message as spam.

Try to adjust the email to make it easier to read.

Write Near the Top of the Message

Any comments you want to add to the forwarded email should be placed at the very top of the email so that the recipient can clearly see your remarks first.

You might write about what the email is about or why you're forwarding it, but no matter what your reason is, it should be clearly seen at the top, else the recipient won't see it until they've already read through the whole message.

The last thing you want is for your comments to be mixed in and misinterpreted for the text in the original message.

Alternatives to Regular Forwarding

One alternative to forwarding a message is to save the email to a file and then attach the message as an email attachment. Some email clients have a button for this, like Microsoft Outlook. For others, try downloading the email as a file, like an EML or MSG file, and then sending it off as a regular file attachment.

Another option is to just copy the original text and then paste it as plain text to avoid copying any odd formatting styles or out-of-place colors. Also, be sure to put the forwarded text in quotes so that the new recipient can clearly see which part of the email is not from you.