How to Clean Up Emails Before Forwarding Them

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Forwarding emails is a great way of sharing ideas. Good ideas will hopefully be shared a lot.

If you are at the end of such a sharing chain, you'll quickly see why cleaning up emails before forwarding them is essential: messages that have been forwarded multiple times often contain '>' and other quotation characters in all the wrong places, lines are broken in even worse places, and email addresses of people you don't want to know are everywhere.

Clean Up Emails Before Forwarding Them

Cleaning up such a mess can be cumbersome, but keeping an email clean that you forward initially is easy.

  • First, make sure you're sharing the email, not the addresses in it by removing all addresses from the forwarded message.
    • Of course, there are exceptions. In particular, when the list of who participated in a discussion is an important part of the information you are forwarding, it makes no sense to remove the addresses.
  • Then, clean up the message itself if it contains unnecessary '>' characters or messed up line breaks. Email cleanup utilities can do this nasty work for you.
  • Place any comments you have after or (preferably) before the forwarded message, but try to avoid mixing forwarded text and comments.

Another Clean Forwarding Option: Attaching Emails

Alternatively, forwarding emails as attachments is an easy and clean way to share them.