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How to forward an e-mail as an attachment

Date added: 2013-01-21 19:42:41
Platform: Multi Platform
Tested on: Windows7 & Fedora 17

In my line of work as an anti-spam activist, I analyse a lot of e-mails. In order to analyse an e-mail that was originally sent to someone else, you need to receive that e-mail as an attachment (not inline). When you forward an e-mail inline, you loose a lot of information, for example the whole e-mail header, which is virtually the most important part of the e-mail when you want to determine where it really came from. The body of the e-mail also gets distorted if the e-mail client can't render HTML properly (or even worse if it can't render HTML at all). A lot of people have no idea how to send an e-mail as an attachment, so I thought it will be a good idea to write a quick how-to guide for the most popular e-mail clients and web based e-mail services.



Gmail does not really have a way of forwarding an e-mail as an attachment, but if you really need to do this from Gmail, follow these steps:

  1. Open the e-mail you want to forward as an attachment.
  2. Click on the small arrow, next to the Reply button.
  3. Click on Show Original (highlighted by the red rectangle in the illustration below)

    Gmail Show Original

  4. Copy the text and paste it into a text editor like Notepad or Word.
  5. Save the file, for example on you desktop.
  6. Compose a new e-mail in Gmail, attach the file and send it.

Yahoo! Mail

Forwarding an e-mail in Yahoo! is really easy, but it is not that obvious, as a matter of fact, I'm not really sure whether Yahoo! explains this procedure anywhere in their support documentation. Anyway, follow these steps to forward an e-mail as an attachment in Yahoo! Mail:

  1. Select the message you want to forward, by clicking the check box to the left of the message (as illustrated below).

    Yahoo! Mail Forward as Attachment

    Tip: You can also send multiple e-mails as an attachment by checking multiple e-mails and not just one.

  2. Press Shif+Alt+F (simultaneously).
  3. It will automatically compose a new message with the selected e-mail(s) added as an attachment. So just add an e-mail address and send.

Windows Live Mail / Hotmail

This works basically the same as with Gmail. I am not sure who copied from whom, but follow these steps:

  1. Follow steps 1 & 2 of the Gmail guide above.
  2. Click on View Message Source (as illustrated below)

    Windows Live Mail - View Message Source

  3. Follow steps 4 - 6 of the Gmail guide above.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Forwarding an e-mail as an attachment is perhaps the easiest with Mozilla Thunderbird, so I highly recommend you install and use Thunderbird as your primary e-mail client. One great advantage of using an e-mail client is that you can download e-mails from several accounts and have access to them in one central location. To forward an e-mail as an attachment in Mozilla Thunderbird, do the following:

  1. Select the message you wish to forward (or you may select several messages)
  2. Click on Message-->Forward As-->Attachment
  3. Enter an e-mail address and send.

Microsoft Outlook

Forwarding an e-mail as an attachment in Microsoft Outlook is also child's play:

  1. Select the message (or messages) you want to forward as an attachment.
  2. In the Respond button group, on the message tool bar, click on More (next to Forward) and click on Forward as Attachment, as illustrated below:

    Microsoft Outlook Forward as Attachment

    Tip: Instead of using the tool bar, select your message(s) and press Ctrl+Alt+F (simultaneously)

  3. Enter an e-mail address and send.

If you would like to know how to forward an e-mail as an attachment using an e-mail client or webmail service not listed here, feel free to contact me at any time and I will do my best to find out how.

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