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How to Import Copies of Emails

May 30, 2023 — Jim Neumann
Screenshot showing replicated emails in DEVONthink.

Users of the Pro or Server edition of DEVONthink can archive email into their databases. But per database, only one copy of any message. This may sound unproblematic at first, but can lead to complications if an email exists in multiple copies in an email account, e.g., in multiple mailboxes. Here is why and how you easily get around it.

Perhaps you already know that each item in a DEVONthink database has a unique identifier (UUID). An imported email gets its UUID from its unique message identifier. If you try to import an email twice into the same database, you will see an error logged that the UUID already exists in the database. This means only one copy of an email will be imported into a database and can unexpectedly produce empty groups for some of your mailboxes.

There can be a few reasons why you might have more than one copy of an email in your email app. Two common ones are:

  • You are using mail rules or manually copied messages into other mailboxes.
  • If you use Gmail’s labels. The labels are treated as separate mailboxes, essentially copying the emails into them.

Fortunately, DEVONthink does provide a way to import those copies and mailboxes. In DEVONthink’s Settings > Files > Emails, enable the Messages: Previously imported become replicants. When you archive mailboxes, any copied emails will be converted into replicants. Now you’ll see the mailboxes as you do in your email client.

If you want to get a fresh start, move the currently imported emails to the database’s trash and empty it. Then archive your mailboxes afresh.

Note: If you’re not using Microsoft’s New Outlook interface, the preference setting discussed here will also work when archiving mailboxes from Outlook via DEVONthink’s View > Import sidebar. You can learn more about this in our FAQ.