Batch printing PDF files from an Email Archive in Acrobat X

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I can always tell when a particular capability of Acrobat is hitting the main-stream; that’s when the really good questions start coming in. Creating email archives using Acrobat has hit the main-stream.

You can use PDFMaker to archive individual, selected, or entire folders of Microsoft Outlook email messages to a PDF Portfolio. Within the PDF Portfolio, each email message appears as a separate PDF file along with any attachments in their original format. This is a great way to archive and store email messages at the end of a project or just keep information handy without clogging up your .PST file. If you need to print out an individual message, that’s pretty easy, just click the print button on the toolbar.

Recently, the complaint/question came in where a user wasn’t able to print all of the messages in the archive. On the surface, it does seem impossible… unless you understand that the email archive is built on top of our PDF Portfolio technology.

How to Batch Printing PDF files from an Email Archive in Acrobat X

As I mentioned, the key to understanding how email archives work is to understand how PDF Portfolios work. Printing files in a PDF Portfolio was designed to be completely intuitive. If you’re looking at a file and want to print it, click the print button; it prints. If you want to print more than one, open the MiniNav tray, select the ones you want to print using the shift key to multiply-select and hit print; they print. In the list view, select multiple files, hit print, they print.

But…the difference between a PDF Portfolio and an email archive… and basically the source of all the trouble with printing multiple files is precisely what makes the email archive so attractive as an archive solution; the Preview pane.

Introducing the splitter – The splitter is the horizontal line between the list of files and the preview pane that shows the PDF file. As long as the preview pane is showing a PDF file, you’ll only be able to print that particular PDF file. The presence of a file in the preview pane means at least one PDF file is selected in the list above it.

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While a PDF file is showing in the Preview pane, Acrobat assumes you only want to be working with that specific file. When you have no files selected, it assumes that all operations apply to the entire Portfolio. In order to get the option to print all PDF files in the archive, you cannot have a PDF file selected in the list of files. However, unless you have just a few files in your archive, it may not readily apparent how to do that.

The trick is to hide the Preview pane; you do this by removing the splitter. In the menu bar, select Window > Remove Split. Now find an empty row in the table and click on it so that no files in the list are highlighted.

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Now you can print all the files in the list. Optionally, you can select just a few files that need to be printed and then you’ll have the option to print the selected files.

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You can get the splitter back by selecting Window > Split Horizontal, the split will return to the position you last left it in.

I hope this helps clear things up.