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RE: Increased functionality saving email attachments with ndMail

Our firm has come across some ongoing issues with respect to saving email attachments in NetDocs. We feel that these issues are more general and not just highly specific to the operations of our firm, so we thought we would post here to see if others have been running into similar problems. In general, we are just looking for a greater level of functionality and a more consistent user experience with respect to saving attachments from emails to NetDocs.

 

First, we noticed that ndMail does not really have anything in the way of an attachment filing/editing system for saving attachments, similar to ndOffice’s ndSave feature. By default, ndMail suppresses the ndSave feature, so after installing ndMail, we immediately had to backtrack and un-suppress this feature in order to continue using it. Which leads to the question, why is there not similar functionality incorporated into ndMail?

 

When we receive an email with attachments that need to be filed to NetDocs, our current options lead to different results based on user filing preferences:

 

  1. File the email and attachments to NetDocs using ndSave (which is part of ndOffice): with this option, we can edit the attachment names, save the attachments to multiple locations, and save the email itself, if desired. However, this option does not have the benefit of ndMail’s global filing indicator (the green checkbox) or the “view in ND” option for saved emails, which leads to confusion when some emails are filed using ndMail and some using ndOffice (users often have to double check to make sure items are actually in NetDocs already).

 

  1. File the email using ndMail’s predictive filing panel: the suggested locations are great as in initial time saver with this option, but there is no support for saving attachments separately using this option. So our users can backtrack and utilize ndSave to process the email attachments after the email itself has been saved using ndMail, but that isn’t exactly a convenient or time saving process. Users can also select the drop-down list next to the attachments themselves and save them to NetDocs that way. However, this only works for a single document at a time, which again, is not convenient or fast enough as a filing method for emails with many attachments.

 

If users choose option A (ndSave) to file all of their emails to NetDocs, the emails will be saved as MSG files. If our users choose option B (ndMail), the emails will be saved as EML files. This is very important considering that NetDocs email de-duplication feature ONLY works if NetDocs identifies an exact match across an array of metadata for a given email, including the file type. So NetDocs will not be able to catch/de-duplicate the same email if one user chooses Option A to upload it and the other chooses Option B, which has been an ongoing problem. It would be better if ndMail, the newer and most promoted email filing service for NetDocs, included something similar to ndOffice’s ndSave. 

 

Second, we believe there should be some functionality that would help prevent multiple users from saving the same email attachments to NetDocs multiple times, similar to the email de-duplication feature. Again, we don’t think this problem is unique to our firm. Our feeling is that if the same email with attachments is sent to a team of three attorneys and three assistants, there should be a way to prevent those attachments from being saved to NetDocs multiple times. Ideally, while it would be great if all three attorneys and all three assistants had time to coordinate amongst each other and verify if specific attachments had already been uploaded to NetDocs prior to saving them, in practice this isn’t always possible. Searching for and locating specific documents amongst the thousands already in NetDocs is not always a fast process. As one idea, when a user attempts to file attachments, there could be a prompt that alerts the user that the attachments are already in NetDocs and provides a “view in ND” option along with this prompt that would allow a user to verify that each attachment made it to the correct location in NetDocs. This might be achievable by linking the original email’s unique document ID to the metadata of any attachments that are associated with that email. So, when a user attempts to file attachments for that email, they could see something like “[user_id] saved this attachment to ND on 4/1/19. Would you like to save it anyway or would you like to view the item in ND?”.

 

It would also be great if, along with this attachment de-duplication feature, there was additional information pertaining to attachments displayed in the “Profile Details” pane. For example, alongside the list of attachments in the Profile Details pane, there could be some confirmation that the attachment has been saved to NetDocs, such as the NetDocs location, the document ID, or some other general indicator that the attachment has been processed into NetDocs. Along the same line of thought, it would also be nice if ndMail offered similar information within the Outlook interface, similar to the global filing indicator, but specifically for the email’s attachments.

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Good one Daniel.

A thoughtful and insightful request and I endorse it, my customers would benefit from all of these.

+1 from me.

 

 

1 vote
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While I don't work much with ndMail, I can offer some insight into the ndOffice questions you raise.

1) ndMail does turn off part of the ndOffice functionality, but you can still save, you just don't get ndOffice's suggested locations.

2) ndOffice 2.5 (now in beta and shipping on April 26) does set the GFI.

3) Dedup in ndOffice does not look at eml vs msg, so emails filed with ndMail do indeed get de-dupped by ndOffice. ndMail uses the Message ID, which I believe we started adding some time ago in ndOffice to imrpove de-dup there.

4) ndOffice can in fact save as EML by switching  either of these options:

1 vote
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Thank you for your response.

1) I guess the point here is that there should probably be a single filing method that works for all components of an email, rather than having to use features of both ndOffice and ndMail separately to save both the email message and its attachments.

 

2) Glad to hear about this, thank you.

 

3) I'm confused by your response here. I opened a support ticket a few weeks ago after noticing hundreds upon hundreds of duplicated emails in various NetDocs matters. The NetDocs support person I worked with determined the problem was that some of the emails were uploaded using ndOffice as MSG files, while others were uploaded using ndMail as EML files. The support person concluded "You are correct that de-duplication is not catching these emails due to the file extension. It requires a 100% match, including file type in order to match".

 

Further, you can test this pretty easily. First upload an email to NetDocs using ndMail. Then, drag the same email to a local spot on your computer and upload it to NetDocs. Every time I do this, both copies of the email are uploaded/are not de-duplicated. One copy has an MSG file type, and one has an EML file type. 

 

4) Saving as an EML file in this way also breaks de-duplication and does not work well for emails with attachments. 


Test: Upload an email (that has attachments) using ndMail. It will be saved as an EML file. Then, upload the same email using the method in your screenshot. It will also be saved as an EML file. However, it will be saved without the attachments; only the message itself will be displayed in NetDocs. It is very important to see which attachments are included with a given email, so that is not ideal. Further, this adds yet another copy of the same email in NetDocs that fails to be de-duplicated. If you take a look at the screenshot below, you'll see the same email repeated three times. The only difference between these three emails is the upload method. The first email was uploaded using the method in your screenshot. You can see that it does not have the paperclip attachments icon, even though the original email did in fact have attachments. The second message was uploaded by dragging the email to a local spot on my computer and then uploading to NetDocs (as would be common for uploading large batches of historical emails for a given matter). The third email was uploaded using ndMail. Again, they are all the same email, but NetDocs does not treat them as such.

2 votes
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I have a post in the idea bank called "ndMail Change: Make ndMail save as .msg like ndOffice does, not .eml" as we do not appreciate how ndMail changes the native format of our Outlook messages to .eml. It causes us several problems with the default program set to open .eml and saved searches we had for only .msg files. I didn't realize it was causing the duplication issues as well. Please just make ndMail and ndOffice save the same, as .msg files as they are both Outlook addons, and Outlook's native format is .msg not .eml.

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@daniel

I learned a few things.

  1. ndOffice does not in fact perform dedup searches when filing eml's. I'm entering a request for this with your firm's name on it.
  2. If you file an eml in ndMail, and later try to file it with ndOffice as an MSG, ndOffice will detect there is a duplicate and not re-file. ndOffice doesn't care if it's already there as an msg or eml -- we don't look at the extension. This is at least true in 2.5.
  3. I was able to duplicate your steps of uploading from the desktop. I will report that issue. That dedup method was written long before ndMail (or ndOffice), but needs to be addressed.

@Christopher

ndMail files from Exchange. MSG is not a format in Exchange, it's only a format in Outlook. We cannot change ndMail to file using the MSG. For that you need to use ndOffice.

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Great insight -- really happy I read this BEFORE our firm goes to ndMail.  There would be a number of unhappy legal assistants based on the above information.  Please keep us posted on the updates for this -- there needs to be a consistent way to file the emails -- our office files the entire email (with attachment) and then files the attachment (usually a pleading from PacerPro) into its respective Doctype, etc.  This is standard protocol throughout the firm.  Having to go somewhere else to save multiple attachments will create frustration for sure.  Also, if someone does use ndSave it would be great if it shows up through the ndMail process.  

Thank you.  

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Daniel, 

Thank you for your input here. I think we may make better headway via a more formal discussion about some of these points. There are a number of things you've suggested here so this IdeaBank forum doesn't provide an easy way to tease them apart and provide feedback when one is implemented. For instance, your comment about ndOffice not setting the Global Filing Indicator should be updated now that this functionality is included in ndOffice 2.5. But we can't mark this "Idea" as complete because there are a number of other thoughts and suggestions in here. Some of the other points about msg vs. eml don't seem to be what I'm seeing here so I want to understand them better.

I'll reach out to you via email so I can understand these items better. Some of them sound merely like configuration or training items while others sound like they could be bugs but we'd have to troubleshoot them properly while still others appear to be feature requests. 

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