Referencing Mail Threads

For work I create a lot of notes about projects, knowledge and things happening to stay organized and be able to report status. We are having a lot of mail traffic, which I have been trying to efficiently store inside the notes or reference somehow.

Some nights ago an idea came to my mind, which I’m currently trying to establish and try out.

In every relevant mail I sent or reply to, I add a small unique ID in the subject, which I than mention in my notes. With that ID I can quickly find mail threads and also the other way, find my notes which mention the ID.

E.g. subject: “an example subject - df29b160”.

The ID is the first part of a globally unique ID (UUID) generated by when you search for uuid. uuid at DuckDuckGo

What do you think? Are there any better options, besides copying mail content into notes?

Have a nice weekend, Stefan


I’m a newbie using the program but it sounds like Obsidian would be an ideal tool for your notes and UUIDs.

Sounds like a good solution, using the IDs you’re generating. If I were doing this, I would use a date and time-based ID. UUIDs carry no information in themselves, but an ID such as 20210514-1559-S reveals the date and time you sent (-S) or replied (-R). I use Airmail, when can narrow down message to the date and time, which can be helpful in showing what other messages occurred around the same time.

You might find that you can search effectively by putting the ID in a footer in the message rather than the subject. I know that many people I work with would be put off a bit by tracker IDs in subject lines.

You didn’t ask for suggestions on note taking software, but, personally, I wouldn’t bother with fiddling with Obsidian for this case. You want to make the process smoother, so use software that supports Mac services or Extensions. That way you can record the email quickly in another program alongside the notes. Obsidian is an island and does not support integration via Services and Extensions.

This also is a case that would lend itself to support via Keyboard Maestro – but, again, that would lead you off into fiddly-land wasting time to set up the automation.

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I‘m using Obsedian privately already & really like it. For work we are using confluence and additionally markdown files.

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I need to use Windows at work.

Thanks for the suggestion of using timestamp and additional information as Id and also putting it in the footer.

I thought some people might not include the last mails when they reply so I went with the subject. And yes I got already questions about the Id, so privacy concerns could occur. Maybe the readable timestamp based ID can also solve that.

You’d have to ensure uniqueness yourself, but you could base64 encode the subject and use that for your own lookup and then not have to leak to people you’re sending emails to your organization system also using ddg YW4gZXhhbXBsZSBzdWJqZWN0 == “an example subject”

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That’s good :blush:
But I would always need to decode / encode when searching. Need to think about that… thanks!

You could setup a keyboard shortcuts for converting to and from base64 either for selected text or clipboard. Not sure what program that would be on windows but I’m certain it’s possible.

Edit: I’ve heard good things about

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Just today I dug out my old Mailbutler subscription to use one feature (among several it offers) — the ability to attach a note to an email message. Not sure if that satisfies what you’re looking for, as it seems to work in the reverse direction from how you want, but it works with Apple Mail, Gmail, and Outlook/Office 365. I presume that means Outlook/Office 365 desktop apps on Windows, too, but I haven’t tried it there.