[OT] Printing Conversations from GmailI

Tommy Trussell tommy.trussell at gmail.com
Tue Sep 29 17:07:10 UTC 2015

On Tue, Sep 22, 2015 at 2:28 PM, Amichai Rotman <amichai at iglu.org.il> wrote:

> Hi Ya'all,
> I know this isn't quite on topic of the Ubuntu OS, but I need your
> advice...
> I use Gmai's Web interface to write emails/ Some of them to my girl. Some
> of them are loove letters...
> I'd like to surprise her for our Five Year Anniversary with a scrap book
> of all our mail correspondence - chronologically organized and beautifully
> printed.
> I want to export it to file (say, PDF?) and then cut'N'paste to a template.
> I can't figure out how to get the first stage - getting a file with a
> clear timeline of the emails...
> Is there an easy way to do it?

I won't necessarily call it EASY, but without installing any exotic
software, here's a procedure you might try:

1) Open one email message you want to print in Gmail (using your preferred
web browser).

2) Click the "printer" icon in Gmail to format the message for printing.

3) In the print dialog select Print to File, and save the image as a PDF
file with a unique name (such as a sequence number or a date). Note that
you may want to suppress or modify the standard headers and footers, and
you may want to choose a different page size or shape.

4) Repeat steps 1-3 until you have finished with all the messages you want
to print.

5) Optional: Use a utility such as PDF-Shuffler or pdftk to merge the PDFs
into a single file. (Both utilities, plus a GUI for pdftk called pdfchain
are available in the Universe repository.)

6) Print the messages onto nice paper, adding sufficient margin(s) to bind
the pages into a nice book.

*Some browsers, such as Chromium, use their own Print dialog, and you may
find the printing options and results differ when using the Ubuntu system
print dialog.


I just re-read your question and see that you want to put the messages in a
template of some sort. Probably you want to avoid printing irrelevant
headers and footers, and maybe you even want to use different script fonts
and colors and border decorations, or something.

LibreOffice: Probably your best bet for a striking presentation of each
message is to create a page template in LibreOffice having the general
appearance you're looking for, then open each message and copy then paste
the message into each page (probably using the paste-special option to
remove all traces of Gmail's formatting) and "dress it up" using whatever
additional options you want. It will probably take some practice to get the
effects you want, and learning to use styles and other advanced functions
you may not already be familiar with in LibreOffice.

IMAP: If you want to avoid the repetitive copy-paste or print-to-PDF
scenarios, most email programs can be coaxed into opening Gmail threads
(which requires turning on the IMAP option in Gmail, and depending on your
security options, may also require you to create security tokens to allow
the program to access the mail). So, for example, you could change the
default fonts and formatting in Thunderbird, then open the Gmail messages
in that program and export or print the messages from there.
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