I'm currently faced with the problem to automate an e-mail-inbox in my company.

I face the following problem.

We get several reports as PDFs in that inbox per day that contain a couple of informations our working students transfer by hand in our database. The potential for errors is gigantic because it is such a menial task. Afterwards the PDFs should get saved in a special folder. Did any of you face the same or a similar problem and how did you solve it? Which software-solutions did you choose and why?


edit: The email-client is a standard microsoft outlook client and the database is currently accessed via microsoft access.

  • 1
    The term to Google for is 'document management', or maybe better 'emial document management'. Software for that exists, but I know of no specific packages.
    – user416
    Nov 22, 2018 at 20:52
  • If you want to "automate an e-mail-inbox" then maybe you should tell us which email client you use? Nov 23, 2018 at 10:30
  • Ah yes of course. I'm sorry. We use the standard outlook client and the database could be accessed by microsoft access, although that is less then optimal.
    – Eomer
    Nov 23, 2018 at 14:48

2 Answers 2


If you can access the mailbox via POP3 or IMAP you can use fetchmail or any other mail-getting utility to grab the mail and do things with PDF attachments. Next step will be parsing the important data out of the PDFs, filling your DB, and then filing the PDFs.

You really need a decent developer with some understanding of the relevant topics.

  • Well, the thing is. I'm a working student tasked with this and I should leave as little self written code as possible because there is noone to really take care of it. That's why I want to solve this by using existing software solutions.
    – Eomer
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:27
  • @Eomer Understandable. But you have to consider... how many other people get data send to them in PDF files that needs to be extracted and put into an Access database? It is minimal... there is no market for that type of solution. However, lots of ways to fetch mail, parse PDF files, and move files around on a file system... just need that glue code to put it together.
    – ivanivan
    Nov 25, 2018 at 15:50

Of course I wasn’t sitting on my hands and pursued the project in the last few days. I came across some very interesting results, at least for someone who might also just stumble into this kind of topic.

First I want to address Ivanivan. As this is problem is a process automation problem there is a market for it and there are also several solutions to said problem.

I stumbled upon the following companies that provide a solution:

At the moment I’m in contact with abbyy.com as they seemed the most promising and my company already has ties with them.

Also I found a lot of interesting tags that lead into this topic and I just want to list them hear and maybe some poor soul finds this thread and a solution while looking for them:

  • Document Management

  • Attachment parsing

  • Attachment extraction
  • Attachment mining
  • document managment software (DMS)
  • Document Control Software
  • formatted data entry
  • email inbox automatisierung -emailmarketing -marketing
  • standardsoftware email inbox automation
  • Also I want to attach two threads from quora about the same topic: quora.com/… quora.com/… edit: I don't know how to make this post look even halfway acceptable, I'm sorry
    – Eomer
    Nov 30, 2018 at 14:28
  • maybe a mod could just attach my last comment to my thread because I couldn't.
    – Eomer
    Nov 30, 2018 at 14:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.