How to parse your first email in Parseur
In this tutorial, we will describe, step by step, how to use an email parser to automatically extract text from emails. In order to get the most out of it, we recommend that you follow along this tutorial by creating your own parser.
Prefer a video?
Here you go!
What is Parseur?
Parseur is an email parser software that automates your data entry process by turning each email into a row in your Excel spreadsheets (as well as Google Sheets, CSV, JSON, and hundreds of applications via Zapier) through a simple point & click interface. With Parseur, extracting data from emails and documents has never been so easy!
For this tutorial, we will assume you already have a Parseur account. If you don't, create your free Parseur account here.
An example: convert emails to Excel to track website registrations
We'll take the real example of a travel website, globtrottr, that sends an email to administrators every time a new user registers. Administrators want to convert all registration emails to Excel in order to keep track of them automatically and understand how changes to the website impact registrations. Before Parseur, administrators were manually entering the data into a spreadsheet. Super boring activity, a waste of time and error prone.
From each email, they want to capture the user name, email, profile link and date at which user registered.
Ready? Let's go!
Step 1: Create a new mailbox
Log in to your Parseur account, enter a name for your new mailbox and click "Next".
After naming your mailbox, Parseur will create an email address for it.
Step 2: Send your first email
Click on the copy email address button and forward your first email to the given email address.
Then, wait for the email to be received in Parseur.
Emails are usually received within a few seconds after being sent but can take up to 1 minute.
The page updates automatically upon email reception (you can also click on "Check Now").
Step 3: Open the Template Editor
Click on "Create Template", this will open the Template Editor.
The Template Editor is where you will show which information you want to retrieve from emails
Let's go through each section of this screen:
- Template Name: give your template a name (name must be unique in a mailbox)
- View As: leave this on HTML. Other modes can be useful but are for an advanced usage
- Available Fields: if you have several templates in a mailbox, this will list the fields used in other templates. As this is your first template, the list is empty
- Captured Fields: this will list the fields that are currently captured for this template. As you haven't created any field yet, this list is empty
- Action: leave this on Processed. Skip and Delete can be use when you want to discard emails from being processed.
- Status: leave this on Enabled. If you set this to Disabled, the template won't be used (useful when making tests)
Now it is time to create your first field.
Step 4: Create your first field
The animation below shows you how to add your first field.
To add a field:
- Select the piece of text you want to capture. You will notice that the "Create a new field button" on the right-end side gets highlighted
- Click this button, this will add a new entry into the Captured Fields Section
- Name your field
- Click the "Tick mark" icon (or press Enter)
Step 5: Create all remaining fields and save
Repeat steps described above for every field you want to capture.
Then, click "Create".
You will now see that your document has been processed.
Note: for each document, you have 7 icons representing 7 possible actions:
- View: display the email and the parsed data
- Re-run parsing: useful if you updated the template and want to refresh the captured data
- Create a new template based on the document
- Skip document: Parseur will now ignore it
- Copy document to another mailbox
- View the logs to see an audit trail of what happened to the document (new! not shown on the screen capture)
- Delete the document
The recommended action is always shown is darker blue.
In this case it is "View". Click on it.
Step 6: Check results
Make sure that all the data was captured correctly.
In this screen you see:
- At the top, metadata info about the document
- At the top right, the action buttons (hover them for more information)
- On the left, the email
- On the right, the parsed data extracted (based on the template indicated at the top)
If everything looks correct, congratulations! You have parsed your first email.
Step 7 (optional): Select Extra fields
You may want to extract additional metadata information that is not present in the document body, like for instance the Sender email address, the date the email was sent to etc. Head over to the Fields section on the left menu and select the extra fields you need. You can hover a field to get more information.
For more information: Using Extra Fields.
Step 8: Send more emails
Go back to your email client and forward more emails. We recommend automating this part (see step 11).
Going back to Parseur, click on Documents on the left menu to list all documents received.
In case some emails are different from the original template, you can create more templates (see step 10 below).
Step 9: Download your parsed email data in Excel
It's now time to download your emails to Excel. Click on the "Export section" of the left menu.
You can export your data as Google Sheets, Excel, CSV or JSON or send it to applications via Zapier, Microsoft Flow of webhooks.
Click on the Download tab and then the Microsoft Excel .xlsx icon which will launch the download.
Open the downloaded file.
Note: some versions of Excel can display a warning message. Just proceed. Excel files created by Parseur are harmless and contain no macro nor script.
Congratulations, you down have all your parsed email data in Excel!
Step 10 (optional): Create more templates
You can have emails with different formats but the same type of content and parse them all using the same mailbox. You do that by creating as many templates as formats.
If status "New Template Needed" is displayed, it means the email has a different format than existing templates.
To create a new template:
- Click on the "+" sign to create a new template based on this email
- Select the pieces of text you want to capture and either affect them to one of an available field or create a new field
- Click Create
Parseur will automatically process all emails
If you keep having to create new templates check our section How does Parseur work for more information about most common errors and gotchas.
Step 11: Automate email forward
When your Parseur mailbox is up and running, you will already save a lot of time from manually copying and pasting text from emails to Excel. But in order to become a high performance business and fully automate the process, you should make sure any new emails is automatically sent to your Parseur mailbox.
There are two options.
- The best option, if you can, is to directly send (or CC) all emails to the Parseur email address. With this option, no need to manually forward emails anymore.
- If you can't access to the system to do that, the second option is to create automatic forward rules so that any email received in your mailbox is automatically forwarded to Parseur: this article will cover in details how to automatically setup email forwarding for the most common email providers.
Step 12 (optional): Send your data to any app or database
Parseur offers many options to use your data on top of downloading it: