Save Attachments to the hard drive

Last reviewed on September 6, 2013

The following code works in Outlook 2000 and up. It saves the attachments from selected messages but does not delete the attachments from the message(s). This VBA code is based on the code sample at our Outlook-Tips site: Save and Delete Attachments. Use it if you want to save the attachment, add a link to the saved file, and delete the attachment from the message.

Instructions to add the macro to a toolbar button or ribbon command are at the end of the page.

Save Attachments to the hard drive

Copy and paste the code from this page into your ThisOutlookSession project.

In Outlook, press Alt+F11 to open the VBA editor and expand Microsoft Outlook Objects then double click on ThisOutlookSession to open it in the editing pane and Ctrl+V to paste the code.

To use it you must first create a folder under your My Documents named OLAttachments (the code will not create it for you). Then select one or more messages and run the macro to save the attachments. You'll need to set macro security to warn before enabling macros or sign the macro. You can change the folder name or path where the attachments are saved by editing the code.

Public Sub SaveAttachments()
Dim objOL As Outlook.Application
Dim objMsg As Outlook.MailItem 'Object
Dim objAttachments As Outlook.Attachments
Dim objSelection As Outlook.Selection
Dim i As Long
Dim lngCount As Long
Dim strFile As String
Dim strFolderpath As String
Dim strDeletedFiles As String

    ' Get the path to your My Documents folder
    strFolderpath = CreateObject("WScript.Shell").SpecialFolders(16)
    On Error Resume Next

    ' Instantiate an Outlook Application object.
    Set objOL = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")

    ' Get the collection of selected objects.
    Set objSelection = objOL.ActiveExplorer.Selection

' The attachment folder needs to exist
' You can change this to another folder name of your choice

    ' Set the Attachment folder.
    strFolderpath = strFolderpath & "\OLAttachments\"

    ' Check each selected item for attachments. 
    For Each objMsg In objSelection

    Set objAttachments = objMsg.Attachments
    lngCount = objAttachments.Count
    If lngCount > 0 Then
    ' Use a count down loop for removing items
    ' from a collection. Otherwise, the loop counter gets
    ' confused and only every other item is removed.
    For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1
    ' Get the file name.
    strFile = objAttachments.Item(i).FileName
    ' Combine with the path to the Temp folder.
    strFile = strFolderpath & strFile
    ' Save the attachment as a file.
    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile strFile
    Next i
    End If

Set objAttachments = Nothing
Set objMsg = Nothing
Set objSelection = Nothing
Set objOL = Nothing
End Sub

Add the message date to the filename

If you want to add the message date to the file, you'll need to get the date from the SentOn or ReceivedDate fields then format it as a string before adding it to the file name. It's a total of 4 new lines and one edited line.

First, Dim the two new variables at the top of the macro:

Dim dtDate As Date
Dim sName As String

To format the date and time and add it to the filename in 20130905045911-filename format, you'll add two lines of code after you count the attachments to get the date and format it, then edit the line that creates the filename.

    If lngCount > 0 Then

       dtDate = objMsg.SentOn

         sName = Format(dtDate, "yyyymmdd", vbUseSystemDayOfWeek, vbUseSystem) & Format(dtDate, "hhnnss", vbUseSystemDayOfWeek, vbUseSystem) & "-"

   For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1

    ' Get the file name.
       strFile = sName & objAttachments.Item(i).FileName

Don't save images in signatures

This macro saves all attachments, including images embedded in signatures (they are attachments after all). To avoid saving signature images, you have two options: don't save image files, or don't save smaller files. You could even do both and save only larger images files.

Replace the code between For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1 / Next i lines with the following to filter out files smaller than 5KB. This should catch most signature images (and many text files).

If the attachments you need to save are always over 5 KB, you can increase the file size. (For reference, a blank Word document is over 10KB.)

    For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1
       If objAttachments.Item(i).Size > 5200 Then

    ' Get the file name.
    strFile = objAttachments.Item(i).filename
    ' Combine with the path to the Temp folder.
    strFile = strFolderpath & strFile
    ' Save the attachment as a file.
    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile strFile
     End If
    Next i

If you want to skip or save only a specific file type, use If LCase(Right(strFile, 4)) <> ".ext" format, where .ext is the extension. Add it after the first line strFile = line (and don't forget to add the End if before the Next i). You can use it to exclude a file type or use an equal (=) sign to save only a specific file type. (For 4-character extensions, use only the characters, don't include the dot.)

To work with a longer list of file types, use a Select Case statement. In this example, we're looking for image attachments, and if less than approx 5KB, we skip them. Larger image attachments will be saved.

    For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1
    ' Get the file name.
    strFile = objAttachments.Item(i).filename
' This code looks at the last 4 characters in a filename
      sFileType = LCase$(Right$(strFile, 4))
      Select Case sFileType
 ' Add additional file types below
       Case ".jpg", ".png", ".gif"
        If objAttachments.Item(i).Size < 5200 Then
     GoTo nexti
        End If
      End Select

    ' Combine with the path to the Temp folder.
    strFile = strFolderpath & strFile
    ' Save the attachment as a file.
    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile strFile
    Next i

Assign the macro to a button

In Outlook 2007 and older, you can create a toolbar button to run the macro. In Outlook 2010, you'll need to customize the ribbon.

More information is at Customize the Outlook Toolbar, Ribbon or QAT and at Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

Run the macro using a ribbon or QAT shortcut

customize the ribbon to add a macro buttonStep 1: To create a button to run a macro in Outlook 2010, go to File, Options, and choose Customize Ribbon. (If you want a button on the QAT, choose Quick Access Toolbar instead.)

Step 2: Choose Macro from the Choose Commands From menu and select the macro you want to add to the ribbon or QAT.

Step 3: Select the Group you want to add the macro to. If it doesn't exist yet, use the New Group buttons to create the group.

Step 4: Use the Rename button to give the macro a friendly name and change the icon. You are limited to the icons in the dialog (unless you want to program a ribbon command).

Run the macro from a toolbar button

customize toolbar dialog

To create a toolbar button for it, go to View, Toolbar, Customize, Commands tab. In the Categories pane, type M to jump to Macros. On the Commands side, drag the macro you created to the toolbar. Right click on the button to rename it and assign a new icon.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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