The email parser guide: How to automatically copy data from your emails

In your email inbox, notifications are only more clutter, more things to archive and forget. It would be easier to sort through and manage this information in a spreadsheet or database, but to do that, you’d need to take the time to copy text from emails and paste it somewhere else.

Or, you could let an app do that busywork for you. Here’s how to parse text from emails and put their data to good use—automatically.

Table of contents

  • What is an email parser?
  • How to parse emails
  • Try an email parser workflow

What is an email parser?

When your boss or best friend emails, you likely read every word.

The rest of the time, odds are, you skim the message. Your eyes quickly dart across the screen, picking out keywords and phrases like New Sale and $4.99 and Payment Due: Friday, Nov 3.

Email parsers work the same way. You teach these programs how to recognize patterns in your emails, tell them what data is actually important and that everything else can be ignored, and then have them save only the important stuff. Then, connect the email parser to an automation tool like Zapier to save that important text into other apps so you can log the orders in a spreadsheet, for example, or be reminded to pay your credit card bill tomorrow. As long as the emails are all laid out generally the same way, the email parser should be able to figure out what’s important and copy the data for you.

Got that? Ok. Let’s back up, and step-by-step build an email parser that can copy text out of your emails and put it to work. We’ll use Zapier’s Email Parser—a free tool to copy text out of your emails. If you use another email parsing tool, these directions will still apply—the basics work the same in every app, and once you know how to parse one email, you know how to parse them all.


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