How to remove attachments from outlook (2007) emails easily

I receive often emails with big attachment that fill my inbox space very quickly.
On the other side, I usually like both to remove these attach and keep the email to preserve the thread for future use. Outlook 2007 don't have this feature so I wrote the following VBA function I added to a button on my client that resolve easily this task.
TIP: You can select more message at once too. This is useful if you want to clear a big number of messages you already have archived.
Hope this helps!
Note: I already developed this VBA for outlook 2003, but Outlook 2007 requires some small update. following code should work.
UPDATE (09/06/09): Thanks to John Harvey and Patrick Philippot now the procedure save attachments in a specific folder and make good use of outlook memory:-)
UPDATE (22/10/09): Thanks to Steve Evans now it shows a link to folder where the attaches are saved
' by Nicola Delfino
'       30-03-2005: First version
'       26-11-2006: Updated for Outlook 2007
'       28-11-2006: Updated with notes from rgreg
'       09-06-2009: Saves the file(s) to a folder location (thanks to John Harvey and Patrick Philippot)
'                   Memory problem with many attach to remove (FIXED) (thanks to John Harvey and Patrick Philippot)
'       22-10-2009: Now it uses default "My document folder"
'                   added HTML and link to saved files (thanks to Steve Evans)
'   based on code found at on
' Setup and instructions
' (1) Digitally sign VBA project
'          start->office->Microsoft office tools->digital certificates for VBA
'          create a certificate
' (2) sign the code
'          from Outlook -> menu -> Tools -> Macros -> Visual Basic Editor (VBA)
'          project 1 -> Microsoft Office Outlook -> ThisOutlookSession (double ckick)
'          * paste this source code *
'          from Microsoft Visual Basic -> menu -> Tools -> digital signature -> (choose certificate previously created)
' (3) add icon on toolbar
'          from outlook
'          tools->customize (select "Commands" TAB)
'                add icon on toolbar
'                [rearrange commands] to change icon and name on toolbar
' (4) be sure that tools->macros->security
'               on "thrusted publishers" "trust all installed add-ins and templates" is checked
Private Declare Function SHGetFolderPath Lib "shell32.dll" Alias "SHGetFolderPathA" ( _
    ByVal HWnd As Long, ByVal csidl As Long, ByVal hToken As Long, ByVal dwFlags As Long, ByVal pszPath As String) As Long
Private Const MAX_PATH = 260&

Public Sub StripAttachments()
    Dim ilocation As String
    Dim objOL As Outlook.Application
    Dim objMsg As Object
    Dim objAttachments As Outlook.Attachments
    Dim objSelection As Outlook.Selection
    Dim i As Long
    Dim lngCount As Long
    Dim strFile As String
    Dim strFolder As String
    Dim result
    'Put in the folder location you want to save attachments to
    ilocation = GetSpecialFolder(&H5) & "\Removed Attachs\" ' CSIDL_MY_DOCUMENTS As Long = &H5"

    On Error Resume Next
    result = MsgBox("Do you want to remove attachments from selected email(s)?", vbYesNo + vbQuestion)
    If result = vbNo Then
        Exit Sub
    End If
    ' Instantiate an Outlook Application object.
    ' Set objOL = CreateObject("Outlook.Application")
    Set objOL = Application
    ' Get the collection of selected objects.
    Set objSelection = objOL.ActiveExplorer.Selection
    ' Check each selected item for attachments.
    ' If attachments exist, save them to the Temp
    ' folder and strip them from the item.
    For Each objMsg In objSelection
        ' This code only strips attachments from mail items.
        If objMsg.Class = olMail Then
            ' Get the Attachments collection of the item.
            Set objAttachments = objMsg.Attachments
            lngCount = objAttachments.Count
            If lngCount > 0 Then
                ' We need to use a count down loop for
                ' removing items from a collection. Otherwise,
                ' the loop counter gets confused and only every
                ' other item is removed.
                strFile = ""
                For i = lngCount To 1 Step -1
                    ' Save attachment before deleting from item.
                    ' Get the file name.
                    Dim strHTML As String
                    strHTML = "<li><a href=" & Chr(34) & "file:" & ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i).FileName & Chr(34) & ">" & objAttachments.Item(i).FileName & "</a><br>" & vbCrLf
                    strFile = strFile & strHTML
                    ' Save the attachment as a file.
                    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile (ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i))
                    ' Save the attachment as a file.
                Next i
                strFile = "Attachment removed from the message and backup-ed to[<a href='" & ilocation & "'>" & ilocation & "</a>]:<br><ul>" & strFile & "</ul><hr><br><br>" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
                Dim objDoc As Object
                Dim objInsp As Outlook.Inspector
                Set objInsp = objMsg.GetInspector
                Set objDoc = objInsp.WordEditor
                objDoc.Characters(1).InsertBefore strFile
                objMsg.HTMLBody = strFile + objMsg.HTMLBody
                Set objInsp = Nothing
                Set objDoc = Nothing
            End If
            strFile = strFile & vbCrLf & vbCrLf
        End If
    Set objAttachments = Nothing
    Set objMsg = Nothing
    Set objSelection = Nothing
    Set objOL = Nothing
End Sub

Public Function GetSpecialFolder(FolderCSIDL As Long) As String

    Dim HWnd As Long
    Dim Path As String
    Dim Res As Long
    Dim ErrNumber As Long
    Dim ErrText As String

    Path = String$(MAX_PATH, vbNullChar)
    ' get the folder name
    Res = SHGetFolderPath(HWnd:=0&, _
                            csidl:=FolderCSIDL, _
                            hToken:=0&, _
                            dwFlags:=0&, _
    Select Case Res
        Case S_OK
            Path = TrimToNull(Text:=Path)
            GetSpecialFolder = Path
        Case S_FALSE
            MsgBox "The folder code is valid but the folder does not exist."
            GetSpecialFolder = vbNullString
        Case E_INVALIDARG
            MsgBox "The value of FolderCSIDL is not valid."
            GetSpecialFolder = vbNullString
        Case Else
            ErrNumber = Err.LastDllError
            ErrText = "ERROR!"
            MsgBox "An error occurred." & vbCrLf & _
                "System Error: " & CStr(ErrNumber) & vbCrLf & _
                "Description:  " & ErrText
    End Select

End Function

Public Function TrimToNull(Text As String) As String
    Dim N As Long
    N = InStr(1, Text, vbNullChar)
    If N Then
        TrimToNull = Left(Text, N - 1)
        TrimToNull = Text
    End If
End Function

Comments (16)

  1. Connie Greening says:

    Hi Nicola,

    You Rock!!! This is excellent code…I am sharing it with everyone who wants it.

    By the way Outlook 2007 does let you save attachments – they just don’t make it easy…

    Here’s how:

    1. Open the email with the attachment

    2. Under the Actions group on the toolbar select Other Actions

    3. Click Edit Message

    4. You can then save/delete the attachment and resave the message without the attachment.

    Your code does this much better, move over Bill Gates, LOL.

    Thanks again, I will be referring to your page lots!



  2. Playaj says:

    Killer script! Thanks $1M. One update.

    The file is saved properly with its extension once you add .FileName to the line

    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile (ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i))

    The code should read:

    ‘Save the attachment as a file.

    objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile (ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i).FileName)

  3. JSadler says:

    Great powerful script! Thanks $1M. Small correction required on the line following

                       ‘ Save the attachment as a file.

                       objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile (ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i))

                       should be

                       objAttachments.Item(i).SaveAsFile (ilocation & objAttachments.Item(i).FileName)

                       Remind users to disable antivirus scanning during bulk removal of attachments from emails.

  4. Brian says:

    Great script, very nicely done!

    I’ve made the following modifications to fit our company’s needs:

    * Prompt if destination folder doesn’t exist and create it.

    * Append a suffix if the filename already exists

    If can post the changes if anyone is intrested.


  5. Stu says:


    Please post that

    Nicola – great script


  6. Serg says:

    Please please Brian


    I’d love to know how to modify the tool to be asking for a file destination before saving intead of saving to a default folder?


  7. Pops says:

    EXCELLENT script! easy to use.

    I’m a Noob

    Had problems except:

    [‘Put in the folder location you want to save attachments to

       ilocation = GetSpecialFolder(&H5) & "Removed Attachs" ‘ CSIDL_MY_DOCUMENTS As Long = &H5"

       On Error Resume Next]

    Where should i paste the folder location? eg. C:Documents and Settings..Desktop…E-mail attachments backup

    Also, look forward to Brian’s addition to

    "Append a suffix if the filename already exists"

  8. Marc says:

    Great script Nicola.  Saves me the hassle of finding a pay version and it does it perfectly.  The only thing people need to keep in mind, without Brian’s adaption, you need to create %userprofile%My DocumentsRemoved Attachs or else the files go nowhere.  Thanks to PlayaJ and JSadler for the update about the file extension.

  9. Trevor says:

    Nicola this is excellent. Although I am not a programmer I have installed this and am using it.

    A great addition would be the date which the mail was created to avoid overwriting attachment files with the same name.

    This has been done by someone else. –  see

    I don’t have the skills to implement this unfortunately but it would be an excellent addition to a really good application.

  10. Praveen K C says:

    Hi, Its really great..Thanks for shearing this.

    I have a doubt on this, how we will give macro name as "Remove Attachments", i mean how we can give this name for toolbar icon.

  11. Matt Ashenden says:

    Can someone please submit a link or provide directions on how to install this in Office?

  12. Matt Ashenden says:

    This is great. It saved me hours.

    If Brian would post his script or if someone accomplishes what was suggested by Trevor, please be sure to post.

  13. Frederik Boersma says:

    If the output folder does not exist, attachments go to /dev/null…! There is no warning that the output folder does not exist. Also, if my documents is the root of the drive (like D:) the first ” in the ilocation definition should be removed in the code. Before the line result=MsgBox I have added:

       result = MsgBox("Attachments will be saved in: " + ilocation, vbYesNo)

       If result = vbNo Then

           MsgBox "You may want to edit the RemATT VB code.", 48, "Note"

           Exit Sub

       End If

  14. chris says:

    Wow thanks a lot.  This saved me hours and hours of work.

  15. Prasad says:

    Spot on….!!! xclnt work Nicola…Thanks a Zillion 🙂

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