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How to extract information from emails?
How to extract information from emails?

This article about extracting information from emails.

Ilia Zelenkin avatar
Written by Ilia Zelenkin
Updated over a week ago

Extracting information from emails is a powerful productivity booster. In this article, we will explain several ways to get in the information out from an email.

NOTE: It is important to note that Bitskout is not the best platform to general mailbox filtering. It is highly recommended that you already established a filter, for instance, a separate mailbox for orders or some rules.

Also, we recommend having one model per topic/email type. It is not recommended to create broad models as they will not perform well.

Now, typically there are two types of email content:

  • Structured where content is structured in a certain way

  • Unstructured where it is basically written as a normal human text

Structured Emails

Typically, emails with structured content are generated by tools. Its format rarely changes and they serve as notifications.

As you can see from the example the email has a certain structure - it has fields like Reason, Scenario, and Organisation that are clearly separated from their values.

Here is another example:

We can clearly see the structure - there are fields like First Name, Last Name, and Email.

Hence, to extract structured information we can use the Forms feature in Bitskout.

  1. Go to Plugins and press Create.

  2. Choose Extract.

  3. Now you can choose From File or From Text. To extract information from email you can use either one.

    If you choose From File, then when loading an example, you will to take a screenshot of your email.

    If you choose From Text, then you can just paste your text into the box.

  4. Now we will load an example. In this case, we will use a screenshot.

  5. Once the file is loaded, you will need to press Refresh the list of fields to see what Bitskout detects.

  6. Then you will be able to select the fields that you need in your task:

    NOTE: In case some field is not extracted, then you can create a model that works with unstructured data (see the instruction below).

  7. Press Next. Now you can configure where to write the data.

8. Press Next and in the next screen specify model name and add description.

9. Press Create to create the plugin.

Unstructured Emails

Unstructured emails are all other messages that are written as it is without any defined structure. Here is the example:

In this example email, you can see the request for Batman services. In a work environment, this email contains crucial information - a location, a contact name, and a phone number.

Let's check another example:

Even though it is a notification, this email has an unstructured format. There are two items of interest from this email - a contact email and the URL of the spreadsheet.

Let's configure the data extraction from such emails:

  1. Go to Plugins and press Create.

  2. Choose Extract.

  3. The next step is to select the From Text option. We will be working with unstructured text. Once the screen appears, you need to select Custom.

  4. Now let's Start Custom Selection.

  5. And now the important part - we will need to Add Examples.

  6. Click Add Example:

  7. Add text into the text box and then add one by one the fields you want to extract. Add more examples if required. We recommend 4-5 examples.

    As an example, here is how the examples look like for Google Sheets:

  8. Once you are done with examples, press Apply. Press Next and in the next screen you can set up where to put the data.

    9. Press Next and add the name and description of the plugin.

Now you can use the new plugin in your process.

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