Sunday 15 October 2006

Hiding those irritating "disclaimer" messages that other people add to your emails

I was trying to leave a <s> tag open at the end of my out of office message - I failed - but discovered by accident that I could persuade the program that adds the "disclaimer" text to add it into an html comment. Further investigation confirmed that the same technique could be used with ordinary emails using Microsoft's Outlook.

Start with this:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC '-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN'
<html xmlns=''>



<br />
<br />
<hr />
<br />
<br />

<!-- end of email


You can "save as" a copy to your local computer from here on my website. By the way, on my computer at work, "save as" actually produced "modify and add stuff", so you might like to look at the file with a text editor to remove anything you don't want. As you can see, the important bit is the end tags for body and html within a comment.

In the webbrower, use something like edit, select all, copy. Then create a new, html message in Outlook and paste to the new message. Add your message text above the line and send.

The mechanism seem to be that when you paste to Outlook, the incomplete html is detected during its "modify and add stuff" phase, the lack of end of body and html tags is detected and they are added. However, the program that adds the irritating "disclaimer" text seems to parse down from the top, finds the first </body> within the comment and adds its text just above it. The result is that, in the html version of the email, the disclaimer is hidden.


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