Tools: Message Checker
This is a little online utility I created to help you see whether your e-mail messages, or those of others sending mail to you, are well-formatted based on the various standards, guidelines, traditions, and good practices that have been outlined in this site. It can't properly be termed a "validator", since it's not validating based on a single, rigorously-defined standard; rather, it looks for a number of things that might be considered bad format based on a number of different standards, some of which are in fact well-defined technical standards, and others of which are somewhat more subjective and debatable. Think of it as an "e-mail linter", similar to Web-page linters out there to catch bad coding practices in HTML, whether or not they're against the standards as checked by a formal validator.
Getting to the complete raw message is easier in some mail programs than others. Here are a few hints:
GMail: While viewing a message, click on the "down-arrow" icon to the right of the "Reply" button. This will pull up a list of options. Select "Show original". This will give you the raw message in a plain-text browser window. You can copy and paste it from there, but remove the blank line that GMail inserts at the top, since that will cause the parser in my tool to ignore the headers of the message (because, according to the standards, a blank line terminates the headers and begins the message body). The first non-blank line, where the headers actually start, should be the first line in the input box.
Outlook Express: Select "Properties" from the right-click menu (while clicking on a message in a folder) or the "File" menu (while reading a message). There, select the "Details" tab, and click on the button labeled "Message Source...". (Note that this is a totally different program from Outlook, which does not have such an option.)
Pegasus Mail: Go to the "Raw View" tab while viewing a message. You can copy and paste the raw message from there.
Thunderbird / Mozilla / SeaMonkey: Use "View / Message Source" (Ctrl-U) from the menu while viewing a message. The raw message will come up in a separate window; you can copy and paste it from there.
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This page was first created 12 Nov 2006, and was last modified 19 Jun 2011.