Your inbox has more than messages—it's full of data. This is particularly true if you're running a business. Maybe your leads come in via email; maybe that's where certain invoices end up.
But you can't do much with this data if it's in your inbox. Receipts are more useful in your bookkeeping software, for example. Contacts are more useful in your CRM. You could manually copy that information over, granted, but that's a lot of work—especially if you're talking about dozens or even hundreds of emails a day.
This is where email parsing tools come in. These tools do the work for you, grabbing information from your inbox and organizing it in such a way that other apps can make use of it.
Not sure what you'd use an email parsing app for? Check out our suggestions for the best ways to use email parsing apps for some ideas.
The best email parsers
Mailparser for quickly setting up powerful email parsing rules
Email Parser by Zapier for an entry-level parser for Zapier users
Email Parser for a native Windows email parsing tool
Parseur for parsing email attachments
SigParser for scraping email signatures
What makes a great email parser?
I tested every email parsing app I could get my hands on and selected the best ones. The best email parsing apps meet the following criteria (and some go above and beyond).
They grab information from your email. This can be done using custom rules, using templates offered by the app itself, or in some cases by automatically scanning all incoming emails for particular data.
They're easy, or at least manageable, to set up. You could, with enough time or resources, build custom scripts to do this job for you. Email scraping services mean you don't have to, so the best ones need to be user-friendly.
They put that data where you want it. Some people are going to want to download a spreadsheet every now and then, and most of the apps in this category offer that. The best ones, though, can send data to the other applications you already use.
In some cases, I found apps that offered similar features and quality at different price points, and in those instances, I favored the more affordable option. Here are the apps I think worked best.
Best email parser for quickly setting up powerful rules
Email parsing isn't simple, exactly—you need to train a computer to look at an email and pull out the exact bits of data you want. Mailparser is pretty good at making the process seem simple, and that's impressive.
You set up an inbox, which has its own custom email address. Forward a few emails to that address, and Mailparser will guess which information you might want to pull out. It's not going to be perfect every time, obviously, but if you're trying to extract something like a receipt, it does a pretty good job on its own. If not, you can create your own rules.
Mailparser can parse the subject, body, recipients, and headers for every email. It can also parse attachments—PDF, XLS, CSV, TXT, and XML files can all be scraped. But to me, the stand-out feature here is how straightforward the user interface is. If you've never used an email parsing service, and don't know how to get started, this is the tool you should check out first.
Mailparser integrates with Zapier, which means you can send the parsed data to thousands of apps as soon as the emails come in. For example, you could add things to a Google Sheet, create new subscribers in Mailchimp, or even get notifications about new scraped emails in Slack.
Mailparser pricing: Free for 30 emails/month; from $39/month for the Professional plan for 500 emails/month
Best entry-level email parser for Zapier users
Email Parser by Zapier (Web)
This is a Zapier product in a Zapier blog post, so I understand if you're skeptical about my ability to be neutral. But I'm not going to pretend this is the most powerful email parsing tool here—and if you don't need the other solutions Zapier offers, it might not be right for you. But if email parsing is just one of many automations you'll use, it gets the job done. If you're already paying for Zapier, even better.
Get started with Email Parser by Zapier, and you can set up as many mailboxes as you want, each with its own @robot.zapier.com email address. You can forward emails to that address, either manually or using something like Gmail's filter system. Send a few sample emails, then highlight and name the information you'd like to scrape from future emails. You won't find many advanced features here—you can't scrape the contents of email attachments, for example.
Then you'll set up a Zap, our term for an automated workflow, which is what will send that information to whatever other app you want—you can choose from thousands of apps. A few examples: send information from your email to a spreadsheet, add new contacts to a Mailchimp list, or create a Google Calendar event based on information in the email.
Email Parser by Zapier pricing: Included with all Zapier plans.
For a walkthrough of how to use Email Parser by Zapier, take a look at our email parser guide.
The best native Windows email parsing tool
Email Parser (Windows, Web)
Email Parser doesn't hold your hand: there's no wizard guessing what you want to parse, which means you need to set up all the rules yourself. It's not going to be easy, but the tradeoff is power that's not offered by other apps.
In part, this is because Email Parser is available as an actual Windows application. It also connects directly to Gmail, Exchange, and POP/IMAP servers, instead of relying on you to forward messages to a custom address like most other email parsers.
Running on Windows has one obvious advantage: support for local files. The app can push email data directly to an Excel spreadsheet, CSV file, or even text document on your computer—no cloud storage necessary. There's also support for local PowerScript and C# scripting, meaning there's no limit to what you could do with the data that you parse if you have some coding ability. This is particularly interesting given that Email Parser for Windows is a one-time purchase—it's the only app here without an ongoing subscription to pay for.
But there's also a web version with an ongoing subscription: it offers the option of a custom mailbox you can forward emails to, the way services like Mailparser work. The web version doesn't quite compare well to some of the other apps here, but it's nice to have the option—particularly if you prefer the more detailed approach to creating rules offered by Email Parser.
Mail Parser pricing: Web app for $19 per month; Windows app is a one-time $79 purchase
Best email parser for processing attached documents
Parseur is similar, in many ways, to Mailparser, but it stands out in one key way: the sheer number of attachment file formats it can scrape. If you get a lot of receipts that are (inexplicably) sent as word processor documents, this is the tool you need to try. Parseur can extract data from every file type that Mailparser can, but it also supports word processing formats like DOCX, ODT, RTF, Apple Pages, and even WordPerfect (for some reason).
And there are a few other things here not offered by similar tools. There's post-processing support, for example, using Python scripts (at a higher price point). A Chrome extension allows you to parse websites, in addition to emails. And there are templates for processing emails from common services, including Google Alerts.
You can integrate Parseur with Zapier, allowing you to send scraped data from your email to thousands of apps. You could, for example, create Google Calendar events or Mailchimp subscribers, automatically, when new emails come in.
The downside: Parseur is more expensive than the alternatives. That might be worthwhile, depending on your needs, so try Parseur out before you decide on a service. Don't let the pseudo-French name turn you off entirely.
Parseur pricing: Free for 20 documents a month; from $59/month for the Standard plan with up to 10,000 documents a month
Best email parser for automatically scraping email signatures
SigParser is the most specialized of all the tools here: it focuses exclusively on the contact information in email signatures. But think about the value in that—most emails have signatures, meaning there's all sorts of contact information in your inbox that you never even think about.
You could copy and paste that contact information into your address book or CRM of choice, but with SigParser, you don't have to. The free version of SigParser reviews 90 days of your emails—you can pay more to go back further. The app can also scan new emails as they come in, meaning all of the contact information in your inbox is automatically grabbed. You can then send this info to your CRM, address book, or anywhere else it might come in handy.
You could, in theory, use any of the tools here to scrape contact information, but it would take some work. Everyone's email signature is a little bit different, and simple rules aren't enough to consistently parse it. This app is made for one job, and in my tests, it did an admirable job on a variety of different signatures. It may seem like a simple thing, but it's potentially game-changing if your business depends on following up with potential customers.
You can also integrate SigParser with Zapier, allowing you to send scraped contact information to thousands of apps, including Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
SigParser pricing: From $8/month for the Individual plan