Executive Summary:

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to print only the first page of a Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 email. Here are a few hints, including printing from a .pdf file or an HTML browser.


Microsoft Office Outlook users often ask how to print only the first page of a multiple-page email. Inexplicably, Outlook doesn’t let users select the pages to print when printing a long email. This was a little short-sighted on multiple levels. Increased environmental awareness in some markets has generated an interest in reducing the amount of waste associated with printing. When you need to print an email, it would be beneficial to limit the printout to only the pages needed. A more consistent print dialog box between applications would be an improvement.

In Outlook 2007, open an email message and click File, Print or click the Printer button. In the Print dialog box notice that the Copies option has a drop-down menu for Number of pages. The options for this setting are All, Even, and Odd as shown in Figure 1. If you need only the first page, then if you print only the odd-numbered pages you’ll reduce waste.>

HTML messages in Outlook 2003 use the Internet Explorer Print dialog box that allows for page selection. Plain text messages in Outlook 2003 use Outlook’s more limited printing options. To print the first page of a plain text message in Outlook 2003, you have a few options. You can open the message and change the format to HTML by selecting Edit Message from the Edit menu, and then choosing HTML from the Format menu. This will change the printer dialog box so that it allows page selection. You can also “print” the email to a different digital format.

I’ve been advising people to print the email to a .pdf file. You can use freeware or commercial options for .pdf printing. I use a free application called CutePDF, and sometimes I use the Adobe PDF Converter, which is part of Adobe Acrobat and not free. The resulting file can then be opened in Adobe .pdf reader. When printing from the .pdf reader, there’s an option to print only the first page. Of course, this process is more than a little inconvenient if you have to print regularly.>

When you have messages in HTML format, you can open them in a browser for Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003. Figure 2 shows the Outlook 2007 command in the Message ribbon tab. The Other Actions button in the Actions section reveals a menu with the command View in Browser. The HTML message will then be rendered in the default browser, which might provide the added benefit of better formatting because as Outlook 2007 depends on Word 2007 to render HTML. From the browser, a print request can be limited to specific pages. The downside of this option is that the message headers (To, From, Date, Subject) aren’t included, only the message body.