To keep track of communications with contacts, CiviCRM has Activities e.g. documenting e-mail conversations. In the Activities tab of a contact I can create these from the New activity dropdown.

This provides the option Send an Email. However, using that I can only make CiviCRM actually send out an email to the contact. We usually send emails from a normal mail client instead.

What I am looking for is a possibility to add an Email activity to a contact without actually sending out a mail. (To document an email that has already been sent from outside CiviCRM)

Currently we use a workaround: A custom activity type documented Email. But it would avoid confusion, if all mail would be of the same activity type Email regardless of how it was send out.

Is there a way for this in Civi or an extension?


4 Answers 4


Have you checked the inbound email processor script. You can forward and/or cc a mailbox, and civi can read from the mailbox and attach it to the relevant contacts.

Details are here:



We brought templates/CRM/Activity/Form/ActivityLinks.tpl into the custom templates folder and added some jQuery to it to hide certain custom activity types of our own making from being manually created by staff. If you're going for the code route, that and its corresponding PHP class is probably a good place to look.

Alternatively, compare the URL for writing an email:


and for adding a different activity type:


Start by clicking 'Send an Email', then take the 'email/' out of the URL. Does that give you what you wanted?


One option if you are using Drupal as your CMS is to set up a webform for creating email activities. The webform can create the activity for you without sending the email.


You can change the System Setting (menu Administer/System Setting/Outbound Email) to 'redirect to database' you can create an Email activity but it will not be sent.

  • This wouldn't help if you wanted to be able to both send emails and log emails that had been sent via another system though.
    – John
    May 20, 2015 at 13:41

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