How to: Process email messages in batches by using EWS in Exchange

Learn how to create, get, update, and delete batches of email messages in a single call by using the EWS Managed API or EWS in Exchange.

Last modified: March 09, 2015

Applies to: EWS Managed API | Exchange Online | Exchange Server 2013 | Office 365

In this article
Create email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API
Create email messages in batches by using EWS
Send email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API
Send email messages in batches by using EWS
Get email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API
Get email messages in batches by using EWS
Update email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API
Update email messages in batches by using EWS
Delete email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API
Delete email messages in batches by using EWS
Verifying that a batch process completed successfully
Additional resources

You can use the EWS Managed API or EWS to work with batches of email messages to reduce the number of calls a client makes to an Exchange server. When you use the EWS Managed API to create, get, update, delete, and send messages in batches, you use ExchangeService object methods, whereas when you work with single email messages, you use EmailMessage object methods. If you are using EWS, you use the same operations to work with both single and batches of email messages.

Table 1.  EWS Managed API methods and EWS operations for working with batches of email messages

In order to…

Use this EWS Managed API method

Use this EWS operation

Create email messages in batches

ExchangeService.CreateItems

CreateItem

Get email messages in batches

ExchangeService.BindToItems

GetItem

Update email messages in batches

ExchangeService.UpdateItems

UpdateItem

Delete email messages in batches

ExchangeService.DeleteItems

DeleteItem

In this article, you’ll learn how to complete basic tasks for batches of email messages by using the EWS Managed API or EWS.

You can create messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API CreateItems method, as shown in the following example. This example creates three EmailMessage objects locally, adds each message to a collection, then calls the CreateItems method on the collection of messages.

This example assumes that service is a valid ExchangeService object and that the user has been authenticated to an Exchange server.

public static Collection<ItemId> CreateDraftEmailInBatch(ExchangeService service)
{
    // These are unsaved local instances of an EmailMessage object.
    // Despite the required parameter of an ExchangeService object (service), no call
    // to an Exchange server is made when the objects are instantiated.
    // A call to the Exchange server is made when the service.CreateItems() method is called.
    EmailMessage message1 = new EmailMessage(service);
    EmailMessage message2 = new EmailMessage(service);
    EmailMessage message3 = new EmailMessage(service);

    // Set the properties on the first message.
    message1.Subject = "Project priorities";
    message1.Body = "(1) Buy pizza, (2) Eat pizza";
    message1.ToRecipients.Add("sadie@contoso.com");

    // Set the properties on the second message.
    message2.Subject = "Company Soccer Team";
    message2.Body = "Are you interested in joining?";
    message2.ToRecipients.Add("magdalena@contoso.com");

    // Set the properties on the third message.
    message3.Subject = "Code Blast";
    message3.Body = "Are you interested in getting together to finish the methods for the ContosoLive project?";
    message3.ToRecipients.Add("mack@contoso.com");

    // Add the EmailMessage objects to a collection.
    Collection<EmailMessage> messageItems = new Collection<EmailMessage>() { message1, message2, message3 };

    // Create the batch of email messages on the server.
    // This method call results in an CreateItem call to EWS.
    ServiceResponseCollection<ServiceResponse> response = service.CreateItems(messageItems, WellKnownFolderName.Drafts, MessageDisposition.SaveOnly, null);

    // Instantiate a collection of item IDs to populate from the values that are returned by the Exchange server.
    Collection<ItemId> itemIds = new Collection<ItemId>();

    // Collect the item IDs from the created email messages.
    foreach (EmailMessage message in messageItems)
    {
        try
        {
            itemIds.Add(message.Id);
            Console.WriteLine("Email message '{0}' created successfully.", message.Subject);
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {
            // Print out the exception and the last eight characters of the item ID.
            Console.WriteLine("Exception while creating message {0}: {1}", message.Id.ToString().Substring(144), ex.Message);
        }
    }

    // Check for success of the CreateItems method call.
    if (response.OverallResult == ServiceResult.Success)
    {
            Console.WriteLine("All locally created messages were successfully saved to the Drafts folder.");
            Console.WriteLine("\r\n");
    }
   
    // If the method did not return success, print the result message for each email.
    else
    {
        int counter = 1;

        foreach (ServiceResponse resp in response)
        {
            // Print out the result and the last eight characters of the item ID.
            Console.WriteLine("Result (message {0}), id {1}: {2}", counter, itemIds[counter - 1].ToString().Substring(144), resp.Result);
            Console.WriteLine("Error Code: {0}", resp.ErrorCode);
            Console.WriteLine("ErrorMessage: {0}\r\n", resp.ErrorMessage);
            Console.WriteLine("\r\n");

            counter++;
        }
    }

    return itemIds;

}

Note that the example only saves the messages in the Drafts folder; it does not send the messages. For more about how to send the messages, see Send email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API.

You can create email messages in batches by using the CreateItem EWS operation, as shown in the following code example. This is also the XML request that the EWS Managed API sends when you use the EWS Managed API to create email messages in batches.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages"
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types"
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2007_SP1" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:CreateItem MessageDisposition="SaveOnly">
      <m:SavedItemFolderId>
        <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
      </m:SavedItemFolderId>
      <m:Items>
        <t:Message>
          <t:Subject>Project priorities</t:Subject>
          <t:Body BodyType="HTML">(1) Buy pizza, (2) Eat pizza</t:Body>
          <t:ToRecipients>
            <t:Mailbox>
              <t:EmailAddress>sadie@contoso.com</t:EmailAddress>
            </t:Mailbox>
          </t:ToRecipients>
        </t:Message>
        <t:Message>
          <t:Subject>Company Soccer Team</t:Subject>
          <t:Body BodyType="HTML">Are you interested in joining?</t:Body>
          <t:ToRecipients>
            <t:Mailbox>
              <t:EmailAddress>magdalena@contoso.com</t:EmailAddress>
            </t:Mailbox>
          </t:ToRecipients>
        </t:Message>
        <t:Message>
          <t:Subject>Code Blast</t:Subject>
          <t:Body BodyType="HTML">Are you interested in getting together to finish the methods for the ContosoLive project?</t:Body>
          <t:ToRecipients>
            <t:Mailbox>
              <t:EmailAddress>mack@contoso.com</t:EmailAddress>
            </t:Mailbox>
          </t:ToRecipients>
        </t:Message>
      </m:Items>
    </m:CreateItem>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The server responds to the CreateItem request with a CreateItemResponse message that includes a ResponseCode value of NoError for each of the new messages, which indicates that each email was created and saved successfully.

Note that the example only saves the messages in the Drafts folder; it does not send the messages. For more about how to send the messages, see Send email messages in batches by using EWS.

You use the same code to send email messages in batches that you use to create email messages in batches, except that a few of the CreateItems method parameters change. So, to send email messages by using the EWS Managed API, use the code you use to create email messages in batches, and replace the call to the CreateItems method with the call in the following example. In this example, the messages are created in the Sent Items folder, and the message disposition is changed to MessageDisposition.SendAndSaveCopy, so that the message is sent, and not just saved locally.

// Create and send the batch of email messages on the server.
// This method call results in an CreateItem call to EWS.
ServiceResponseCollection<ServiceResponse> response = service.CreateItems(messageItems, WellKnownFolderName.SentItems, MessageDisposition.SendAndSaveCopy, null);

You use the same code to send email messages in batches that you use to create email messages in batches, except that a few of the attribute values change for the CreateItem operation. So, to send email messages by using EWS, use the code you use to create email message in batches, and change the MessageDisposition value to "SendAndSaveCopy", and change the DistinguishedFolderId to "sentitems", as shown in the following code example.

<m:CreateItem MessageDisposition="SendAndSaveCopy">
  <m:SavedItemFolderId>
    <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="sentitems" />
  </m:SavedItemFolderId>

The server responds to the CreateItem request with a CreateItemResponse message that includes a ResponseCode value of NoError for each of the new messages, which indicates that each email was created and sent successfully.

You can get email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API BindToItems method, as shown in the following example.

This example assumes that service is a valid ExchangeService object and that the user has been authenticated to an Exchange server.

public static Collection<EmailMessage> BatchGetEmailItems(ExchangeService service, Collection<ItemId> itemIds)
{

    // Create a property set that limits the properties returned by the Bind method to only those that are required.
    PropertySet propSet = new PropertySet(BasePropertySet.IdOnly, EmailMessageSchema.Subject, EmailMessageSchema.ToRecipients);

    // Get the items from the server.
    // This method call results in a GetItem call to EWS.
    ServiceResponseCollection<GetItemResponse> response = service.BindToItems(itemIds, propSet);
           
    // Instantiate a collection of EmailMessage objects to populate from the values that are returned by the Exchange server.
    Collection<EmailMessage> messageItems = new Collection<EmailMessage>();


    foreach (GetItemResponse getItemResponse in response)
    {
        try
        {
            Item item = getItemResponse.Item;
            EmailMessage message = (EmailMessage)item;
            messageItems.Add(message);
            // Print out confirmation and the last eight characters of the item ID.
            Console.WriteLine("Found item {0}.", message.Id.ToString().Substring(144));
        }
        catch (Exception ex)
        {
           Console.WriteLine("Exception while getting a message: {0}", ex.Message);
        }
    }

    // Check for success of the BindToItems method call.
    if (response.OverallResult == ServiceResult.Success)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("All email messages retrieved successfully.");
        Console.WriteLine("\r\n");
    }

        return messageItems;
}

You can get email messages in batches by using the GetItem EWS operation and the code in the following example. This is also the XML request that the EWS Managed API sends when you use the EWS Managed API to get email messages in batches.

The ItemId and ChangeKey attributes have been shortened for readability.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages"
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types"
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2007_SP1" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:GetItem>
      <m:ItemShape>
        <t:BaseShape>IdOnly</t:BaseShape>
        <t:AdditionalProperties>
          <t:FieldURI FieldURI="item:Subject" />
          <t:FieldURI FieldURI="message:ToRecipients" />
        </t:AdditionalProperties>
      </m:ItemShape>
      <m:ItemIds>
        <t:ItemId Id="m4NxAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKB0" />
        <t:ItemId Id="m4NyAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKB1" />
        <t:ItemId Id="m4NzAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKB2" />
      </m:ItemIds>
    </m:GetItem>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The server responds to the GetItem request with a GetItemResponse message that includes the first class properties for each of the requested messages.

You can get email messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API UpdateItems method, as shown in the following example.

For a list of writable email message properties, see Email properties and elements in EWS in Exchange.

For details about how to send a draft message after it's been updated, see Sending email messages by using the EWS Managed API.

This example assumes that service is a valid ExchangeService object and that the user has been authenticated to an Exchange server.

public static Collection<EmailMessage> BatchUpdateEmailItems(ExchangeService service, Collection<EmailMessage> messageItems)
{
    // Update the subject of each message locally.
    foreach (EmailMessage message in messageItems)
    {
        // Update the Subject of the email.
        message.Subject = "Updated subject at " + DateTime.Now;

        // Print out confirmation with the last eight characters of the item ID and the email subject.
        Console.WriteLine("Updated local email message {0} with the subject '{1}'.", message.Id.ToString().Substring(144), message.Subject);

    }

    // Send the item updates to the server.
    // This method call results in an UpdateItem call to EWS.
    ServiceResponseCollection<UpdateItemResponse> response = service.UpdateItems(messageItems, WellKnownFolderName.Drafts, ConflictResolutionMode.AutoResolve, MessageDisposition.SaveOnly, null);

    // Check for success of the UpdateItems method call.
    if (response.OverallResult == ServiceResult.Success)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("All email messages updated successfully.\r\n");
    }

    // If the method did not return success, print the result message for each email.
    else
    {
        Console.WriteLine("All emails were not successfully saved on the server.\r\n");

        int counter = 1;
        foreach (ServiceResponse resp in response)
        {

            Console.WriteLine("Result for (message {0}): {1}", counter, resp.Result);
            Console.WriteLine("Error Code: {0}", resp.ErrorCode);
            Console.WriteLine("ErrorMessage: {0}\r\n", resp.ErrorMessage);

            counter++;
        }
    }

    return messageItems;

}    

You can update email messages in batches by using the GetItem EWS operation, as shown in following code example. This is also the XML request that the EWS Managed API sends when you use the EWS Managed API to update email messages in batches.

For a list of writable email message elements, see Email properties and elements in EWS in Exchange.

For details about how to send a draft message after it's been updated, see Send a draft email message by using EWS.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages"
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types"
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2007_SP1" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:UpdateItem MessageDisposition="SaveOnly"
                  ConflictResolution="AutoResolve">
      <m:SavedItemFolderId>
        <t:DistinguishedFolderId Id="drafts" />
      </m:SavedItemFolderId>
      <m:ItemChanges>
        <t:ItemChange>
          <t:ItemId Id="m4OVAAA="
                    ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKCy" />
          <t:Updates>
            <t:SetItemField>
              <t:FieldURI FieldURI="item:Subject" />
              <t:Message>
                <t:Subject>Updated subject at 1/17/2014 2:58:09 PM</t:Subject>
              </t:Message>
            </t:SetItemField>
          </t:Updates>
        </t:ItemChange>
        <t:ItemChange>
          <t:ItemId Id="m4OWAAA="
                    ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKCz" />
          <t:Updates>
            <t:SetItemField>
              <t:FieldURI FieldURI="item:Subject" />
              <t:Message>
                <t:Subject>Updated subject at 1/17/2014 2:58:09 PM</t:Subject>
              </t:Message>
            </t:SetItemField>
          </t:Updates>
        </t:ItemChange>
        <t:ItemChange>
          <t:ItemId Id="m4OXAAA="
                    ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKC0" />
          <t:Updates>
            <t:SetItemField>
              <t:FieldURI FieldURI="item:Subject" />
              <t:Message>
                <t:Subject>Updated subject at 1/17/2014 2:58:09 PM</t:Subject>
              </t:Message>
            </t:SetItemField>
          </t:Updates>
        </t:ItemChange>
      </m:ItemChanges>
    </m:UpdateItem>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The server responds to the UpdateItem request with an UpdateItemResponse message that includes a ResponseCode value of NoError, which indicates that each of the updates was saved successfully on the server. Any conflicts are reported in the ConflictResult element.

You can delete messages in batches by using the EWS Managed API DeleteItems method, as shown in the following example.

This example assumes that service is a valid ExchangeService object and that the user has been authenticated to an Exchange server.

public static void BatchDeleteEmailItems(ExchangeService service, Collection<ItemId> itemIds)
{
    // Delete the batch of email message objects.
    // This method call results in an DeleteItem call to EWS.
    ServiceResponseCollection<ServiceResponse> response = service.DeleteItems(itemIds, DeleteMode.SoftDelete, null, AffectedTaskOccurrence.AllOccurrences);
    
    // Check for success of the DeleteItems method call.
    // DeleteItems returns success even if it does not find all the item IDs.
    if (response.OverallResult == ServiceResult.Success)
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Email messages deleted successfully.\r\n");
    }

    // If the method did not return success, print a message.
    else
    {
        Console.WriteLine("Not all email messages deleted successfully.\r\n");
    }
}

You can delete email messages in batches by using the DeleteItem EWS operation, as shown in the following code example. This is also the XML request that the EWS Managed API sends when you use the EWS Managed API to delete email messages in batches.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
               xmlns:m="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/messages"
               xmlns:t="http://schemas.microsoft.com/exchange/services/2006/types"
               xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Header>
    <t:RequestServerVersion Version="Exchange2007_SP1" />
  </soap:Header>
  <soap:Body>
    <m:DeleteItem DeleteType="SoftDelete"
                  AffectedTaskOccurrences="AllOccurrences">
      <m:ItemIds>
        <t:ItemId Id="m4OkAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKDE" />
        <t:ItemId Id="m4OlAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKDF" />
        <t:ItemId Id="m4OmAAA="
                  ChangeKey="CQAAABYAAAApjGm7TnMWQ5TzjbhziLL0AAF/yKDG" />
      </m:ItemIds>
    </m:DeleteItem>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

The server responds to the DeleteItem request with a DeleteItemResponse message that includes a ResponseCode value of NoError for each item that was removed. Note that the operation also returns success if the item ID could not be found.

When one or more email messages in a batched request can't be processed as requested, an error is returned for each email message that failed, and the rest of the emails in the batch are processed as expected. Failures in batch processing can occur if the item was deleted, and therefore can't be sent, retrieved, or updated, or if the item moved to a different folder, and therefore has a new item ID, and cannot be modified with the item ID sent. The information in this section shows how to get error details about failures in batch processing of email message.

To verify the success of a batch process by using the EWS Managed API, you can check that the OverallResult property of the ServiceResponseCollection is equal to ServiceResult.Success. If so, all the emails were processed successfully. If the OverallResult is not equal to ServiceResult.Success, one or more of the emails were not processed successfully. Each of the objects returned in the ServiceResponseCollection contains the following properties:

These properties contain information about why the email messages could not be processed as requested. The examples in this article print out the Result, ErrorCode, and ErrorMessage for each failed message. You can use these results to investigate the issue.

For EWS, to verify the success of a batched process, check the ResponseClass attribute for each item being processed. The following is the basic structure of the ResponseMessageType, the base type from which all response messages are derived.

<ResponseMessage ResponseClass="Success | Warning | Error">
            <MessageText/>
            <ResponseCode/>
            <DescriptiveLinkKey/>
            <MessageXml/>
</ResponseMessage>

The ResponseClass attribute is set to Success if the email was processed successfully, or Error if the email was not processed successfully. For email messages, you will not encounter a Warning during batch processing. If the ResponseClass is Success, the ResponseCode element that follows is also always set to NoError. If the ResponseClass is Error, you need to check the values of the MessageText, ResponseCode, and MessageXml elements to determine what caused the problem. DescriptiveLinkKey is currently unused.

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