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Mail to ticket automation

Mail to ticket automation
Scan several mailboxes to create or update tickets.
Ticket Creation from eMails

Compatibility issue: for iTop version lower than 2.4.0, there is a special installation/upgrade process.

For iTop versions older than 2.3.0 use a previous version of this component


This extension runs in the background to scan the defined mail inbox(es) and either create or update tickets based on the content of the incoming emails.

  • On Ticket creation, it fills the description of the ticket with the content of the email, set the caller, the customer, copy attachments, add contacts and many other fields…
  • On Ticket update, it extracts as best as possible, the last reply part of the email to update the Public Log of the ticket, copy attachment, change the status of the ticket and add contacts


  • Determines whether a Ticket must be created or updated based either on the custom headers added by iTop in the eMail (in case of replies) or based on a configurable pattern in the title
  • Connect to any mailbox using either the POP3 or IMAP protocol
  • Interactive configuration of the mail inboxes
  • Processes the incoming eMails in both HTML or plain text format
  • Support both Incidents and User Request tickets
  • Ticket's attachments are automatically turned into attachments of the Ticket (“dangerous” types of attachments can be excluded)
  • Automatic detection of duplicate attachments (like signature images)
  • Keeps the messages in the mailbox until the corresponding Ticket is either closed or deleted
  • Manual retry in case an error occurs when processing an eMail
  • Images embedded inside an HTML mail are displayed inline in iTop as well.
  • Images “too small” (below configurable dimensions) are not imported as attachments (to exclude signatures)
  • Images bigger than configurable dimensions can be resized automatically before uploading into iTop
  • “Inline images” are displayed at a reduced (configurable) size and can be “zoomed-in” by clicking on them.
  • Automatically reject “Autoreply” emails, based on a set of configurable patterns to be tested against the subject of the email
  • Add the other recipients of the email (To: and CC:) as additional contacts on the ticket (configurable). The contact must already exist with that exact email, it won't be created, just linked to the Ticket..
  • Apply a stimulus (configurable, depending on the state of the ticket) to change the state of the ticket upon reception of an email.
  • Add a new type of Trigger: Trigger (when updated by mail) which allow to notify when a Ticket is updated through a received email.

If you want to trigger a Notification '(on object creation)' limited to Ticket created by email, use origin='email' in the OQL.

Revision History

Version Release Date Comments
3.0.7 2017-08-28 Duplicated dictionary entries collision during CSV import (attributes behavior and error_behavior from MailInboxStandard class).
3.0.6 2017-03-31 EmailReplica error message would throw a fatal error if it could not be persisted to DB (eg. With 4 bytes unicode characters). We now save a default error message when it is not possible to persist it, and we dump the original message in the IssueLog.
3.0.5 2016-11-10 Now supports several MailInbox scanning a single email address mailbox, as long as they have distinct folders (Mailbox (for IMAP) property). Also, fixed a regression introduced in 3.0.x, use_message_id_as_uid configuration parameter was not working anymore.
3.0.4 2016-10-05 Support of inline images in messages issued by Lotus Notes.
3.0.3 2016-08-26 Fixed regressions introduced in 3.0.x: Apply stimulus not working. CRON interrupted by a fatal error when the sender is unknown (in case of a ticket update). Empty description if the target field is in plain text. Losing CR in the case log if the email is in plain text (email created with thunderbird, and no rich text formatting)
3.0.2 2016-08-09 Make sure that the setup does not crash if some of the prerequisites (PEAR or IMAP) are not installed.
3.0.1 2016-07-26 Support of adding more contacts (To: and CC:) to the ticket. Ability to apply a stimulus (to change the state of a ticket) when receiving an update by email.
2.6.12 2016-06-07 Security: only administrators can see the password of mail inboxes. Regression: properly import all attachments (not only the last one if it's not an image). Enhancement: preserve hyperlinks when converting from HTML to plain text.
2.6.11 2016-02-02 Developers only: fixed a compatibility issue with alternatives to the module itop-standard-email-synchro. The regression has been introduced in 2.6.6 and does not impact the behavior of the component unless you have developped your own alternative to itop-standard-email-synchro.
2.6.10 2015-10-28 Automatically reject “Autoreply” emails (cf undesired-subject-patterns below). Support of emails with no subject.
2.6.9 2015-09-29 Properly initialize ENUM values (#1102), prevent updating tickets of a different class than the one configured in the mail inbox.
2.6.8 2015-03-09 Fixed the processing of the images_maximum_size parameter to prevent errors when the images are not to be resized. Fixed the pattern for detecting blockquote tags inside HTML replies.
2.6.7 2015-03-05 Suppressed a warning when ignoring small images. Change the default value for “body_parts_order”.
2.6.6 2015-01-21 Support of inline images, filtering of “too small” images and resizing of “big” images.
2.6.5 2014-08-01 New configuration parameter to workaround a problem with Gmail/IMAP.
2.6.4 2014-07-21 Enhancement: allow to delete the emails from the server immediately after processing them. French translation of the “TriggerOnMailUpdate” and make the trigger importable.
2.6.3 2014-06-04 Enhancement: support the creation of Change and Problem tickets.
2.6.2 2014-04-09 Bug fix in order to support mailboxes containing a backslash in their name (likely to happen using IMAP).
2.6.1 2014-04-08 Addition of the German localization (though it's not 100% translated).
2.6.0 2014-03-05 Improved error processing (e.g. keeping the errors in the mailbox, manual retry) and better decoding of the “new part” of the message when it is a reply. Enhanced HTML to text conversion, fixed the processing of “Outlook's forwarded messages” as attachments.
2.5 n/a Support of several mail inboxes. Interactive configuration of the mail inboxes via the iTop user interface. Various improvements for the parsing/decoding of the eMails
2.2 2013-07-22 “Legacy” version supporting only one mailbox (configured from the iTop configuration file). The documentation for this version is available here: Ticket Creation from eMails (legacy)


  • Each mail inbox configured corresponds to one type of Ticket (i.e. User Requests or Incidents, but not both).
  • Connecting to a POP3 mailbox via the php IMAP extension does not work. You must use the POP3 configuration via PEAR::NetSocket for such a case.
  • There is no validation that the target class of the Mail Inbox is an existing class in iTop. (i.e. don't try to create incidents if the Incident Management module is not installed).
  • The support of inline images works only if the preferred order for email parts is configured as “text/html,text/plain” (i.e. HTML first), which is now the default for all new installations.

When processing an email considered as an update to a ticket, the extensions tries to extract the “new part” of the message (excluding the content from previous messages). However, depending on the format of the reply (which itself depends on the email client software used) it may not be possible to extract this information in a reliable manner. In such a case the whole text of the email will be used. Unfortunately, the widely used MS Outlook is an example of such client software where the replies cannot reliably be identified. Refer to the configuration parameter html-tags-to-remove for explanations about how to adjust this behavior.


  • PHP 5.2.1+ with the IMAP extension enabled if you want to connect to an IMAP server, or PEAR::NetSocket (iTop comes with its own copy of PEAR::POP3) if you want to connect to a POP3 server.
  • A connection to a POP3 or IMAP server with a valid mailbox.
  • cron.php must be running to enable the processing of incoming eMails.
  • For resizing big images, PHP GD must be installed.

On Ubuntu 16.04 the prerequisites can be installed using the php-pear, php-net-socket and php-imap packages:

sudo apt-get install php-pear php-net-socket php-imap

Installation & upgrade

  • Expand the content of the zip file in the “extensions” folder of iTop.

Compatibility issue: for iTop version lower than 2.4.0, there is a special installation/upgrade process.

  • Make sure that the web server has enough rights to read all the files in the “extensions” folder.
  • Launch the setup program, and when prompted for the list of extensions to install, check “Mail to ticket automation” from the list

Using IMAP on Ubuntu (prior to 16.04): the package php5-imap does not enable the IMAP module. To use the IMAP module on Ubuntu you must install it and then enable it explicitly:

sudo apt-get install php5-imap
sudo php5enmod imap

In any case, you may need to restart the web server to take into account the newly installed packages:

sudo service apache2 restart

Data Mapping

When creating a new ticket from an incoming email message, the application automatically fills the following fields of the ticket:

  • Title = subject of the mail
  • Description = body of the mail
  • Caller (caller_id) = sender of the mail (identified by her/his email address)
  • Organization (org_id) = organization of the caller
  • Origin (if this field exists on the ticket) = 'mail'

Default (i.e. constant) values must be supplied, via the “Ticket Default Values” setting, for any other mandatory field of the Ticket, otherwise the creation of the Ticket will fail.

When updating an existing Ticket, the application add an entry into the public_log field (configurable, see below), with the “new part” of the message. See below for more explanation about how the “new part” is extracted from the message.

Specifying default values

The syntax for specifying default values is the following:

  • One field per line, with the syntax:
  • field_code:default_value

If the field to initialize is a key to another object (for the fields like org_id, service_id, etc…) you can specify either the numeric identifier of the target object (e.g. service_id:153) or its name (e.g. org_id:Demo), provided that the name is unique.

The default values are applied after the standard data mapping described above. Therefore it is possible to override the default data mapping with some constant values.

If the incoming email has no subject, you can specify the default title to be set for the Ticket via the field “Default Title (if subject is empty)”. This is different from the default values listed above, since this value will be used only if the email has no subject. If the “Default Title (if subject is empty)” the system will supply a default value (“No Subject”) since the title is mandatory to create the Ticket.


The behavior for each mailbox (which messages to process and whether to create or update a Ticket) is managed via the menu “Incoming eMail Inboxes” in the “Admin tools” section:

Click, “Create a new Mail Inbox” to create a new configuration for a mail inbox. This displays the following form:

New mail inbox

Mailbox Configuration

The “Mailbox configuration” defines how the application connects to the mail inbox:

Field Meaning Sample Value
Mail Server The IP address or fully qualified hostname of the mail server or
Login The name of the mail account used for connecting to the mailbox
Password The password for the above mentioned account
Protocol The protocol to connect to the mail server: either POP3 or IMAP. POP3
Port The TCP port to connect to the server. The standard values are 110 (secured: 995) for POP3 and 143 (secured: 993) for IMAP 110
Mailbox (for IMAP) The IMAP mailbox (folder) to scan for incoming messages. If omitted the default (root) mailbox will be scanned. This option is ignored when using the POP3 protocol. INBOX.Folder.Subfolder
Active If set to “Yes”, the inbox will be polled. Otherwise no. Yes
Debug trace Use this setting for tracing all the background operations related to this inbox for debugging and troubleshooting purposes. It is not recommended to activate this option for long periods on production since it tends to generate a lot of output which slows down the server No

Emails in Error

This section defines the behavior when an incoming email cannot be processed properly. The email can be either kept in the mailbox (and remembered as an “Error” and no longer processed) or deleted immediately from the mailbox. Furthermore the original message can be forwarded to an administrator (as an attachment) along with some explanation about the cause of the error.

Field Meaning Sample Value
Behavior Whether or not the emails processed with an error should be kept in the mailbox. If so, the message will be flagged as “Error” and no longer processed, but still available for reading from the mailbox. Keep the message in the mailbox
Forward eMails to The email address to which to forward the email when an error occurs. The forwarded message contains some explanation about the error and the original email as an attachment. If this address is left empty, the incoming emails which cannot be processed will simply be deleted from the inbox without further notice.
(From) The IP address to be used as the “sender” of the error notification. For security reasons, many mail servers do not relay messages if the sender address is not a known address.

Behavior on Incoming eMails

This section defines the behavior of the application when processing incoming emails.

Field Meaning Sample Value
Behavior The behavior when a new message arrives in the inbox. The possible values are:
Create or Update: create a new Ticket or Update an existing one if a matching Ticket is found
Create new ticket: each new message creates a new Ticket
Update existing tickets: all incoming messages which do not match an existing Ticket are treated as errors.
Create or Update
After processing the eMail The action to be taken after successfully processing an incoming eMail: either keep the eMail on the mail server (until the associated ticket is closed or deleted) or delete the eMail immediately. Keep the eMail on the mail server
Ticket Class The class of Tickets to create or update when receiving an email. Make sure that you select a valid class for your iTop configuration. User Request
Ticket default Values The syntax for “Ticket Default Values” and “New Person's Default Values” are:
- one field to initialize per line
- <field_code>:<constant_value>
Default Title (if subject is empty) The value to be used as the title of the Ticket, if the subject of the incoming email is empty. If this field is left empty the system will supply a default value (“No Subject”) Empty subject
Title pattern Each notification sent by the application contains a reference to the “source” Ticket in the MessageID field of the email. Email client applications generally store this identifier in the “in-reply-to” or “references” header of the reply email. This is the primary mean of identifying that an email message is related to a ticket. If this header is not present in the incoming message, the application can parse the “subject” field to look for a given match. This pattern determines how to parse the subject. The pattern specified here must follow the PCRE syntax. /R-([0-9]{6})/
Stimuli to apply A list of state_code:stimulus_code (one per line) to define the stimulus to apply (after updating a ticket), for the given state of the ticket. This is useful for example to automatically reassign a ticket which is in the state “pending”. pending:ev_assign

Unknown Callers

This section determines the behavior of the application when the sender of an email (From:) does not correspond to a known email address in the application. There are two possibilites:

  • Reject the eMail: the incoming email is treated as an error and thus either forwarded to an administrator or deleted.
  • Create a new person: a new Person will be created based on the email of the sender and constant values defined below.
Field Meaning Sample Value
Behavior in case of Unknown Caller What to do when the sender of the incoming email message does not correspond to any Person recorded in the application Create a new person
New Person's Default Values Default values for initializing the new Person. The application automatically fills the email field with the email address of the sender of the message. All other mandatory fields must be initialized with constant values provided here, otherwise the creation of the new Person will fail. first_name:Unknown

Behavior for Additional Contacts

This section determines the behavior of the application regarding the additional recipients of the incoming email (persons in To: and CC: of the message). It is possible to specify if/when the email addresses which correspond to a valid contact in iTop are added to the ticket (via the Contacts tab). Email addresses which do not correspond to a valid contact in iTop are always ignored.

Field Meaning Sample Value
Add more contacts (To, CC) Whether or not to add the To: and CC: email addresses as additional contacts to the ticket. The possible values are:
* Never: no additional contact will be added
* Always: additional contacts will be added when creating and updating a ticket
* When creating a ticket: additional contacts will be added only when creating a new ticket
* When updating a ticket: additional contacts will be added only when updating an existing ticket

Other configuration parameters

In addition to the configuration performed by creating a Mail Inbox object using the user interface of the application, a few parameters are available in the configuration file to fine tune the behavior of the application.

The parameters listed below apply to all the Mail Inboxes

Starting with version 2.6.6, the recommended value for the configuration parameter body_parts_order is text/html,text/plain. Indeed in order to properly import the images embedded inside an HTML email, the HTML version of the email must be processed instead of the plain text version.

        'combodo-email-synchro' => array (
                'debug' => false,
                'periodicity' => 30,
                'body_parts_order' => 'text/html,text/plain',
                'pop3_auth_option' => 'USER',
                'imap_options' => array (
                          0 => 'imap',
                'exclude_attachment_types' => array (
                          0 => 'application/exe',
                'maximum_email_size' => '10M',
                'introductory-patterns' => array (
                          0 => '/^le .+ a écrit :$/i',
                          1 => '/^on .+ wrote:$/i',
                          2 => '|^[0-9]{4}/[0-9]{1,2}/[0-9]{1,2} .+:$|',
                'multiline-delimiter-patterns' => array (
                          0 => '/\\RFrom: .+\\RSent: .+\\R/m',
                          1 => '/\\R_+\\R/m',
                          2 => '/\\RDe : .+\\R\\R?Envoyé : /m',
                          3 => '/\\RDe : .+\\RDate d\'envoi : .+\\R/m',
                          4 => '/\\R-----Message d\'origine-----\\R/m',
                          5 => '/\\RExpéditeur: .+\\RDate:/m',
                          6 => '/\\RDe : .+\\RDate : /m',
                          7 => '/\\TO:.+\\RCC:/m',
                'big_files_dir' => '',
                'use_message_id_as_uid' => false, // Don't change this unless you know what you are doing!
                'images_minimum_size' => '100x20',
		'images_maximum_size' => '',
                'undesired-subject-patterns' => array (
                          0 => '/^Out Of Office/i',
                          1 => '/^Automatic answer$/i',
                          2 => '/^Réponse automatique:/',
Parameter Meaning Default Value
debug Set to true to turn on debug output false
periodicity Interval (in seconds) at which to check for incoming messages 30
body_parts_order Comma separated, ordered, list of MIME types, determining the preferred part of the message to retrieve for populating the description or public_log of the Ticket. Note: new since 2.6.6 In order to import as inline images the images embedded in HTML, the HTML part of the email must be processed in priority over the text part. Therefore the recommended configuration is text/html,text/plain. text/html,text/plain
pop3_auth_options POP3 authentication options. Possible values are: 'CRAM-MD5', 'APOP' , 'PLAIN' , 'LOGIN', 'USER' USER
imap_options Additional IMAP options. Possible values are listed here: IMAP flags. Warning: Do NOT use the pop3 flag to connect to a POP3 mailbox using the PHP IMAP extension. Due to a limitation of the IMAP extension this will not work! If you want to connect to a POP3 server, use the POP3 protocol instead. array('imap', 'novalidate-cert')
exclude_attachment_types Array of MIME types to exclude when retrieving attachments array('application/attachment')
html-tags-to-remove new in 3.0.0 Used for computing the “new part” of HTML messages by removing the specified tags. The syntax is an array of tag_name => array of CSS class names.
 'blockquote' => array(), 
 // No class specified, remove any blockquote tag
 'div' => array('gmail_quote', 'moz-cite-prefix'),
 'pre' => array('moz-signature'),
maximum_email_size If an incoming email is bigger than the specified size, the message will saved to the big_files_dir if it is configured and deleted from the inbox. A notification message will be sent to the administrator as for other “errors” happening when processing the mail inbox. The size can be specified using the 'short' notation: 100K, 3M, 2G… If set to zero, no limit will be enforced… with the risk of a PHP crash if there is not enough memory to decode an incoming email. 10M
introductory-patterns only for plain text emails When computing the “new part” of a message, lines matching this pattern and preceding what looks like an “old part” of the message, are removed. Adapt this list to your localization… and favorite email client dialect. The pattern specified here must follow the PCRE syntax.
array (
  0 => '/^le .+ a écrit :$/i',
  1 => '/^on .+ wrote:$/i',
  2 => '|^[0-9]{4}/[0-9]{1,2}/[0-9]{1,2} .+:$|', 
multiline-delimiter-patterns only for plain text emails Multi-line regular expression patterns used for computing the “new part” of a message. each of theses patterns determine the beginning of the “old part” of a message, when a message is a “Reply” to another message. Everything that matches this pattern (and all the text that follows this match) will be removed for the “new part”. All patterns are tested successively. The pattern that provides a match closer to the beginning of the text will be used. Adapt this list to your localization and to the dialect of your favorite email clients… The pattern specified here must follow the PCRE syntax.
array (
  0 => '/\\RFrom: .+\\RSent: .+\\R/m',
  1 => '/\\R_+\\R/m',
  2 => '/\\RDe : .+\\R\\R?Envoyé : /m',
  3 => '/\\RDe : .+\\RDate d\'envoi : .+\\R/m',
  4 => '/\\R-----Message d\'origine-----\\R/m',
  5 => '/\\RExpéditeur: .+\\RDate:/m',
  6 => '/\\RDe : .+\\RDate : /m',
  7 => '/\\TO:.+\\RCC:/m',
big_files_dir The path to a directory where to store emails bigger than maximum_email_size. If this directory is not configured, the emails are simply deleted before notifying the administrator.
use_message_id_as_uid Boolean. For IMAP connections only. Whether or not to use the identifier from the message (MessageID) instead of the Mailbox' unique identifier (UID) to uniquely identify the already processed messages. This can be useful to workaround problems when the UID of the messages on the server changes between sessions (like with Gmail). If you toggle this value, make sure that you first empty the mailbox (and stop the cron job), since all messages present in the mailbox when the setting is changed will be considered as new and processed again. false
images_minimum_size new in 2.6.6 Minimum dimensions for importing images. Images smaller than the given dimensions will be ignored and not imported as attachments. The dimensions are expressed as a string widthxheight (where width and height are integer numbers, in pixels). 100×20
images_maximum_size new in 2.6.6 Images bigger than these dimensions (for example 1000×1000) will be resized to fit in the given dimensions. The dimensions are expressed as a string widthxheight (where width and height are integer numbers, in pixels). Note this feature is available only if PHP GD is installed. If no dimensions are given, the images are never resized.
undesired-subject-patterns An array of regular expression patterns (as PHP text strings) that will be used to test the subject of the incoming email. If any of these pattern matches, the email will be considered as “undesirable” and rejected (the same processing as for any other error case will then be applied). The patterns specified here must follow the PCRE syntax. array()

When specifying PCRE patterns inside the configuration file, make sure that you double the backslash characters, since backslashes must be escaped inside PHP litteral text strings.

        'itop-standard-email-synchro' => array (
                'ticket_log' => array (
                          'UserRequest' => 'public_log',
                          'Incident' => 'public_log',
Parameter Meaning Default Value
ticket_log An associative array (hash) defining, for each class of Ticket, the code of the attribute to set when updating a ticket from an incoming message. You don't need to change this value unless you modified the Data Model.
array (
  'ticket_log' => array (
    'UserRequest' => 'public_log',
    'Incident' => 'public_log',

Checking the connection

Once the Mail Inbox object has been created, you can use the tab “Mailbox Content” in the details of the object to check that the application can properly connect to the mail server and retrieve messages from it.

Mailbox Content tab

To deeply inspect the content of the mailbox it is always better to use a real mail client application. The view provided in this tab is just use to help troubleshooting connection problems.

This view also allows to perform two different kind of actions on a set of messages:

  • “Reset Status”: for messages which are either flagged as “Error” or “Already processed”, this status will be reset and the email will considered again as “New” and thus candidate for processing the next time cron.php runs.
  • “Delete eMail”: deletes the message(s) from the mailbox. No confirmation will be asked !!


Since the processing of the incoming emails occurs in the background, it is not always easy to understand what happens when a ticket is not processed as expected. In order to trace the execution of this background task, several levels of tracing are available:

  • by setting the “Debug trace” field to “Yes”, more trace will be generated when processing the mailbox. This trace goes to the output of the cron job, and is also captured (limited to 256 KB) in the database. This captured trace is visible in the “Debug Trace” tab of the Mail Inbox object.
  • the configuration setting debug for the module combodo-email-synchro can be set to true in the configuration file. This activates even more traces for all the configured mail inboxes. This additional trace appears only in the output of the cron job.
  • the cron job can be passed the optional parameter --verbose=1 to activate some debug trace for all the background tasks. This additional trace also goes into the output of the cron job.

If the cron job is not already running in the background it is convenient to run it manually from the command line, to see what's happening:

  php cron.php --auth_user=<user> --auth_pwd=<pwd> --verbose=1

Debug trace tab

extensions/ticket-from-email.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/16 17:32 by dflaven