MS Outlook is one of the most popular systems for mail management, but it has strong competitors. If you do not have this app on your computer, you can still view files stored in its native formats. What’s more, MSG and EML can be opened with free tools.
1. Use a Viewer
Functionality varies. For example, this offline email viewer for Windows will let you view and organize your emails. It can also create a report file to help you keep track of your correspondence. Getting started is easy:
- Download and install the viewer.
- Locate the files in the folder tree.
- Click on any email to open it immediately.
Copy, move or delete emails if necessary. Create a “fact file” in TXT, PDF, XLS, CSV, or HTML. It can include all or some of the fields like Sender and Attachment.
2. Change Extension
Changing the EML extension to *.mht will let you open the files in Internet Explorer. Although other browsers also recognize MHTML, they may not format your files correctly. Here is what to do:
- Enable file extensions if they are hidden on your system. In Windows 11, the Explorer window includes the View tab with the corresponding function. In older versions, you can access it from the Control Panel (Folder Options).
- Right-click on your email file.
- Choose the renaming option.
- Manually replace “eml” after the dot with “mht”. You will be warned that the changes may cause problems (don’t worry, you won’t spoil your files!). Confirm your choice.
- Double-click on the file to open it in Internet Explorer. If the browser does not open as the default program, right-click on the file and select it from the “Open with” list.
This method only works for EML files, and it will not let you download any attachments. You can similarly open MSG files after replacing their extension with .html. This will make them readable for all popular browsers, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You will see the contents without attachments.
3. View EML as Plain Text
This method is simple, but it is not convenient for everyone. First, you will see a lot of additional text that looks like nonsense unless you are familiar with HTML. Secondly, no images or attachments will be accessible. On the upside, all you need to do is right-click on the file and open it with Notepad.
The beginning of the message will be indicated by the <html> and <body> tags, while links will have the <a href= tags. Unless you know what to look for, this method may be confusing.
4. Open EML or MSG in SeaMonkey
Finally, you can open files of both formats in other mail clients. EML is quite common, so you should have no difficulty finding a suitable application. For example, you could use Apple Mail or Thunderbird.
SeaMonkey, a free mail client from Mozilla, is capable of opening both formats. It will let you view them on Windows, Mac, or Linux. You can also open files without registering an account.