Microsoft Outlook uses an MSG file extension (.msg), but the issue is that Mac users can’t easily open MSG files. This guide will help you learn about the MSG format and how to open an MSG file on the Windows and Mac operating systems.
What is an MSG File?
You see your emails as usual on Microsoft Outlook, however, it stores your emails as MSG files when you export them. But that’s not it. Outlook is not just a mail application. It is also a calendar, contacts database, and task management tool.
And it stores every item as an MSG file when exported. So, when you see an MSG file, it could be an email, a task, an appointment, a contact, a calendar entry, or any other saved Outlook item.
If an MSG file is an email, it stores the time, date, sender and receiver’s information, subject, attachments, hyperlinks, and the message body, along with its format.
(Another program uses MSG files completely different from Outlook’s MSGs. That program is a game called Fallout. Both Fallout 1 and 2 use the Fallout Message file format to save its game messages and dialogues.)
What is a PST File on Outlook?
Just as MSG files store single emails or outlook items, the same way PST files (.pst) can save multiple Outlook items. A single MSG file would have only one email, appointment, task, or contact, while a single PST file can have emails, tasks, appointments, and contacts. Usually, when you export your Outlook data, your data files are saved in the PST file format.
Is the MSG File Format Safe?
An MSG file is not harmful as it’s only a file format to save Outlook items. But the safety of MSG files depends on their origin and contents. If you created an MSG file, then it’s completely safe for you.
But if you received an MSG file, it could contain any virus or malware. So, it’s much like an email. It could be harmless or risky, depending on its contents.
Why Can I Only Open the EML File Format on Outlook for Mac?
Outlook uses the MSG format, but it doesn’t support MSG files if you’re using Outlook for Mac. Instead, you will see your exported emails in the EML (.eml) format. EML is an E-Mail Message format that can be easily opened by Outlook, Thunderbird, and other mail apps on both Mac and Windows.
How To Open an MSG File on Mac and Linux?
Opening email message (.msg files) on Mac computers is a hassle because they don’t open even with Microsoft Outlook. If you’ve received an MSG file and want to see its content, you must look for other options. We have listed down methods you can use to open the MSG file format on macOS and Linux computers.
- MSG Viewer Applications (Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey)
- Access MSG Emails with Online MSG viewers (Using a Browser)
- Open an MSG File on Mac Using an App on Google Drive
- Convert the MSG Email File Format to EML
- Send MSGs to Your Outlook Email Address
Method 1: MSG Viewer Applications (Mozilla Thunderbird, SeaMonkey)
We used Thunderbird and SeaMonkey but found that Thunderbird couldn’t open MSG files. SeaMonkey successfully opened the MSG file but couldn’t load the message body. You can try them and let us know if they worked for you.
There are some more applications available that open MSG files. They are either completely free, or their free version has some features locked that only unlock when you upgrade. However, their free versions are good for viewing MSG files:
- Open your browser and go to Google.
- Type ‘Free MSG viewer software’.
- Check out websites and select one. Download and install the software.
- Open the MSG file with the new program.
Make sure to scan the software’s installation file (.exe file) with VirusTotal before installing.
Method 2: Access MSG Emails with Online MSG viewers (Using a Browser)
If you don’t like installing programs on your Mac, you can use your browser and an online MSG viewer to read an MSG file. It is the quickest method to open MSG files on Mac and Linux.
- Open your web browser and go to Google.
- Type ‘Free online MSG viewer’.
- Find an online viewer from the list and open its website.
- It will show the option to upload a file.
- Once uploaded, it will show the opened MSG file.
Method 3: Open an MSG File on Mac Using an App on Google Drive
Most of us have a Google account so using Drive to open an MSG file is a convenient option for Mac and Linux users.
- Open your web browser and go to Google Drive.
- Enter your email and password.
- On the main Google Drive page, click the ‘New’ button on the left.
- Click ‘File Upload’.
- Select the MSG file and click ‘Open’.
- Right-click the MSG file, move your mouse cursor to ‘Open with’, and click ‘Connect more apps’.
- In the newly opened window, click the search box and type ‘MSG viewer’.
- Click the first app in the list and install it.
- When installing, go to your MSG file and right-click it. Move your mouse cursor to ‘Open with’ and then click the app you just installed.
- It will open the MSG email file in a new tab.
Method 4: Convert the MSG Email File Format to EML
You can find several online file format converters and then change the MSG file to EML, PDF, and other readable formats. Follow these steps:
- Open your browser and go to ASPOSE.
- Upload your MSG file and select the output format by clicking the drop-down menu next to ‘Save as’.
- Click ‘CONVERT’.
- When the conversion is completed, download the file.
- The file is now in EML format.
- You can easily open it using Outlook, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, and any application that can open EML files.
If you don’t have these mail programs, you should convert the MSG file to PDF by following the same procedure and then open it using your web browser.
Method 5: Send MSGs to Your Outlook Email Address
Outlook is an email service by Microsoft that supports MSG files.
- Open your browser and go to Outlook.com.
- Sign in or create your free account.
- When logged in, compose an email, attach the MSG file to it, and send it to yourself (Outlook email).
- Now open the email from your Outlook email inbox and view the MSG file.
How To Open MSG Files on Windows Computers?
Opening the MSG file format on Windows PCs is fairly easy as Outlook and Windows are both products of Microsoft, and they support all Microsoft features. If you’re having difficulty opening MSGs on Windows, these are the methods you can apply.
- Use the Microsoft Outlook Mail Application
- Open MSG Files with Third-Party MSG Viewer Software
- Online Outlook Mail Message Viewers (Use a Web Browser)
- Send it to Your Outlook Email
Method 1: Use the Microsoft Outlook Mail Application
The simplest way to open an MSG file on Windows is with Microsoft Outlook. Double-click the file and, if its default app is Outlook, it will automatically open in Outlook. In case, its defaults are not set, follow these steps:
- Right-click the MSG file and click ‘Properties’.
- Click ‘Change’ to change the default app for this file format.
- A menu with apps will appear. Select ‘Outlook’ and click ‘OK’.
- Now click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.
Now you can open the MSG file through Outlook by double-clicking it.
Method 2: Open MSG Files with Third-Party MSG Viewer Software
Many free and paid applications open files in MSG format. Simply:
- Go to Google.
- Search for ‘Free MSG viewer software.
- Download and install one. Use it to open the MSG file.
Method 3: Online Outlook Mail Message Viewers (Use a Web Browser)
You can also use online MSG viewers to quickly read MSG emails on your web browser without installing any program on your PC. Some may be paid, but they let you read MSG files for free online.
- Go to Google.
- Type ‘Free online MSG viewers’.
- Go to any website, upload the MSG file, and view the email.
Method 4: Send it to Your Outlook Email
If you don’t have Microsoft Outlook installed on your Windows computer, you can easily read an MSG file by sending it to your Outlook or Live email.
- Go to Outlook and sign in using your web browser.
- Please create a new email, attach the MSG file, and send it yourself.
- Open the email with the MSG file.
How To Read MSG Files on iPhone and Android?
For Android and iPhones, the easiest method to open MSG files without Outlook is to install an app that can read MSG files.
- Open Google Play Store or App Store.
- Search ‘MSG viewer’ or ‘MSG reader’.
- Select an app from the list and install it.
- Open the MSG file with that app.
For more methods, refer to the ‘How to open an MSG file on Mac and Linux’ section above. Use the methods that are applicable for mobiles.
Opening an MSG file is difficult on Mac, Linux, Android, and iPhones. However, several methods to open them have been explained in this guide. Apply them to read Outlook’s MSG files easily.