How To View .EML Files in Microsoft Windows?

It’s not uncommon to find.eml file attachments in email messages. Gmail users will often receive a .eml file attachment when someone forwards an email message to them from an email client. Unless the right software is installed on a Windows computer, you may find you are unable to read .eml files.  This article looks at two ways to open .eml files. First, an online .eml viewer, and secondly, a Windows software for offline viewing of .eml files.

EML File icon, (C) 2012 Encryptomatic LLC
Eml File Icon

What Is a .Eml File?

An .eml file is a self-contained email message. It includes all of the information necessary for web servers to relay the message across the internet to it’s intended recipient. Eml files can be encrypted, but usually they are not.  In fact, if you open a .eml file with a text editor, you will be able to read some of the message text, while other parts of the file will appear to be encoded and illegible. The parts of the .eml file that look like it may be encrypted might just be a file attachment that has been text encoded.  In the images below, you’ll see examples of what a .eml file looks like when opened in a text editor. 

A .eml file opened in a text editor.
A .eml file opened in a text editor

What a .gif file looks like in a text editor.
A .gif file encoded as text, as it appears in a text viewer.

With the right software, you will be able to open the .eml file, read the fully formatted email message and even extract those encoded file attachments and save them to your hard drive. Obviously a text editor is not the right software to use to see a complete .eml file, but it may still give you an idea about what’s inside.

How Can I Open a .Eml File?

If you only have a couple of .eml files to open, or if you only have an occasional need, there is no need to install special software on your computer. You can use Message Viewer Online, a free service that will render both .eml and Outlook .msg files.   It’s simple to use. First visit the Message Viewer Online website, and then upload your .eml file. That’s it! Your message will be decoded and then shown in your web browser. You can download the file attachments by clicking on them. Encryptomatic LLC, the operators of the website, promise that no information is collected or retained from the .eml file, and all uploaded content is erased after your session ends.

Open .eml files online with this free viewer
Online EML File Viewer

Windows Software To Help Open .Eml Files

.Eml files can also be opened offline using free and commercial software. Microsoft Outlook can open individual .eml files, as can the free Thunderbird email client. These email client applications are quite large, and they will only open .eml files individually.

What happens if you have hundreds or thousands of .eml files that you want to browse or search?  Consider installing a dedicated email viewing application such as Pst Viewer Lite. This Windows desktop software is very affordable at just $29.99, and it easier to install than a full sized email client. Pst Viewer Lite can open .eml files as well as other email emails, such as Outlook .pst, .ost, .msg and .mht files.

.EML file viewer free trial. Download PST Viewer Lite.
Pst Viewer Lite renders and searches .eml files

Download a free trial of Pst Viewer Lite and try it for 15 days.