What Is an .Eml File and How Does It Work? (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The plain text form of an email that you can save to your device is an .eml file. When users get this kind of file, it's critical that they know how to recognize it and open it appropriately. Learning what this file is and how to access it on different devices can help you retain the original format of your emails and view them easily. In this article, we define an .eml file, discuss how to open it on various platforms, answer FAQs about them, and share tips for organizing emails effectively.

What is an .eml file?

An .eml file is an electronic mail format or an email in plain text. Users can receive and send these files through RFC 822-compliant email programs like Microsoft Outlook. RFC 822 constitutes the basic format and code for emails on the internet. Individuals can also export these files to the archive and scan them for viruses. This type of extension is beneficial since it allows you to preserve an email's original HTML format and headers. This file often contains the following pieces of information:

  • Content of an email message

  • Subject line

  • Sender information

  • Recipient information

  • Date of the message

  • Attachments, such as images or documents

  • Hyperlinks

Related: How to Write Email Salutations (With Tips and Examples)

How to open an .eml file using Windows

Consider following these steps to open this file using Windows:

1. Go to your email provider

To open this type of file on a Windows computer, go to the website where you get your email and log in. This may include Microsoft Outlook and other similar platforms. To open an email, click on the icon or type it into your browser.

2. Double-click on the file to open it

Go to your inbox once you've logged into your email account. Click on the email you wish to save as this type of file. To open it as this file, double-click on it.

3. Download your attachment

This version of your email may show on your screen when you double-click on it. By right-clicking on the file and selecting "Save As", you can save it to your computer. You can then save these attachments to your desktop or computer folders.

How to open an .eml file using a Mac

Here are some steps you can take to open an .eml file using a Mac:

1. Find your file

Locate the file you stored on your Mac. If the file isn't already on your device, go to your email's website and download it using the same instructions as a Windows PC. Once you've located the file you want, double-click on it.

2. Go to Mail and open your message

Use your device's "Mail" and open your file. Select "Open With" from the context menu when you right-click on your file. Then you may click on the "Mail" envelope symbol. Even if you don't have an account, you can open your files in the mail program. To access these files on Macs with previous versions, download the Microsoft mail client.

Related: How to Email a Resume

3. Save the file and rename it

You may download your file to your Mac once you've opened it. Then, to retrieve it later, save it to your desired location. You can save it either in a folder or on your desktop. You may also rename the file to make it simpler to find in the future.

How to open an .eml file using a mobile device

Consider following these steps to help you open this file on a smartphone or tablet:

1. Download apps that can open the file

The first step to opening these kinds of files on your mobile device is to visit your app store to download either the Letter Opener app for Android devices or the Klammer app for all other devices. You can also search for other app options by typing "eml reader" in your search bar. These apps allow you to access these files from your mobile devices.

2. Open the file

If you received your file as an attachment in an email, go to your email app on your device or access your email from an internet browser. You can open the file by clicking on and downloading the attachment. To open files from a website, consider using a file opener app.

3. Save the file

You can then open your file and tap on the attachment at the bottom of the screen. Apps you have downloaded may allow you to view the attachment as they recognize this file type. After reviewing your file, consider pressing the "Save" button to store it on your device.

FAQs about .eml files

Here are answers to some FAQs about these files:

How can you produce a PDF from this file?

Consider downloading a free PDF printer tool to convert a single file into a PDF. Using EML Viewer Pro, you may convert multiple files or files with attachments. Export and choose the files you wish to convert to PDF after you've downloaded this software. Then you can store all the files you have converted on your device.

What are some examples of when I can get a file?

When you get many emails from others, you might receive this file. Someone participating in a court case, for example, may get their emails in this format. When a user forwards or saves an email as a file attachment, this also occurs.

What makes this file a file extension?

The coding behind this file is a file extension because it tells users what kind of file they're opening, as it does with a .jpeg file, for instance. This lets the computer know what types of programs can open it. It's a file format that stores email messages.

Can I open this file without using an email client?

You can open this file without using an email client by installing a third-party file viewer, such as EML Viewer. These allow you to view the contents of the file. You can also use conversion services online to convert your files to other formats, such as PDFs.

Tips for effective email organization

To set up an effective email organization system, you can apply the following tips:

Sort emails into folders with labels

Place each email into a named folder to save time searching through your inbox for a specific message. If an email has critical information that you may want to refer to later, file it away in a specific folder to make it easier to find. You can then go through your inbox and start sorting emails into folders.

Related: 12 Examples of Organization in the Workplace (With Tips)

Make rules to file or archive specific emails automatically

You can create rules for certain emails on many email platforms. You may establish rules to filter items into a specified folder or even remove messages from specific senders automatically. This simplifies the task of repeatedly shifting emails to different folders you plan to view later. For example, if your boss sends you crucial communications on a regular basis, you may set up a rule to flag the messages with a follow-up reminder or to automatically designate them as important.

Organize each email into multiple categories

You may better determine which emails are important and which you can read and react to later by categorizing them. Some email systems allow you to colour-code each message to indicate its significance. To rapidly see messages and determine their urgency status, you may create your own colour-coding scheme.

Delete emails that aren't important

It's important to take time to review your emails and determine which emails are relevant. Delete emails that aren't useful to you to keep your inbox from becoming cluttered. Take your time while considering whether to delete an email. Examine it carefully to see whether it provides a piece of information you may need later. This prevents you from mistakenly deleting crucial emails from your inbox.

Regularly sort your emails

It might take time to look through and arrange all your emails if you receive a lot of them during the day. It's advisable to set aside some time each week to analyze unread emails and transfer pending communications to the appropriate files. You can clear clutter from your email platform without feeling rushed or behind if you schedule time for it.

Respond to emails promptly

If you receive an email that asks for a short response or an answer to a question, respond to it as quickly as possible. You may immediately answer the email, transfer it to the appropriate folder, or archive it, and proceed to your other tasks this way. This relieves the pressure of knowing that these messages are still waiting for a response in your inbox.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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