Most of my colleagues use Outlook on Windows and I need to access emails stored in .msg format (don't ask, it's complicated).

My understanding is that .msg is an Outlook file format, but Outlook 2011 on Mac can't open them. When I right-click on the file and ask to open with Outlook, it creates an email with the .msg file as an attachment. Using various dragging and trying to open with the file menu also don't help.

Any ideas on how to open these on Mac? Preferably without having to install additional software.


9 Answers 9


I'm sorry to say, currently .msg files can't be opened using Outlook 2011. I have found the only way is one of three things:

  1. Get them in a .pst file ( which might not work for you, cause you are getting them as a .msg file for a reason).

  2. Install Windows and Outlook on your Mac through Boot Camp (although it seems like to much just to view emails).

  3. Try Klammer (in the Mac Store) it will let you open them, and on their site is says open in Outlook.

I think your best bet might be number 3.


Can saved Outlook email and contacts (in .msg format) be converted and then imported?

Microsoft Office 2008 - Entourage and .msg files

  • 5
    Thanks! Crazy that MS doesn't support its own file formats.
    – minou
    Jan 12, 2012 at 21:38
  • @Chillie, re "Klammer"; odd link..
    – Pacerier
    Jan 22, 2020 at 7:03
  • @Pacerier Thanks for the letting me know the link is broken now. I updated it.
    – Chillie
    Jan 22, 2020 at 16:26

For everyone in 2016 who is also looking for a free software without IAPs and similiar "problems" (MailRaider for example was free years ago):

MSGViewer is a free software, which can be downloaded via sourceforge. It does, what the name stands for: viewing / showing the content of the msg files! I just tried it after browsing for a good software that does not cost 10 Dollars or more and I can recommend it.

MSGViewer SourceForge link.

Edit: Just had an .msg file with images inside: msgviewer is also capable of showing them.


The simplest solution I found if you have an outlook account is:

  1. Open your online inbox: https://outlook.office.com/.
  2. Attach your .msg file on a draft message.
  3. Click to open it using your browser.

So for those who don't need additional software installation, this solution may help !

It works on any OS with a modern browser installed.


MailRaider by Pascal Harris seems to work well with my initial use and, best of all, it's free:

Are you a Switcher? Have you got old e-mails archived somewhere? Have you ever wished that your Mac could read your old Microsoft™ Outlook .msg files? If so, MailRaider could be just what you need. Try it. And let me know how you get on.

I've tested it with simple .msg files and ones with attachments and it seems to work very well.

  • 3
    MailRaider is no longer free – currently costs $3.
    – Tamlyn
    Nov 4, 2015 at 12:51

Microsoft has a site "User Voice" at which users can request a feature for Outlook. Please vote for this feature and maybe they will implement it. Here is the link https://outlook.uservoice.com/forums/293343-outlook-for-mac/suggestions/9451137-open-outlook-msg-files-on-the-mac

  • Thanks, however this was declined by the Product Manager, Outlook.com in 2017: "… we will not be implementing this feature as this does not align with our overall goals. …". Dec 6, 2020 at 10:53

The Outlook MSG Viewer software works great for Mac!

http://www.element26.net/products/shop/outlook-msg-viewer/ – redirects to MSG Viewer for Outlook - Open MSG and Winmail.dat Files on Your Mac

  • 1
    Welcome to Ask Different! Answers on Ask Different need to be more than just a link. It's okay to include a link, but please excerpt it in the answer.
    – gentmatt
    Sep 30, 2012 at 15:21
  • This did not work for me. It opens in mac mail client instead of outlook and does not show contacts
    – s_t_e_v_e
    Jan 5, 2015 at 15:50

If you have python3 installed you can use the extract_msg module which after installation will make available the extract_msg utility in your path.

Install the extract_msg utility:

pip3 install extract-msg

To get plain text and the attachments from an Outlook MSG file, run it as follows:

extract_msg mymessage.msg

The output will be created in a subfolder generated from the email subject line.

Customizing the output and getting RTF content

If you need more control over the output, below is a minimal python script based on the module above that takes the path to the outlook MSG file as the first parameter and saves the email content as plain text, and also as a RTF file (if RTF content is present, usually it is).

Create the script and make it executable (e.g. chmod +x msg2text.py):

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import os
import sys
import extract_msg

ATTACHMENTS_DIR = 'attachments'

file_name = sys.argv[1]
msg = extract_msg.Message(file_name)

with open(file_name.replace('.msg', '.txt'), 'w', encoding='utf-8') as fout:
    fout.write(f'Sender: {msg.sender}')
    fout.write(f'Sent On: {msg.date}')
    fout.write(f'To: {msg.to}')
    fout.write(f'Subject: {msg.subject}')
    fout.write(f'Body: {msg.body}')
    fout.write(f'Attachments: {[a.longFilename for a in msg.attachments]}')

if msg.rtfBody:
    with open(file_name.replace('.msg', '.rtf'), 'wb') as fout_rtf:

os.makedirs(ATTACHMENTS_DIR, exist_ok=True)

for attachment in msg.attachments:
    attachment.save(customPath=ATTACHMENTS_DIR, customFilename=attachment.longFilename)

Run the script:

./msg2text.py message.msg

A file message.txt and another file named message.rtf will be generated and the attachments will be extracted to the attachments folder.


MailRaider Pro works well - it costs a small amount, but you can get it on the app store or on the 45RPMSoftware website. The version on the 45RPMSoftware website also works as a demo (it won't open your entire email, and it won't extract all your attachments til you've paid for it.)

The developer is very helpful, responding quickly to emails (but the help forum on the website doesn't seem to work at the moment).

Website - MailRaider

Youtube tutorial - Youtube tutorial


To open .msg file on mac you can directly access through outlook.com and by office 365. If you don't want to use it then you can use online tools like MailRaider, MSGViewer, MSGConvert etc. For more information you can check this one https://www.macoszon.com/open-msg-file-on-mac/

  • OP wants to know how to directly access though Outlook
    – mmmmmm
    May 13, 2019 at 15:18

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