I'm looking for a free .eml file viewer to just read email files and for extracting attachments.

I don't want to use Mail.app as it requires account setup - when I click on a .eml file Mail.app opens with a window for setting up an account - which I don't want to do - I never use Mail.app - I use gmail.

Is there a .eml email file viewer (including extracting attachments)?

  • 2
    Can you not set up a dummy email account in Mountain Lion's Mail.app and then untick "enable this account" like you could in Lion and earlier?
    – username
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 10:00
  • I believe that if you double-click the icon of a .eml file, it will open in Mail.app without requiring an email account. I can't test that because I already have active email accounts. When I double-click such a separate file, Mail.app launches and displays the file in the same format as if I had clicked it in the app.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 8:17

4 Answers 4


To extract attachments from the Terminal, you can use a couple of different methods. Probably the easiest is

perl -MMIME::Base64 -ne 'print decode_base64($_)' < file.eml > out

where file.eml is the email file in question and out is the name of the attachment.

The same thing can be accomplished by using the base64 command, but you have to do some cleanup work on the original email file first -- namely strip everything out of the eml file before the base64 encoded attachment. The command would be something along these lines

base64 -D -i file.eml -o out

If you take the 2nd approach, recommend that you operate on a copy of the original file.

Of course for reading the eml files, you can probably use cat or your favorite editor. Works in a pinch, but certainly not the easiest way to deal with email.

  • Moved accepted answer to MailRaider Pro - this tool covers both requirements in an easier to use App. But thanks for your time and input - your solution is useful as well. Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 1:26
  • Damn. How cool is that! The extracted CSV looked like garbage, and I ended up doing this all manually in Outlook, but that Perl command felt great.
    – btburton42
    Commented May 21, 2021 at 15:07
  • What format is "out" in? I got a 100 MB file that I can't open. head or file just returns data. There should be mail bodies and pdfs in that out file.
    – d-b
    Commented May 24 at 12:10

There's a free online .eml viewer you can use to extract messages and attachments from .eml, .msg and winmail.dat files: http://www.encryptomatic.com/viewer

  • I've found this to be very helpful. It's the simplest and quickest way for me to view the occasional one-off EML email without installing any software. Thank you.
    – nc.
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 17:08
  • 2
    Submitting private data to a third party is convenient but dangerous. Please beware of the information contained in your emails and their risk of external disclosure. Commented May 21, 2018 at 21:39

Look at the FileInfo for EML file: http://www.fileinfo.com/extension/eml. Sparrow also can open EML file, but not sure if need you to setup an account. If you just want to view the file, just use Quick Look but cannot save attachment.

  • This looks like one of the best email clients on any platform. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 22:30

MailRaider Pro for Mac OS X does just what I need in terms of being able to open .eml files WITHOUT the need to setup a dummy account or whatever. It just works - I can just open it. I have bought it, it works on El Capitan.

It also says it handles attachments, but I haven't tried that yet.

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