How to open MSG files on Mac

How to open MSG files on Mac How to open MSG files on Mac

MSG files are used for archiving and storing e-mails and other mail data by applications like MS Outlook and MS Exchange. Even if they are quite widely-used, opening MSG files and viewing the mail data that they contain on a Mac system is a bit complicated. That's mainly because the Mac systems rely on Apple's proprietary mail app, uninspiredly called simply "Mail", and its capability of importing additional formats for files that store mail data is rather limited. 

Installing an additional fully-featured e-mail client on your system, the one that also supports the MSG format, is not exactly a valid solution in my opinion, simply because I couldn't find the one that clearly and flawlessly supports directly importing and viewing the contents of MSG files, and I've checked acknowledged names like AirMail, Mail Pilot, Postbox, MailMate, Unibox, Polymail, or even Thunderbird. Not even Outlook for Mac can handle MSG files as it should, as MSG is a format specific for the versions for Windows of Outlook and Exchange. Since only Outlook for Windows uses the MSG format, then, if you have access to a Windows computer with an Outlook installation, you may use that to copy the MSG messages into a PST file first, and then transfer that PST file and import it into Outlook for Mac.

If you can't copy the MSG messages into a PST first and you still need to open a MSG file on a Mac, then my recommendation is that you resort to one of these solutions: converting the MSG file to a supported mail format, like EMLX or MBOX, or even easier: installing third-party tools that are specialized in opening and viewing the contents of a MSG file, the so-called "MSG viewers".

Converting MSG mail files to Mac-compatible formats

Not my favorite method of getting the MSG mail files opened on your Mac, as, regardless of how accurate the conversion is promised to be, there's still no such thing as a fully flawless conversion. So as long as there's a very small chance of getting data lost in the process, I'd rather not use converters to transform the MSG files into Mac-compatible formats when I need to open a MSG file on a Mac. But if this is what you prefer to do, then my recommendation is to use the Emailchemy application. I've used this program before, and I really liked it, as it is really easy to use. It supports a lot of other formats besides MSG and MBOX. To convert a MSG file to an Apple Mail MBOX using Emailchemy, please follow these steps:

1. Download, install, and start Emailchemy;

2. Select MSG as the format you want to convert from;

Selecting MSG as the input formatSelecting MSG as the input format

3. Select the MSG file that you want to convert by selecting a folder containing such files - all the MSG files in that folder will be added to the conversion list;

4. Choose if you want to convert all the messages from the MSG file or only the ones that meet specific criteria;

Choose Which Messages to ConvertChoose Which Messages to Convert

5. Select the output location for the newly created MBOX file, generated from the conversion of the MSG file;
6. As soon as you select the output folder, the actual conversion process will start automatically, so what's left for you to do is to wait for it to finish.

Conversion CompleteConversion Complete

To convert to the Outlook for Mac OLM files which this tool also supports, following the same procedure as above will suffice.

Of course, there are other mail file converters for Mac worth trying. Emailchemy is just one of them, not the only one.

Using MSG viewers

Most of these MSG viewers are simple, small, and lightweight applications that can be installed in seconds and used without any problem even by complete beginners. Here are the best of them, in my opinion: Klammer, MSG Viewer for Outlook, MailRaider, and MsgViewer. Only the last one is a free, open-source Java-based project.


This tool comes with the important advantage of the fact that it's the only free MSG Viewer that works on Mac currently on the market. It's a really simple, small, and handy tool. It requires you to have Java installed on your machine in order to properly use it, but it's a small price to pay considering the benefits that this viewer offers. To open and view MSG mail files using the free MsgViewer, please follow these steps:

1. Drag-and-drop or go to Program -> File Open to import the MSG file;

Importing MSGImporting MSG

2. Select the preferred preview format from the bottom side of the main screen (RTF or Text);


3. Go to Program -> Save File As to indicate the destination folder (supported output formats are MSG, EML, and MBOX).


Klammer and MailRaider

As you can see, MsgViewer is a simple and straightforward utility. The same goes for Klammer and MailRaider, with the major difference that these are no longer free tools. For $4.99 Klammer lets you open not only MSG but also Winmail.dat and OFT files on your Mac and view their contents and attachments. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated since 2013, so some reliability issues are likely to occur. As for MailRaider, this is a handy application that was updated recently and also comes with many nice additional features such as support for bulk processing. In my opinion, MailRaider is a great app, without any significant drawbacks, totally worth trying if you're in need of opening and viewing MSG mail files on a Mac.

MSG Viewer for Outlook

Last but not least, the app called MSG Viewer for Outlook offers a pretty remarkable advantage: it lets you view the pesky Microsoft Outlook MSG files seamlessly inside your preferred Mac mail client, may that be the default Apple Mail or another mail client like MS Outlook for Mac, Thunderbird, Entourage, etc. Therefore how you may use MSG Viewer for Outlook differs based on the e-mail client that you're using. Anyway, MSG Viewer for Outlook offers the most convenient way of solving the need to quickly deal with otherwise-unreadable MSG and Winmail.dat files on your Mac. It can also convert the contacts extracted from MSG files into vCards. Batch processing and attachments importing are also supported. Simply put, it's a great solution for dealing with MSG files on a Mac.


Though at first it may seem like an impossible ordeal, opening and viewing MSG files on a Mac computer is actually not only doable, but simpler than expected. Just choose the right tool for the job, and it will become a solved problem in no time.

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