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MSG File Format

Related utilities

What is an MSG file?

The MSG file format is used to store Outlook items: email messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, journal entries, notes, and documents.

Each .msg file contains all data for one Outlook item. For example, an email saved as a .msg file includes subject, sender and recipient addresses, attachments, text, HTML markup, categories, flags, and other fields.

Only one Outlook item can be saved in one MSG file.

MSG is a reliable backup format and a convenient intermediate format for email migration when you need to collect and transfer data from various sources. When importing data from MSG files to Outlook / Exchange / Office 365, you get the most accurate result while preserving all the items' properties.

How to create an MSG file?

A .msg file appears on your disk after saving an individual email message, contact, appointment, meeting, task, note, or journal item from Outlook.

To create an MSG file, save the Outlook item in one of two ways:

  • Drag selected messages, appointments, contacts, or other items from your Outlook folder to a Windows Explorer folder. The subject field is used as the name of the.msg file.

The disadvantage of this method is that only the selected items from the open Outlook folder are saved. If you need to save lots of different items from different folders, it will take too long.

  • Select a message or another Outlook item, then:
    1. Select File > Save As in the main menu;
    2. Specify the target folder, file name, and the Outlook Message Format (.msg) file type;
    3. Click Save.

The disadvantage of this method is that you can only save one selected message. Moreover, after being saved to MSG, the message in Outlook folder is marked as read.

For easy and convenient saving of various Outlook items, use our utilities for exporting Outlook emails to MSG format, contacts to MSG format, calendars to MSG format, tasks to MSG format, notes to MSG format, and journals to MSG format. Thus, you save all properties of the exported item to an MSG file. After saving to MSG, some of these properties will be available for searching and displaying in Windows Explorer.

Export Outlook to MSG

How to open MSG file?

The best way to view MSG files is to open them in Microsoft Outlook, as MSG file type is its native format. Usually, double-clicking a file with a .msg file extension in Windows Explorer is enough to open it in Outlook. If this does not happen, select Microsoft Outlook from the list of offered programs.

To open an MSG file directly in Outlook, drag and drop it to the Outlook folder from Windows Explorer. For numerous MSG files in different folders, use our utilities to import into Outlook emails from MSG format, contacts from MSG format, calendars from MSG format, tasks from MSG format, notes from MSG format, and journals from MSG format.

How to use MSG for backup in MS Outlook?

Periodic backups of email, contacts, calendars, tasks, and other Outlook items are necessary to keep your information safe and accessible during various outages.

To back up the mailboxes contents in .msg format, use the utility for making backup copies of Outlook and Exchange folders.

Backup Outlook

Over time MSG archives take up a lot of space on disks and network resources. You can reduce the size of MSG files by removing attachments. You can first save attachments from MSG and then remove attachments from MSG.

Properties of Outlook items in MSG files can be saved to CSV tables and text files for further analysis or use in Excel and other programs. To do this, use the universal report on MSG files and the utility to save fields from MSG.

If you use PST data files to back up Outlook mailbox, remember that this is a very unreliable storage format. The slightest damage to the PST file results in losing all your mail, contacts, and other data. To improve the reliability of your backups, convert PST to MSG files.


How to create MSG files from other mail applications?

Most email clients use EML or MBOX file formats to export email. You can convert them to MSG files to open them in Outlook. To do this, use the conversion utilities:

How to read MSG files?

  1. Open the folder that contains your MSG files;
  2. Double-click the file with .msg extension.
  1. Right-click the .msg file;
  2. Select Open with from the context menu;
  3. Select Outlook from the list of installed programs;
  4. Click OK.

How to open MSG files without Outlook?

To view MSG files without Outlook in other email applications, you need to convert MSG to the appropriate format.

The most suitable and supported format is EML. After converting from MSG to EML, you can open and import Outlook messages in most email clients.

A lot of email clients and systems support the MBOX format. To copy MSG files to such mail programs, use the MSG to MBOX conversion utility.

How to open MSG file on Mac?

To view MSG files on macOS preserving formatting and attachments, you need to convert files from MSG to another format. After that, you can view .msg file's content without Outlook on Mac.

  • Convert MSG to HTML. HTML is a convenient format for viewing documents on all platforms, including macOS, smartphones and legacy devices. Sending messages to other users in HTML format, you can be sure that the recipient can open and print them.
  • Convert MSG to PDF. Adobe PDF is a format used for saving, opening, and printing documents regardless of platform. Resulting .pdf files can be opened and printed in Adobe Reader or modern Internet browsers on macOS.

How to import MSG files into Outlook?

To import MSG into Outlook, use the utility to import into the specified Outlook folder:

Import MSG to Outlook

If you need to archive messages in PST format or migrate your email from one Outlook account to another or between different Outlook profiles, you can perform the MSG to PST conversion.

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