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If you need to open an Outlook email or attachment in MSG format, there are various ways to do so. The frustrating thing about the Windows version Microsoft Outlook is that it generates MSG files that can’t even be opened by Outlook on Mac.

The good news is that this annoying situation can be solved easily thanks to several different solutions.

The most effective long term solution is to install Windows on your Mac using a tool like Parallels but there are also other tools that will allow you to open MSG files on your Mac which we list below.

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Here then are the best ways to open Outlook MSG messages on a Mac.

1. MSG Viewer for Outlook

MSG Viewer is a simple but effective app which can instantly open Outlook messages on a Mac. MSG Viewer for Outlook supports batch processing of files and conversion of Outlook MSG contacts in VCF format.

Once installed, MSG Viewer opens your emails in a basic Outlook style interface which feels like using Microsoft Outlook on your Mac.

msg viewer outlook mac

The free version only converts selected parts of MSG files – you need to upgrade to the full version for $18.99 to get full conversion of messages and batch processing. You can see a full comparison between the free and paid version below.

open msg files on mac - msg viewer

You can download MSG Viewer for Outlook on Mac either directly from the developer or from the Mac App Store.

2. Outlook.com

One really easy solution is to simply email the file as an attachment to an Outlook.com email address (formerly Hotmail and Windows Live Mail). Outlook has a built-in MSG viewer.

outlook open msg on mac

 

3. MailRaider

MailRaider can extract the text out of any MSG file although like MSGConvert, it removes the formatting from the original Outlook message.

mailraider for mac

Note that MailRaider won’t actually save email in MSG format as it’s only an MSG reader, not an editor.

You open MailRaider simply by double-clicking on the app icon, go to File -> Open and then browse to the .msg file you want to open. Alternatively, you can double click on any .msg file on your Mac and MailRaider will open automatically as the default application for MSG files.

MailRaider is available in a standard and Pro version. The Pro version offers several advantages such ability to export to Contacts, calendar and PDF.

mailraider open msg outlook mails macYou can download MailRaider from the Mac App Store or directly from the developer.

4. MessageViewer Online

MessageViewer Online is an online Outlook viewer that lets you view e-mail messages in EML, MSG and winmail.dat (TNEF) formats. It can also open email file attachments but uploads are limited to 8MB. Note also that it’s not the msot secure way to open Outlook files as you have to upload mails to the cloud.

5. MsgViewer

MsgViewer is an email-viewer utility for .msg e-mail messages and is based on Java so it works on Windows/Linux and Mac platforms. MsgViewer uses a Java API to read mail MSG files programmatically.

MsgViewer can also extract an embedded PDF from a MSG file. However, we don’t recommend installing Java on Mac for various reasons so only use MsgViewer if you really have no other choice.

6. Change The File Extension

If the file you need to open was not directly created by Outlook, you may be able to simply change the file extension from .MSG to .EML which will enable Apple Mail to open it. Alternatively, you can try changing the file extension to TXT and open the email in TextEdit on your Mac. This also works if you right-click or CTRL-click on the file, select Open With… and select TextEdit.

7. Install Windows on your Mac

This is the most complicated and time-consuming way to open Outlook files on your Mac but may be worth it if you use a lot of Windows only applications.

Nowadays there are several ways to run Windows on a Mac but the easiest is by using a virtual machine such as Parallels.

This enables you to run macOS and Windows simultaneously so that you can switch between both at any time.

As we’ve seen, there’s many ways to open Outlook emails on a Mac without Outlook. Since this was written, there was also another method MSGConvert which ran Perl scripts to open MSG files but no longer works on macOS.

If you have any problems, questions or suggestions regarding the apps featured here, let us know in the comments below.

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MacHow2
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6 Responses

  1. MacHow2
    Marius

    So actually there is no way of opening .msg in a simple or cheap way, preserving the mail exactly as is is and not uploading anything to the cloud or using a browser to do so. Unbelievable.

    Reply
    • MacHow2
      MacHow2

      It’s certainly not as easy as it should be but some of the apps here such as MsgViewer and MSGConvert don’t require uploading anything to the Cloud and are free. You can also try just changing the file extension to .EML and see if Apple Mail can open it.

      Reply
  2. MacHow2
    Boctor Bill

    MsgViewer appears to be disappear-o and MSGConvert perl script doesn’t work anymore.

    Reply
  3. MacHow2
    tyresrecycled@ymail.com

    I needed to extract an embedded pdf from a .msg.

    I tried with outlook online, but I got error messages when downloading attachments.
    I succedded with MsgViewer (found on sourceforge) SO definitely the winner for me 😉 (El capitan)

    Reply

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