How to Easily Open an EML File

EML files are essentially email messages that have been saved as files on your computer. They contain all the components of the original email – headers, subject line, message body, attachments, etc. While most popular email clients like Outlook and Apple Mail support opening EML files, you may sometimes need to open one without having an email program installed. Here are some easy ways to open EML files.

What is an EML File?

  • EML stands for Electronic Mail. It is the standard file extension used for saving email messages.
  • EML files store emails in plain text format as per the Internet Message Format (IMF) protocol. They contain email headers, body content, attachments, formatting, etc.
  • The EML format was created by Microsoft for Outlook Express. But it is now supported by most email clients and servers.

Popular Programs to Open EML Files

  • Microsoft Outlook – The default software for handling EML files on Windows.
  • Apple Mail – Default email client on macOS that supports EML.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird – Open source, cross-platform email app that can open EMLs.
  • Windows Mail – Microsoft’s basic email app included with Windows 10.

These programs provide the best experience for viewing EML files as they properly format the email content.

How to Open an EML File Without an Email Client

If you don’t have any of the above email programs installed, there are couple of easy workarounds:

Use Your Web Browser

Since EML files are essentially plain text documents, modern web browsers can open them. Just rename the EML file extension to .mht and open it in your browser.


  1. Right click on the EML file > Rename
  2. Change the file extension from .eml to .mht
  3. Double click to open the file in your default web browser

Note: Attachments may not be viewable this way.

Open in a Text Editor

You can also simply open the EML file in any text editor like Notepad or TextEdit to view the raw contents.


  1. Rename EML file extension to .txt
  2. Double click to open in your default text editor

You won’t see any formatting this way but the email content will be visible.

Convert to PDF

Another option is to use a file conversion tool to convert the EML file into a PDF document which can then be easily viewed on any device.

There are many free online EML to PDF converters available. Simply upload your EML file and download the converted PDF.

Advanced Tools for Opening EML Files

Here are some specialty software tools for dealing with EML files:

  • EML Viewers – Small, free programs specifically for viewing EML files. Popular options include Mitos EML Viewer, EML Viewer Lite, EML Opener, etc.
  • SysTools EML Converter – Convert EML files into PDFs, HTML, MSG, PST formats. Supports batch conversion.
  • Adobe Acrobat – The full Adobe Acrobat software (not just the Reader) allows converting EML files to PDF.
  • Thunderbird – Mozilla’s free email client that works on Windows, Mac, Linux. Great for regularly accessing old EML files.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If double clicking an EML file does not open it, right click and use “Open With” to choose an email program manually.
  • On Windows 10, you may need to install the Mail app from the Microsoft Store to view EML files.
  • Make sure you have file extensions visible in your File Explorer or Finder settings.

So those are some of the easiest ways to open up old EML files on your computer even if you don’t have a proper email client program installed. With the right tools, you can quickly access and view the contents of EML files.