4 Ways to Open EML Files Without An Email Client

20 September 2023 by Anith eDiscovery EML Outlook email

Takeaway: Transform EML files into different formats to use them without an email client. Do this by (1) Changing their file extension – to view them in a web browser or the Notepad app, (2) Converting them to PDFs via a file converter, or (3) Importing them into format-agnostic eDiscovery software [no downloads needed].

EML files are one way of storing email messages.

EML (Email Message Format) files are a standardized way to store individual email messages on your computer. And it’s used by email clients like Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail. These files contain the email text and also its attachments, headers, and other metadata related to the email conversation. EMLs are useful for backup, archiving, or transferring emails between platforms.

The issue is that you’ll usually need an email client to read EMLs. But there are ways around this.

The most straightforward way to read an EML file is to use an email client that supports the format. But you might not have access to an email client – for example, your work computer might have restrictions preventing you from downloading third-party software. Or you might not want to install new software for a one-time use. Thankfully, you can access an EML’s contents without an email client. And here’s how.

1. Read EMLs via your web browser.

One of the most accessible tools for reading an EML file is your web browser. Modern browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari can process EML files if you convert them into a browser-friendly format first. Here’s what to do:

  1. Navigate to the folder where the EML file is stored.
  2. Right-click on it and choose the ‘rename’ option from the pop-up menu.
  3. Replace the ‘.eml’ extension with ‘.mht’. (Your computer must be set to ‘show file name extensions’ for you to do this. On Windows 11, open File Explorer and click View > Show > File Name Extensions.)
  4. Right-click the file again and choose the ‘Open With’ option.
  5. Select your web browser from the application list, and the EML will open in it.

Note: This method doesn’t work well with complex emails that have intricate HTML structures or embedded media. In these cases, you might see code or broken links.

2. Read EMLs via the Notepad app.

You can also use Notepad or any text editor to view EML files. This is because EMLs are essentially plain text files that follow a specific format. Note: You won’t be able to view attachments and links with this method, but it’s a quick way of skimming an email’s text.

  1. Navigate to the directory containing your EML file.
  2. Right-click on the EML file, choose the ‘rename’ option, and replace the ‘.eml’ extension with ‘.txt.’ (Your computer must be set to ‘show file name extensions’ for you to change the extension. On Windows 11, open File Explorer and click View > Show > File Name Extensions.)
  3. Double-click the file again, and it will open in Notepad.

3. Read EMLs as PDFs.

Sometimes, you’ll need a more structured view of your emails or a portable copy that works across multiple devices and platforms. Here, consider converting the EML to PDF using free online tools. (PDFs are fixed-layout documents, so they stay unchanged in text, fonts, graphics, etc., even when transferred between computers. Further, you can encrypt and password-protect PDFs to protect privileged information.) To convert EMLs to PDFs:

  1. Choose a reliable EML to PDF conversion tool online. (Ensure it has good reviews and consider its security features if your email contains sensitive information. Start with options like Advik, BitRecover Wizard, Xtraxtor, or SysTools.)
  2. Upload the EML by following the tool’s instructions.
  3. Download the PDF once it’s converted.

4. Use EMLs via eDiscovery software.

eDiscovery software is something that lawyers use when reviewing files for a lawsuit. So, it has a bunch of valuable review features worth checking out if you want to do anything more than just read your emails. (For instance, next-generation eDiscovery software can protect vital email metadata, search for keywords/names/dates, tag and organize files, and redact privileged information.) Here’s how to use eDiscovery software to review EMLs.

  1. Choose an eDiscovery application that specifically mentions EML file support.
  2. Import EML files using the software’s interface. (Usually, you’ll drag-and-drop files into the browser.)
  3. View and analyze the emails after the software processes the files.

If you need affordable eDiscovery software for EMLs and more, try GoldFynch.

GoldFynch is a cloud eDiscovery service with a suite of essential eDiscovery review tools. And if you’re in a lawsuit, it’s something your attorneys might want to hear about. Here’s why.

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

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