How to view and open .MSG Files

“.msg” files are normally created to store Outlook related items in the Windows file system but you don’t necessarily need Outlook to view them. However, these files are based on the compound file binary format and aren’t viewable via a normal editor.

In this article, we will be talking about three different scenarios in which you might want to view these files. The first method will talk about opening .msg files via a specialized file viewer application, the second will talk about opening .msg files with Outlook without any problems while the third method is a complete guide for users that don’t have any other option other than converting the files to PDF formats for viewing purposes.

Method 1: Using a file viewer:

In our first method, we will be talking about a third-party tool that allows readers to view the .msg files properly. Using simple text editors like Notepad will only show you information in the form of garbled characters because .msg files are ideally meant to be used with Outlook. There are many different software available but the one we will be using is called MsgViewer.

Go to this link and click on the download button.

Once the .zip file is downloaded, you will have to extract it. To do so, you can use the default compression tools of Windows or if there aren’t any, you can try out any third-party ones like 7Zip.

Once the extraction is complete, a file named “jar” should appear. This is our tool which is basically a java applet. Double click to start it. If you get any errors while opening it then you might have to install Java on your device. Go to this link to download and install it.

When the application starts, you should see a window with the text “Drag an msg file into the window” on it.

Now all you have to do is drag an .msg file inside the window. Once you do, you will be able to view all the contents of the file, fully formatted.

Method 2: For opening files with Outlook

.msg files are ideally meant to be opened in Outlook so normally there shouldn’t be a need to do any additional steps but sometimes users have gotten the following error message while opening them with Outlook:

Can’t open filename \location\filename.msg. The file may not exist, you may not have permission to open it, or it may be open in another program. Right-click the folder that contains the file, and then click Properties to check your permissions for the folder.”

We will be providing two ways to deal with this issue and to be able to successfully open the files in Outlook.

Sub-method 1: Updating Outlook (If you’re using the Outlook 2016 app)

Most of the time, a simple update fixes the issue. Follow these steps:

Open your Microsoft Outlook app. You can do so by pressing the windows key and searching for “Outlook”.

  1. Click on File at the top left hand corner.
  2. Now click on Account
  3. Now go to “Update options”.
  4. Finally click on “Update now”.

Let the update run its course and once it’s done, restart your device and you should easily be able to open the file.

Sub-method 2: Setting the files to Read-only

The update should be able to fix the issue for you but if it doesn’t, there is another workaround that you can try. This will involve setting the file to “read-only”. This will be most applicable if you are saving the files on a shared folder which is accessed by more than one user. In such a scenario, Outlook can lock your files thus causing them to be inaccessible for other users on the network.

  1. Go to the pertinent “.msg” file, right click on it and select
  2. While on the General tab, check the checkbox next to Read-only in the Attributes
  3. Click on File at the top left hand corner.
  4. Now click on
  5. Now go to “Update options”.
  6. Finally click on “Update now”.

If you have more than one file, then you will have to repeat the above steps for all of them.

Method 3: Converting .msg files to PDF

As a third method, we will be sharing a way to convert the files to PDFs; because PDFs are more easily viewable, this is a cool alternative for people who are having problems viewing .msg files otherwise.

There are quite a few websites available online that allow you to convert .msg files to PDFs. One such website is com. Click here to visit the converter.

You know have to follow simple steps. Firstly, upload your file.

Then choose the desired output format. In our case, PDF.

Enter your email address.

Click on convert

The file should get converted to PDF format and an email will get dispatched to your inbox with a link to download it.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

How to view and open .MSG Files

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