Someone send me a .msg file skype, and somehow I just can't open this in Ubuntu

Is there a app in which I can open this file?

  • This could be many things...what type is this file? There are several different programs using the msg extension. – Bobby Jan 22 '10 at 13:11
  • @Roland can you check my answer and mark it as tick if it works perfectly and solves your issue – Akhil Surapuram Aug 19 '19 at 8:13

This is an MS-Outlook format. There is a command line tool called MSGConvert (see www.matijs.net/software/msgconv) which converts .msg files into .eml. You can open those with Thunderbird or Evolution. On Ubuntu you should be able to install the tool using

sudo apt-get install libemail-outlook-message-perl libemail-sender-perl

from a command line. Use

msgconvert *.msg

to convert every file in a directory at once. MSGConvert will produce copies of your .msg-files with the suffix .msg.eml. Regardless, your friend should learn how to send content properly.

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    Somehow msgconvert didn't appear in the path, but the following worked: perl -we 'use Email::Outlook::Message; print Email::Outlook::Message->new(shift)->to_email_mime->as_string' foo.msg >bar.eml – Dallaylaen Jan 28 '16 at 17:54
  • Just to note, on debian based systems the msgconvert script isn't in the package. You can get it from the repo however here: github.com/mvz/email-outlook-message-perl – PottyBert Mar 3 '16 at 13:58
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    Using the msgconvert tool from github.com/mvz/email-outlook-message-perl, the command line ./msgconvert file.msg produces nothing. You have to use ./msgconvert --outfile file.eml file.msg. – slowhand May 27 '16 at 15:53
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    If you already did apt-get install libemail-outlook-message-perl, you don't need to do anything more. That package already contains /usr/bin/msgconvert, at least on Debian 8 Jessie. – Axel Beckert Jan 4 '17 at 14:18

It's not perfect but you can import .msg file with Mozilla Thunderbird (it works with on 52.1.1 on my Linux Mint). I had some encoding error but you can globally read the content.

In Thunderbird you click on File > Open > Saved message and select your .msg file.

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  • For my case, with this method, the file is totally unreadable. – Pierre-Olivier Vares Mar 11 '19 at 13:14
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    This kind of works. I can see a plain text message at the top with a lot of issues under it but I think it has got the text content of the email right. – Qwertie Apr 1 '19 at 0:10
  • @Qwertie if you just need the text content you can cat... but why should someone use .msg for a text-only file, that's stupid... – Melissa Loos Dec 26 '19 at 22:14
  • There is no encoding error it simply than the encoding of the Outlook file (*.msg) is ANSI. I have the following in my .bash_profile : function msgread() { msgconvert --outfile - "$1" | iconv -f ms-ansi -t utf-8 | less } – Stéphane Jan 24 at 15:12

Hie, Even though there are a lot of Answers available but not of them are simple and easy to use so I am posting this Answer.

Use Microsoft one drive to open .msg files online via browser

Sign in to your Microsoft onedrive account and upload the .msg file. After upload, you can click on it to view the file contents.

and advantage over other answers is you won't be sharing your file with third party file converters.

Note: This method is Non-OS specific and can be applied in any OS.

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  • I wish I could edit the message also. – Jaakko Oct 2 '19 at 12:44
  • @Jaakko .msg files are email conversation thread. I coundn't find any sense of editing it. I think you can copy text content for forwarding mail purposes – Akhil Surapuram Oct 2 '19 at 16:38
  • despite that fact this is not a solution for the problem, in some particular cases your suggestion works very good! – radistao Feb 14 at 12:39
  • @radistao thanks for the compliment. I say you don't have to convert the file to open .msg you just need to use Microsoft tools. for ubuntu, it's only in web and an electron version i.e nothing but the web. & yeah it definietly solves the problem of viewing .msg and therefore it can be treated as solution :P – Akhil Surapuram Feb 15 at 6:05
  • After opening a .msg file on the OneDrive (using current Google Chrome) I can read the message body but I don't see a way to open attachments contained in the message and listed on the Attachments line. – rpr May 28 at 11:32

I ran across such a file as well (provided to me by a colleague who saved an email message in Microsoft Outlook). file(1) identifies the .msg file like so:

foo.msg: Composite Document File V2 Document

Georg Jung's answer regarding Matijs van Zuijlen's perl-based msgconvert(1) utility steered me in the right direction. Although my system does not at the time of this writing have the msgconvert utility packaged, the install instructions on Matijs' web page indicate using cpan as one way to install it:

cpan -i Email::Outlook::Message

The cpan URL is http://search.cpan.org/dist/Email-Outlook-Message/

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Try this link: https://www.coolutils.com/online/Mail-Converter/

I came to this post searching for an answer, found the above link which did the job for me. Hence wanted to share here.

If you are concerned about privacy, you can buy their desktop version and convert it.

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    Just curious, why all the downvotes? Seems like a perfectly good tool. – Duncan X Simpson May 9 '16 at 3:10
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    @VirtualDXS - Life is harsh, isn't it ? :) – bragboy May 10 '16 at 20:28
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    I also downvote this "solution", because it violates privacy. .msg files sometimes contain mail threads, which must be kept confidential. – slowhand May 27 '16 at 15:29
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    I don't get where the tool violates privacy. It's just a wrong statement. It's the same saying Winrar violates privacy because sometimes .rar files contain files which may be confidential. Or an SQLite client violates privacy because you can read Skype conversations from .db file. – Andre Figueiredo Oct 4 '17 at 18:45
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    @AndreFigueiredo: It’s the difference between an online tool and a local program.  When you process data with WinRAR or any other program on your computer, the data stay on your computer (unless it’s infected with spyware). But with this “coolutils” solution, you upload your file to their website and then download the result.  Do they immediately delete your data off their servers?  Are their personnel allowed to look at your data?  Do they sell your data to other people? Once you give it to them, it’s out of your control. – Scott Nov 9 '17 at 23:51

Try running this command in a terminal to identify the type of file:

$ file foo.msg

The output should tell you what type of file it is. If it's a text file of some kind, you can open it in gedit or your favorite text editor.

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You can also proceed like this:

strings foo.msg |html2text
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Another free and cross-platform tool for extracting the contents of an Outlook msg file from the command line is msg-extractor.

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If you're on Windows, Mac, or another Linux than Ubuntu, or you don't want to install random packages on your system, I'd recommend building on Georg Jung's answer by using this docker container:

docker run -it --rm -v $(pwd):/mails --user $UID: lequoctuan/msgconvert my-file.msg

# takes a minute ...

cat my-file.eml
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