How to Read an MSG File

By Ray Padgett

MSG files are e-mails created or saved using Microsoft Outlook. They contain not just the text of the message, but multiple data fields including sender, recipient, date and subject. Reading an MSG file is easiest using Outlook itself, but an alternate application exists for users without Outlook access.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook or Viewer for MS Outlook messages

Using Microsoft Outlook

Step 1

Open Microsoft Outlook.

Step 2

Look through your Inbox or Sent Mail if you know the general content of the message. If the MSG file was created from your computer, the information is likely already loaded in Outlook.

Step 3

If you cannot find the message or do not know the content, select “Open” from the File menu. Choose your MSG file and click “Open.”

Using Viewer for MS Outlook Messages

Step 1

Download and install Viewer for MS Outlook Messages from the link in Resources below. A free trial will allow you to see if it is compatible with your MSG file, but only allows you to view the first 50 characters of the message. The full version costs $20.

Step 2

Click the "Open File" button. Navigate to the file folder that contains the MSG files.

Step 3

Click the arrow marked "Files of Type" and select "MS Outlook Messages (.msg)." Highlight your MSG file and click "Open."

Tips & Warnings

  • If the MSG file was created using an Outlook account other than your own, you will need to be logged into that account to open the MSG file.