How to Read MIME Format Emails

By Joshua Duvauchelle

In email terminology, MIME means "Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions." MIME format emails use the Internet protocol to extend the ability of emails to be displayed in more than just plain text. Technically, almost all the email you read is in MIME format. However, sometimes an email is mistranslated by your email software (e.g., Outlook Express or Apple Mail) and you are unable to thread MIME format emails. With slight editing, you can modify a MIME format email so that it can be read and displayed by your email program.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows Notepad (or similar basic text editor)
  • Outlook Express (or similar email management software)

Step 1

Open the MIME format email which you wish to read. Select all of the text with your cursor.

Step 2

Launch the Notepad (on a Windows PC) or TextEdit (on a Mac) program, included on all PCs or Macs.

Step 3

Paste the MIME formatted email (from Step 1) into the text editor.

Step 4

Highlight and delete all of the text before the standard email header (e.g., the headers in which you find the "From" and "To" fields).

Step 5

Save the document to your computer desktop, adding the ".eml" file extension to the file name.

Step 6

Double-click the file you saved in Step 5. Your email management software (e.g., Outlook Express) will then open the file and interpret it as a standard email, thus allowing you to read MIME format emails without attempting to decipher the mismatched symbols and garbled text that is often the result of mistranslated MIME code.