How to Open MSG File Without Outlook Dependency

Learn How to Open MSG File Without Outlook Desktop Client

In the current information age, we can’t imagine our lives without popular email clients like Outlook. However, what happens when a user doesn’t know how to open MSG file without Outlook? The short answer is that. A user’s ability to manage and organise digital communication comes in jeopardy. 

Fear not as in this article we will provide you with a complete tutorial to navigate through this problem. So sit back and relax as upon reading this article you will be fully prepared to access your MSG files without Outlook. But first, let us dive into the crux of the matter.

Understanding MSG Files

Outlook works with many different file formats and one of them is the MSG. This proprietary file format is used to deal with data to be kept outside of Outlook’s environment. The Outlook message format stores everything from emails, attachments, sender & receiver details, and even the metadata. Therefore, it is important to realise the challenges when a user tries to open MSG file without Outlook. 

How to Open MSG File Without Outlook Using Built-in Methods

Fortunately, built-in methods offer some respite from not being able to open a MSG file without Outlook. A user can go for these makeshift solutions as a temporary measure to solve the issue. Here are some of them.

  • Using Microsoft Word: One of the most famous document processing applications comes to the rescue. Simply change the file extension from .msg to .docx and open the file on Word. But beware it may cause data corruption and some of your attachments might go missing.
  • Using Notepad: If the user works with small text-based file this lightweight text editor is sufficient. However, it is vital to note that any sophisticated attachments and data appear in an encoded illegible format. So, don’t use it for anything other than stripping raw text data.
  • Using Microsoft Excel: Excel and other similar spreadsheet tools can also serve as an answer for how to open MSG file without Outlook. This might seem counterproductive but you will be surprised how well it presents simple text data. Different cells can be used to separate content based on pre-defined headings. It is superior to Notepad and Word when it comes to visualising text data. But it also suffers from the same limitations when it comes to attachments.
  • Using Google Docs: If the user prefers to work online then there is another solution available for them.  Simply upload the MSG file in Google Drive and open it on Google Docs online. You may face formatting issues and find some files missing.
  • Limitations of Built-in methods: Here we will make the user aware of some additional features that built-in solution lack. 
    • Absence of advanced rendering.
    • Lack of search capability.
    • Limited options to view attachments

With this, we complete all the built-in solutions for the query of how to open MSG files without Outlook. But we have seen how their scope is limited and most of them fail when it comes to viewing attachments. This compels us to look elsewhere for a solution. And there are better methods available such as automated software. 

Professional Tool to Open MSG Files Without Outlook

Among the various tools in the market, SysTools MSG Viewer stands apart as a reliable and user-friendly solution. With its intuitive features and robust functionality this tool provides a seamless experience for accessing and managing MSG files. Here are the steps to use the tool for answering how to open MSG file without Outlook: 

  1. Download and launch the software first. Then,  import the MSG file(s) from the tree view on the left-hand side.
  2. The software will scan and load the MSG files, displaying a comprehensive preview of their content, including email headers, body text, attachments, and metadata.
  3. Navigate through the emails using the intuitive interface, which closely resembles the Outlook environment.
  4. Use the search functionality to quickly find specific emails based on criteria such as sender, subject, or keywords.
  5. Double-click on an email to open it in a separate window for a closer examination.
  6. Access attachments by selecting the email and choosing the “Save Attachments” option.

Advantages of Using Automated Software

Using professional software offers several advantages over the built-in methods:

Accurate Rendering: Third-party tools are designed to accurately render email content, preserving formatting, inline images, and attachments, providing a more authentic viewing experience.

Advanced Search Capabilities: These tools often include powerful search functionality, allowing you to quickly locate specific emails based on various criteria, saving you time and effort when answering how to open MSG file without Outlook.

Attachment Extraction: With third-party software, you can easily extract attachments from MSG files, enabling you to access and save important files without the need for Outlook.

Exporting Options: These tools offer the flexibility to export MSG files to different formats, enabling compatibility with other email clients and enhancing data portability.

Alternative Solutions for Accessing MSG File Content

While using third-party software provides a comprehensive solution, there are alternative methods for accessing MSG file content. These methods may not offer the same level of convenience but can still be helpful in certain scenarios. Let’s explore a few alternative solutions:

  • Forwarding MSG Emails: If you only need to access the content of an MSG file temporarily, you can forward the email to another account or even to yourself. This allows you to read and interact with the email content without the need for specialized software. However, keep in mind that this method is not ideal for long-term storage or organization of MSG files.
  • Exporting MSG Files to Another Email Client: If you have access to another email client, such as Mozilla Thunderbird or Apple Mail. You have an alternate answer to the question of how to open MSG file without Outlook. This enables you to view and manage the emails within a familiar interface. But, note that not all email clients support the direct import of MSG files, and you may need to convert them to a compatible format first.
  • Extracting Attachments from MSG Files: In some cases, you may only be interested in accessing the attachments within the MSG files. To do this, you can use third-party extraction tools that specialise in extracting attachments from MSG files. These tools allow you to save the attachments separately without requiring Outlook or other email clients.
  • Printing MSG Files: If you prefer a physical copy of the email, you can print the MSG file directly. Most applications that can open MSG files also offer printing functionality, allowing you to generate a hard copy of the email content. However, keep in mind that this method does not provide the same level of interactivity and searchability as digital formats.
  • Converting MSG Files to Other Formats: Apart from viewing MSG files, you may occasionally need to convert them to different formats for various purposes, such as PDF, EML, or PST. PDF conversion preserves the email’s layout, attachments, and other components, while EML ensures compatibility with various email clients. On the other hand, converting MSG files to PST is useful if you regain access to the desktop version of Microsoft Outlook. You can utilise the pro or the pro + version of the tool mentioned above for this task.

Precautions and Best Practices to Open MSG Files Without Outlook 

When working with MSG files, it’s essential to follow certain precautions and best practices to ensure data security and smooth operations. Here are some key considerations:

  • Scanning MSG Files for Viruses: Before opening or extracting any content from an MSG file, it’s crucial to scan it for viruses or malware. This helps protect your system from potential security threats that may be embedded within the file.
  • Backing Up MSG Files: Regularly back up your MSG files to avoid accidental data loss or corruption. Creating backups ensures you have a copy of your emails in case of system failures, accidental deletions, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Keeping Software Updated: If you opt for third-party software or email clients to open MSG files, ensure that you keep them up to date. Regularly check for updates and install the latest versions to benefit from bug fixes, security patches, and new features.


This article provides users with the best tools and techniques for knowing how to open MSG file without Outlook desktop client. First, we explored the various built-in methods and their limitations. Then, we introduced the professional solution, explained its features, and provided a detailed procedure for using the tool. 

Additionally, we went through some alternative methods to access the MSG file contents. Next, our discussion went over the vital precautions and best practices to be followed. By leveraging the tool mentioned here users can enhance productivity, improve accessibility, and maintain flexibility when working with MSG files outside of the Outlook environment.

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