Downloading and opening EML (.eml) files in Gmail

PUBLISHED 19 Jan 2024

EML is a text format for emails, with a file extension of .eml. This format was developed by Microsoft, so what if you want to use Gmail to open an .eml file or download an email as .eml? Here's how.

Downloading a .eml file in Gmail

If you use Gmail, it's straightforward to download an email (either you have received or sent) as a .eml file. Here's how to do it using Gmail on desktop:

  1. Open up the email in Gmail
  2. Click on the 'three dots' menu option in the top right (see image below)
  3. Click on Download message
  4. Choose a location and click Save
Download message as .eml file in Gmail

Click to view a larger version

Opening a .eml file in Gmail

Opening a .eml file in Gmail is a little less intuitive. You can't drag and drop the file into the Gmail interface, and there's no option to File > Open or similar. Instead:

  1. Compose a new email in Gmail
  2. Drag your .eml file into the New Message window (to add it as an attachment)
  3. Put your own email address in the 'To' field
  4. Click Send to email the attachment to yourself
  5. Open up the email you have just received
  6. Click once on the attached .eml file

An email in Gmail with a .eml file attached

  1. The .eml file will open in a new browser window

EML file opened in popup window

This is strictly a 'read only' operation - you can't edit the opened .eml file in Gmail or do anything else with it. But if you have an .eml file that you need to open and read, it's a good option.

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James Clark
Hi! I'm James Clark and I'm a freelance web analyst from the UK. I'm here to help with your analytics, ad operations, and SEO issues.
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