The EML file format is primarily associated with email messages saved to a file. The extension stands for 'Email' and is used by various email clients to store individual email messages. EML files are formatted according to the standard set by the Internet Message Format (RFC 822), essentially plain text files that include the header and the body of the message. The header contains the sending and receiving information, date, subject, and other metadata, while the body holds the message content, which may include attachments in one or more formats.
History of EML File Type
The EML file type has its origins in the early days of electronic mail, predating the modern internet. As email became a standard form of communication, the need for a standardized file format to store and share email messages became apparent, leading to the adoption of EML as a de facto standard among email clients.
Software that Uses EML
Several popular email clients support EML files, including Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird. The versatility of the EML format allows for easy sharing between different email programs and the capability to be opened in web browsers or text editors. Additionally, EML files can be imported into database and forensics software for archiving or investigative purposes.
Working With EML Files
To view or manipulate EML files, no specialized software is necessarily needed. The files are readable by text editors due to their plain text nature, allowing users to see the email's contents outside of an email client. However, for a more true-to-form representation, it is recommended to use compatible email clients which can display formatted text, images, or access attached files.
Alternatives to EML
Despite its widespread use, EML is not the only format for storing email messages. Alternative formats include MBOX, which is used to store multiple email messages in a single file, and PST, which is specific to Microsoft Outlook and stores an entire email mailbox. These formats offer different advantages, such as the ability to save vast numbers of messages compactly or to back up entire accounts rather than individual messages.