The MSG filetype is a format used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, and other items. This proprietary file format, developed by Microsoft, has been widely used since the introduction of the Outlook software. The MSG format allows users to save Outlook items to their computers with all the relevant attributes such as the sender, recipient, subject, and body of the email, along with attachments. Due to its close association with Microsoft Outlook, the format remains popular in business and personal communication.
How MSG Files Work
MSG files are compound files, similar to OLE2 (Object Linking and Embedding) documents, meaning they contain a structured storage of multiple data streams. These files encapsulate various properties of the message, including text in Rich Text Format (RTF) or HTML, and can also contain embedded objects like spreadsheets or images. When an item is saved in Microsoft Outlook using the MSG format, it becomes a single, standalone file that can be shared or archived independently of the Outlook application.
While MSG files are primarily associated with Microsoft Outlook, there are several software solutions, including email clients and conversion tools, that support this file format. Applications such as Mozilla Thunderbird, with the help of add-ons, and various online conversion services can open, view, and convert MSG files. Additionally, dedicated viewer programs exist that are specifically designed to open and read MSG files without the need for Outlook.
Alternatives to MSG Format
As alternatives to the MSG format, EML files are commonly used. EML files are a standardized format based on the MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) standard, which makes them more versatile and compatible with a wider range of email applications compared to MSG files. Moreover, modern cloud-based solutions have reduced the need for standalone email message files, as messages are increasingly stored and managed directly within the email service provider's infrastructure.