What Are EMLX and EML Files?

Both relate to email, but they're not interchangeable formats

What to Know

  • EMLX and EML files are email files.
  • Open one with Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, or a free online viewer.
  • Those same programs, and other tools, can convert the file.

This article explains what EMLX and EML files are and how they're created, as well as how to open both types and the different ways they can be converted to other file formats.

What Are EMLX and EML Files?

A file with the EMLX or EML file extension is used to store an email message. Although these file formats are used for similar reasons, they're not exactly the same thing.

EMLX files are sometimes called Apple Mail email files because they're typically created with Apple's Mail program for macOS. These are plain text files that store just a single email message.

EML files (without the "X") are often called email message files and are generally used by Microsoft Outlook and other email clients. The entire message (attachments, text, etc.) is saved.

Microsoft Outlook EML files
Microsoft Outlook EML files.

EMLXPART files are used by Apple Mail as well, but as attachment files instead of as the actual email.

How to Open an EMLX or EML File

Your EMLX file was almost certainly created by, and can be opened with, Apple Mail, the email program included with the macOS operating system.

Apple Mail isn't the only program that can open EMLX files. Since they just contain text, you could also use a text editor like Notepad++ or Windows Notepad. However, it's much easier to read the message if you open it with Apple Mail.

As for an EML file, you should be able to double-click it to make it open with MS Outlook, Outlook Express, or Windows Live Mail since all three can open the format.

Mozilla Thunderbird and eM Client are some popular free email clients that can open EML files, and online tools, like this one at GroupDocs, work too. GroupWise and Message Viewer Lite are a few alternatives.

You can also use a text editor to open EML files but only to see the plaintext information. For example, if the file contains some image or video attachments, you, of course, can't view those with a text editor, but you can see the to/from email addresses, subject, and body content.

If you happen to have an EMLX or EML file that isn't an email message file and has no association with email clients, We recommend opening it with Notepad++. If you can tell that it's not an email message when you open it with a text editor, there might still be some sort of text within the file that can be used to help identify what format the file is in or what program was used to create that specific file.

How to Convert an EMLX or EML File

On a Mac, you should be able to open the EMLX file in Mail and choose to print the message, but select PDF instead of a conventional printer.

Although we haven't tried it, EMLtoPDF might be the program you need to convert an EMLX file to EML.

If you need to convert the file to mbox, try SysTools' EMLX to mbox Converter.

Outlook Import can convert EMLX or EML to PST if you want to save the message in a format recognized by Microsoft Outlook and similar mail programs.

To convert an EML file to PDF, PST, HTML, JPG, MS Word's DOC, and other formats, use Zamzar. It's an online converter, so all you have to do is upload the file to that website and select which format to convert it to, and then download the converted file.

Zamzar EML converter
Zamzar EML converter.

Another free option is the online EML/EMLX converter from CoolUtils.com.

You can also convert EML to MSG (an Outlook Mail Message file) if you use Outlook. From the File > Save As menu, select MSG as the Save as type option.

To use an EMLX or EML file with Gmail or some other email service, you can't "convert" it to Gmail. Your best option is to set up an email account in the client program, open the EMLX/EML file in the client, and then forward the message to yourself. Or, set up both accounts in a desktop email client, and drag and drop the email files from one account to the other. It's not as clear-cut as these other methods, but that's the only way to get the message file to blend in with your other emails.

Still Can't Open It?

Lots of files look like they could be related to EMLX or EML files, but they're actually completely different. This might happen if you misread the file extension.

One clear example is seen with an EMI file (that's an uppercase "i" instead of an "L"). LXFML files also look kind of similar, but they are LEGO Digital Designer XML files.

XML, EMZ, XLM (Excel Macro), and ELM are a few more examples of files that share similar file extension letters but don't open with the same programs.

More Information on the EMLX/EML Format

EMLX files are normally found on a Mac in the ~user/Library/Mail/ folder, typically under the /Mailboxes/[mailbox]/Messages/ subfolder or sometimes within the subfolder /[account]/INBOX.mbox/Messages/.

EML files can be created from a number of email clients. eM Client is one example of a program that lets you right-click and save messages to that format. You can also save Gmail messages as EML files.

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