What Is an MSG File?

How to open, edit, and convert MSG files

What to Know

This article describes what MSG files are, the various ways you can open one, and how to convert one to a different format depending on what the file is storing (email, contacts, etc.).

What Is an MSG File?

A file with the .MSG file extension is most likely an Outlook Mail Message file. The Microsoft Outlook program can make an MSG file that pertains to an email, appointment, contact or task.

If an email, the MSG file might contain message information like the date, sender, recipient, subject and message body (including custom formatting and hyperlinks), but it might instead just be contact details, appointment information or a task description.

If your MSG file isn't related to MS Outlook, it might be in the Fallout Message file format. The Fallout 1 and 2 video games use MSG files to hold game messages and dialogue information pertaining to the characters.

Outlook email folder system on computer
 

How to Open MSG Files

Microsoft Outlook opens MSG files that are Outlook Mail Message files, but you don't have to have MS Outlook installed to view the file. Free Opener, MSG Viewer, MsgViewer Pro, and Email Open View Pro should work too.

SeaMonkey should be able to view the MSG file on Windows, Linux, and macOS. There's also the Klammer app for iOS that opens MSG files on those devices.

One online MSG file viewer that works on any operating system is Encryptomatic's Free MSG EML Viewer. Just upload your file there to see the whole message in your browser. The text looks just like it would in MS Outlook and the hyperlinks are even clickable.

Fallout Message files are usually located in the \ text\english\ dialog\ and \ text\english\game\ directories of the game. Though they're used by both Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, chances are you can't manually open the MSG file in those programs (they're used automatically by the game). You might, however, be able to view the messages as text documents using a free text editor.

How to Convert an MSG File

Microsoft Outlook can convert MSG files to different file formats depending on the type of MSG file being used. For example, if it's a message, you can save the MSG file to TXT, HTML, OFT, and MHT. Tasks can be converted to some text formats like RTF, contacts to VCF and calendar events to ICS or VCS.

After opening the MSG file in Outlook, use the File > Save As menu to choose an appropriate format from the Save as type: drop-down menu.

To save the MSG file to PDF, EML, PST or DOC, use the free online file converter Zamzar. Since the Zamzar file converter utility runs online through your web browser, you can use it on any operating system.

MSGConvert is a command-line tool for Linux that can convert MSG to EML.

You can also convert your contacts to a format that's usable in Excel or some other spreadsheet program. First convert the MSG file to CSV then import the contacts into Outlook via dragging and dropping the .MSG files directly into the My Contacts section of the program. Then, go to File > Open & Export > Import/Export > Export to a file > Comma Separated Values > Contacts to choose where to save the new CSV file.

It's unlikely that converting a Fallout Message file to any other format would be useful, but you can probably do so with a text editor. Just open the MSG file there and then choose to save it as a new file.

Still Can't Open Your File?

The file extension ".MSG" is pretty simple and might, in fact, be used by other programs not mentioned above. Chances are, though, that any use of the .MSG file extension is for a message file of some sort. Try opening the file in a text editor if the email programs above aren't working for you.