How to Save an Email as an EML File in Gmail

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You can export individual messages as .eml files (as a backup, or to open in email programs) from Gmail.

Forward as an Attachment? Save a Copy of Just One Message from Gmail?

So you want to keep a copy of an important email in a prominent place? You want to forward a message as an attachment with Gmail on the web? You want to move just one email from a Gmail account to your desktop email program without setting up IMAP access or forwarding it inline?

While there's no dedicated Save As… command in Gmail when you view an email or conversation, saving a message in the .eml (email source) format is neither impossible nor difficult.

Save an Email as an EML File in Gmail

To save an individual email message as a .eml file (for opening on the desktop, to import in an email program or to attach it perhaps) in Gmail:

  1. Open the message in Gmail.
  2. Click the downward-pointing arrow head (▾) next to Reply in the header area of the email you want to save.
    • ​In Inbox by Gmail, click the Reply, Forward & more menu button ().
  3. Select Show original from the menu that comes up.
  4. Press Ctrl-A (Windows, Linux) or Command-A (Mac) to highlight all the text in the window or tab that opens with the message's source code.
  5. Press Ctrl-C (Windows, Linux) or Command-C (Mac) to copy the code.
    • Possibly, your browser will let you save the message's source code as an .eml file. This shortcut is worth trying; make sure you do save the page's source code—and not the page as displayed as a web archive, for instance.
      In this case, you are done.
  1. Open any plain text editor (such as TextEdit, Notepad or Vim).
  2. Create a new text-only document.
  3. Press Ctrl-V (Windows, Linux) or Command-V (Mac) to paste the message source.
  4. Save the document as a plain text file on your Desktop or Downloads folder, for example, with the extension ".eml".
    You can use the message subject, for example, and save a message with the subject "Breezy Hiking Weather on Monday!" to a file titled "Breezy Hiking Weather on Monday.eml".

    You can now import the resulting .eml file to an email program that supports the format or attach it to a new message right in Gmail, for example.

    (Updated July 2016, tested with Gmail in a desktop browser)