How to Save an Email as an EML File in Gmail

Create an EML file from a Gmail message to save it offline

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Gmail lets you export an entire message to a text file which you can then save to your computer and reopen in a different email program, or simply store for backup purposes.

You can save Gmail messages to your computer using a file extension trick. Just download the Gmail email and then save the text to a file with the .EML file extension.

Why Create an EML File?

You can use this email downloading method for reasons other than just backing up your Gmail data.

The most common reason for wanting to download a Gmail message as an EML file is to be able to open the message in a different email client. It probably makes more sense for most people to download or share an email in the EML file format rather than downloading all of their emails at once.

Another reason for creating an EML file might be if you'd rather share the email with someone that way instead of forwarding the original message.

See What Is an EML File? for more information on what the Mail Message file format really is and which programs can be used to open the new EML file.

Save an Email as an EML File in Gmail

The first step is opening the message that you will be saving to your computer:

  1. Open the Gmail message.
  2. Click or tap the small downward facing arrow next to the Reply arrow from the top right of the message.

    Note: Are you using Inbox by Gmail? Use the button with three horizontal dots (next to the time) instead.
  1. Choose Show original from that menu to open the full message as a text document.

From here are two separate ways you can get the email in the EML file format, but the first is the easiest:

Method 1:

  1. Save the message with the .EML file extension by choosing Download Original.
  2. When asked how to save it, pick All Files from the Save as type: menu instead of Text Document.
  1. Put ".eml" at the end of the file (without the quotes).
  2. Save it somewhere memorable so that you know where it's located.

Method 2:

  1. Highlight and copy all of the text that Gmail opened from Step 3 above.

    Windows users: Ctrl+A highlights all of the text and Ctrl+C copies it.
    macOS: Command+A is the Mac shortcut to highlight the text, and Command+C is used to copy everything.
  2. Paste all of the text into a text editor like Notepad++ or Brackets.
  3. Save the file so that it uses the .eml file extension.