Internet Explorer, Programming, SharePoint, Software

SharePoint: Getting EML Emails to Open in Outlook


If you are sending emails to a SharePoint document library, they get saved as .eml files rather than .msg like when you drag and drop emails into SharePoint. Unfortunately .eml files do not always handle as nicely as .msg files and require extra steps to open. The challenge is to get those files to open for your users when they click on the file. In this article I’ll review the basic steps for making this happen, but you may need to dig deeper depending on your situation.

The Problem with EML Files

By default when you click on a .eml file in a document library, SharePoint/your PC does not give you the option to simply Open the file. Your only presented choice is to save the file to your computer and open it manually from there. Only then, when the .eml is saved to your drive and you again click on the .eml file, will the email opens up in Outlook (assuming you have made the file association correctly on your machine).

Obviously your users will not want to have to save each email to their drive before they can open it, so you will need to change the default SharePoint behavior as well as your PCs behavior. This is done in two steps:

Step #1: Setting SharePoint Browser File Handling

By default SharePoint sites are set to Strict file handling. This setting in SharePoint’s Central Administration adds headers that tell a browser how to prompt to handle certain file types (such as .eml, but surprisingly not .msg files). You will need to set this file handling to Permissive in order for SharePoint not to add the headers that require the document to be saved to the user’s hard drive before opening.

1) Go to SharePoint’s Central Administration
2) Click Manage Web Applications (under Application Management)
3) Click BESIDE the Web application you want to open emails from (just so it is highlighted)
4) In the top menu, click to expand the General Settings dropdown
5) Select the General Settings option
6) In the Web Application General Settings popup scroll down until you find: Browser File Handling
7) Change the file handling to Permissive
8) Click the OK button to save your changes

At this point, try browsing to your site again and click on the .eml Email message in your document library. Usually now another undesirable thing will happen: your browser will open the email message rather than the email popping up as an Outlook message. To fix this next problem, you’ll need to do step #2 below to fix a setting on your local machine.

Step #2: Getting Outlook to open your Emails

As I mentioned above, it’s likely now that when you click on a .eml email in your document library, the email will open directly in your browser (like a Web page). To fix this, you’ll need to delete a registry path on your machine that is telling IE to open the .eml rather than MS Outlook. Note that this path is for Windows 10; I have not tested on other versions of Windows. Also, before you do anything with your registry, remember to back it up just in case.

1) Start editing your registry with regedit. It is usually best to do this using administrative permissions by right-clicking and saying to ‘run as adminstrator’.
2) Navigate to the following path:
HKEY_Classes_ROOT\MIME\Database\Content Type
3) You should see a folder called message/rfc822
4) Delete the folder message/rfc822
5) Close out of regedit

At this point you’ve gotten rid of the problem registry entry. Now test browsing back to your SharePoint document library. When you click on a .eml email message, you should now see an option to Open the document. When you do so, the email should open up in Outlook.



1 thought on “SharePoint: Getting EML Emails to Open in Outlook”

  1. Hi Justin, Great Article!! The above case will work in all SharePoint On-Premises. Can we implement this option in SharePoint Online site?

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