Opening .msg files from sharepoint natively in Outlook

Copper Contributor



I am wondering if there is a method of opening .msg files in a similar manner to .xls and .docx, where you can open them natively. The current way sharepoint opens .msg files does not allow access to the attachments in the emails, nor can the message be forwarded unless explicitly downloaded. 


Classic sharepoint immediately downloads the file, so it does not mitigate the issue experienced here.


8 Replies

@Vallatt This is not possible using SharePoint out of the box capabilities. SharePoint can only show the email contents in the browser but the attachments cannot be opened from browser.


You may need to use 3rd part applications for this. Check below thread for more information: Opening .msg files from sharepoint natively in Outlook 

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That is a shame, as that would have been a valuable feature for us.

Can you provide suggestions regarding trusted 3rd party apps that can provide functionality close to this?


Collab365 provides a list with Email Management tools for SharePoint (link). The key players are listed here.
Most of the tools listed are so-called Outlook add-ins or need installation on the client computers. Some of the tools are SharePoint apps and are browser-based (example). 

Changing the default behaviour when clicking an msg is not possible AFAIK. You can use GPO's to configure the end-user browsers (Chrome/Edge) to directly open the msg files from your specific SharePoint tenant when they choose the download option. This obviously only works if you control the end-users computer environment.

There are SharePoint apps (see list above) that can be used to display attachments (pdf, jpg, ... but also docx, xlsx, ppts, ...) directly in the browser. This also works with emails containing an msg attachment which contains additional attachments.
Trusted: some apps require the emails to be transferred to a separate system. This may violate your company's security policy. You may also have to include this as a requirement.

I am also wondering the same thing, and it seems like a bizarre omission that you can't open an email from SharePoint into native Outlook. Even the preview you get in SharePoint is pretty rudimentary, and does not show attachments! It's not like Outlook is some esoteric third party application... it's an MS product and pretty much ubiquitous in a corporate environment. Seems odd that we need to go looking for third party solutions even to get a decent preview of an email in SharePoint.


Storing emails in SharePoint is indeed not optimal and there is lots of room for improvement. Some of the key areas to address are:
- no support for viewing email attachments
- the email header (From: Sent on: part) differs from what users normally see in an Outlook client
- the sent date is in UTC (this may confuse users)
- the preview is slow
- it is cumbersome to attach SharePoint documents to an email
- sending an email with links to SharePoint documents is not simple
- no support for metadata extraction (e.g. subject, sent date, ...).
   This has a negative impact on the usability of SharePoint for managing emails.
- uploaded email replies are stored with a sequence number (1), (2) etc..
- searching for emails is cumbersome even though the SharePoint search is very capable. Ideally you want to use Outlook like searches like from:bill to find all emails that bill has sent.
- SharePoint adds schema information to msg files during uploading. The size slightly increase (7-10 kB) but this effect because noticable when you are dealing with M's of emails.
- the need to download emails to the local computer increased the compliance / security risks.

Organizations with SharePoint 2019 are in an even worse position: Office Online Server does not preview emails and clicking on an email downloads the email.


The above impacts the use of SharePoint for managing emails: there are quite some organizations that want to store emails in SharePoint together with the related project/client data and keep relevant information together and have a single source of truth.


There are multiple ways to deal with this:
a. accept the current situation and continue storing emails in SharePoint
b. use Exchange for storing emails and keep the other documents in SharePoint
c. configure the client computers to allow opening of emails from your SharePoint tenant and instruct your users to download an email and that will then automatically open in Outlook
d. use 3rd party apps (list with some examples)
There are lots of them and the functionality offered is really advanced. The main drawback is costs and this needs to be assessed against an improved adoption and user productivity. Plus a reduction of the compliance/security risks. "Why do organizations need to pay extra money for functionality that is expected by quite some customers"
Note: most apps add functionality to the Outlook client but there are also apps that are browser-based and require no client installation.

e. Use a different platform (this will be too drastic for most organizations)

The above characteristics is what I am currently aware off. Feel feel to chime in. Having a good overview will help others.

@Paul de Jong thanks for the detailed and informative reply.  


> no support for metadata extraction (e.g. subject, sent date, ...)


This is indeed a major oversight.  I'm looking at a macro/flow solution which files away an email from Outlook into SharePoint, and which at the same time populates some custom fields (columns)  in SharePoint with some additional metadata... including some pretty basic ones like To and From, which IMHO should not be necessary.  This is 2023 and these applications are all within the MS ecosystem so it really should be a thing already.


> the need to download emails to the local computer increased the compliance / security risks


Yes.  It would be so straightforward to implement (at the bare minimum) the ability to open the .msg file into native Outlook at the click of a button (or from a context menu), like you can with Word documents from SharePoint.  It's one of the lowest hanging fruit possible in this context, surely?


> here are quite some organizations that want to store emails in SharePoint together with

> the related project/client data and keep relevant information together and have a

> single source of truth


Exactly this!  We have a whole range of documents and document types, including emails, pdfs, Word, Excel and so on, and we want to keep them all in the same place, so that we can organise and tag them consistently, and filter/search to find what we want quickly.  An email (.msg) file should not be treated any differently to any other type of file.

MSFT, PLEASE, this is absolutely necessary. Email messages stored in SharePoint should open natively in Outlook same as Word and Excel do. The classic SP did, why did this get dropped with SharePoint online? Big mistake and a huge disservice to your customers. We should not have to add a third party tool for this considering we are a 365 environment now and these are both MSFT programs.


This functionality is not on the roadmap and is only modestly popular on the SharePoint feedback portal (link).

Automatically opening emails in SharePoint using Outlook can be implemented by using policies for Chrome/Edge without using 3rd party apps.

In short, you configure Chrome/Edge to allow direct opening when an email originates from your trusted SharePoint tenant (and not from other URLs) and you will also have to expose the download URL for the email (e.g. via json formatting) to simplify life for your users.

Note: this will only work on clients using Chrome or Edge where the policies have been configured. If you also have clients outside your control or use other browsers (Safari, FireFox, ...) this will not work.
This may be further complicated if you have a large number of sites in your tenant.

The above steps offer a workaround with limitations. You will miss out on some of the benefits of 3rd party apps like fast viewing of emails in the browser, viewing email attachments (docx, pdf, jpg, ...) in the browser, ...