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John Blake
09-17-2008, 03:06 PM
This is not really a repair or troubleshooting question but I need an answer.

Today I received an email from a windows user that had an attachment titled
winmail.dat

Is there a Mac program to open this type of file?

Thanks

John

eric
09-18-2008, 12:35 AM
Hi John,

The name of that file rang a bell. It's a byproduct of Outlook's RTF formatting option for emailing -- the other formatting choices in Outlook are plain-text and html.

The sender is using Outlook and sending out emails in RTF. The bells-and-whistles RTF formatting is stuck in attachment by Outlook when sent. When the recepient is also using Outlook, then the recepient will see the RTF formatted email seemlessly without issue -- no attachment, nothing etc. -- since Outlook knows how to deal with that RTF attachment.

The problem is with other email clients, who aren't designed or can't handle the Outlook RTF information (probably can't handle since MS probably did something) -- which appears as that winmail.dat.

If you Google for winmail.dat, you'll find more detailed info. For instance, I found these:

http://facstaff.gpc.edu/~jbenson/resource/winmail.htm (http://facstaff.gpc.edu/%7Ejbenson/resource/winmail.htm)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278061
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/138053

Not really worth trying to open it since it's basically text-formatting infomation, although there may be programs to help interpret it.

In short, the problem is on the other end, by the person who sent you the email. He or she is most likely innocent on this matter -- most people don't know about this issue. Best is really to use HTML in Outlook if formatted text is needed or desired.