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Posted 11 Jul 2007


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MsgReader - DLL

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16 Jul 2007CPOL
A library which can be used to read Outlook msg-files without Outlook


The MsgReader.dll is able to read a Outlook msg-file without having Microsoft Outlook installed. The library is able to read, e.g. Subject, message body (also compressed RTF), saving attachments (no msg attachments), ...

It can be used by everybody for non-commercial projects.


To read the OLE-Storage, we used the Edanmo.OleStorage.dll. A lot of other code was derived, ported, ... from code snips we found on the internet.

Using the Code

The library was developed with C# and .NET 1.1. Just import it and build your application. It might contain some bugs because this is the first working version we "released". Tests was done with Microsoft Outlook 2003.
For more details, check out MsgReader.chm which contains the whole documentation.

The following code shows a small example of how to use the library:

  1. Open the selected Outlook msg-file:

    private void btnBrowse_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
      this.txtBoxFile.Text = this.opnFile.FileName;
  2. Read the To, From, Subject and mail body (plain text & RTF-formatted text) property from msg-file and display them:

    private void btnShow_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
      if (this.txtBoxFile.Text != "")
        string[] AttachList;
        string Content = "";
        string path = this.txtBoxFile.Text;
          // First of all you have to create new object
          // the constructor has to take as a argument
          // path to file which we'd like to open
          Msg storage = new Msg(path);
          this.txtBoxTo.Text = storage.GetToProperty();
          this.txtBoxFrom.Text = storage.GetFromProperty();
          this.txtBoxSub.Text = storage.GetSubjectProperty();
          this.txtBoxBody.Text = storage.GetBodyText();
          storage.GetAttachmentList(out AttachList);
          Content = storage.GetBodyRtfText();
          this.RTFBox.TextRTF = addAttachmentsToRTF(Content, AttachList);
          // cannot open file
  3. This function adds the Windows file type icons of the attachments and the attachments name to the RTF-Body. Only in case the attachments were originally "attached" to an RTF or HTML body, the icon will be displayed in the RTF-body because in case of plain-text mails, no attachments rendering position is defined!

    private string addAttachmentsToRTF(string RTFBody, string[] attchList)
      int lastIndex = 0;
      WMETA8 wmeta8;
      String dummy;
      if (RTFBody.Length > 13) 
        for (int i=0; i<attchList.Length; i++)
          lastIndex = RTFBody.IndexOf("\\objattph\\'20", lastIndex);
          if (lastIndex > 0) 
            RTFBody = RTFBody.Remove(lastIndex, 13);
            wmeta8 = new WMETA8(this.RTFBox.CreateGraphics());
            dummy = attchList[i];
            if (dummy.Length > 15) 
              dummy = "<" + dummy.Substring(0,13) + "..>";
              dummy = " <" + dummy + ">";
            RTFBody = RTFBody.Insert(lastIndex, 
    		(wmeta8.getRTFIcon(attchList[i]) + "{\\fs16 " + dummy +"}"));
          else break;
      return RTFBody;

The complete Visual Studio project can be also downloaded (

Screenshot - Sample_picture.jpg

Points of Interest

More details, news, and updates regarding the MsgViewer-Application and the DLL can be found here.


  • 12.7.2007 - Picture of the sample application added
  • 17.7.2007 - Sorry for the delay - we had some trouble with the upload. Today I added the new DLL-Project (done with Visual Studio .NET 2003) and the full library documentation


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Germany Germany
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Comments and Discussions

QuestionSubmit corrections? Pin
Berend Engelbrecht23-Nov-09 4:30
MemberBerend Engelbrecht23-Nov-09 4:30 
AnswerRe: Submit corrections? Pin
RussGreen10-Apr-10 1:58
MemberRussGreen10-Apr-10 1:58 
GeneralSaveAttachToFile Pin
remember f7-Jan-09 0:28
Memberremember f7-Jan-09 0:28 
GeneralRe: SaveAttachToFile Pin
articx30-Jan-17 6:42
Memberarticx30-Jan-17 6:42 
GeneralCreating a Strong Name for MsgReader.dll [modified] Pin
Vipul Mehta15-Dec-08 21:49
MemberVipul Mehta15-Dec-08 21:49 
GeneralRe: Creating a Strong Name for MsgReader.dll Pin
ltcartman18-Dec-08 10:29
Memberltcartman18-Dec-08 10:29 
QuestionJust a little bug ? Pin
gantoissylvain@hotmail.com4-Jun-08 7:46
Membergantoissylvain@hotmail.com4-Jun-08 7:46 
QuestionWhere to get latest release? Pin
Bilal Haidar5-May-08 3:15
MemberBilal Haidar5-May-08 3:15 
GeneralWhere is the source code Pin
Dewey12-Jul-07 22:24
MemberDewey12-Jul-07 22:24 
GeneralRe: Where is the source code Pin
PSI200616-Jul-07 22:25
MemberPSI200616-Jul-07 22:25 
GeneralScreenshot Pin
Michael Sync11-Jul-07 23:34
MemberMichael Sync11-Jul-07 23:34 

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