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Posted 30 Apr 2010


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Easily Retrieve Email Information from .EML Files -- Revised

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4.61/5 (14 votes)
30 Apr 2010CPOL2 min read
C# classes that upload an EML into a System.Net.Mail.MailMessage


This article demonstrates how to upload an EML file into a Microsoft .NET MailMessage. This supercedes other work I have written on this. I had trouble with the other method not decoding the message's HTML body properly and was looking for an alternative when I found Peter Huber's article "POP3 Email Client (.NET 2.0)". I discovered that with a little modification, his RxMailMessage and Pop3MimeClient classes will also read EML files. I contacted him and told him that I would be changing some of his code and updating my article and he was obligated to that idea. Pop3MimeClient was also renamed to MimeReader since its purpose does not necessarily have anything to do with Pop3.


My intent was to have an SMTP service I could send messages to that would process those messages. The recipient email name was an identifier but it was difficult to predict what it might be. The host name was the server. Sending to would create an EML file in the SMTP services Drop area (for Microsoft SMTP, usually c:\inetpub\mailroot\drop). I could then pull off all the mail recipients (To, CC and BCC) and process the body message as needed. To use Pop3, I would have had to log in to each Pop3 account or use a Pop3 catch-all account. I was willing to go this route until I found out that Microsoft was going to remove the Pop3 Server from all Microsoft Server platforms after Windows Server 2003. It also seemed a little silly to use Pop3 if I could just find a way to read the EML files directly. Then I found Peter's article.

Using the Code

Let's keep this simple. I'm sure you all know how to get file paths from a directory so I won't bother showing that. It's just a simple matter of creating a MimeReader and using it to get the an RxMailMessage object by specifying the EML path.

MimeReader mime = new MimeReader();     // this class processes the .EML mime content

// this get's the MailMessage into Peter's RxMailMessage class
// which is derived from the MS MailMessage class
RxMailMessage mm = mime.GetEmail(sEmlPath);

I had to look through the MailMessage AlternateViews to find the message body in some cases:

private string GetPlainText(RxMailMessage mm)
    // check for plain text in body
    if (!mm.IsBodyHtml && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(mm.Body))
        return mm.Body;
    string sText = string.Empty;
    foreach (AlternateView av in mm.AlternateViews)
        // check for plain text
        if (string.Compare(av.ContentType.MediaType, "text/plain", true) == 0)
            continue;// return StreamToString(av.ContentStream);
        // check for HTML text
        if (string.Compare(av.ContentType.MediaType, "text/html", true) == 0)
            sText = StreamToString(av.ContentStream);
    // HTML is our only hope
    if (sText == string.Empty && mm.IsBodyHtml && !string.IsNullOrEmpty(mm.Body))
        sText = mm.Body;
    if (sText == string.Empty)
        return string.Empty;
    // need to convert the HTML to plaintext
    return PgUtil.StripHTML(sText);

private static string StreamToString(Stream stream)
    string sText = string.Empty;
    using (StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(stream))
        sText = sr.ReadToEnd();
        stream.Seek(0, SeekOrigin.Begin);   // leave the stream the way we found it
    return sText;

Points of Interest

Some parts of Peter's original Pop3MimeClient (a.k.a. MimeReader) just didn't seem to work for me, in particular, the setting of content-disposition header field in ProcessHeaderField and the ConvertToMailAddress method.


This supercedes the original Easily retrieve email information from .EML files article I had written.


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


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior) Lockheed Martin Services Inc
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Member 1163969114-Jul-17 0:41
MemberMember 1163969114-Jul-17 0:41 
QuestionSend eml file in email Pin
Member 1227395419-Jan-16 7:00
MemberMember 1227395419-Jan-16 7:00 
QuestionIssue in getting code Pin
Dipti Dhiman 37-Jun-15 22:21
MemberDipti Dhiman 37-Jun-15 22:21 
AnswerRe: Issue in getting code Pin
Dipti Dhiman 38-Aug-16 2:44
MemberDipti Dhiman 38-Aug-16 2:44 
QuestionEMl to HTMl page Pin
RohitKabadi1-Sep-14 23:49
MemberRohitKabadi1-Sep-14 23:49 
QuestionException while reading Outlook eml files -The Date is in invalid format Pin
jagnyadatta4-Dec-13 20:09
Memberjagnyadatta4-Dec-13 20:09 
AnswerRe: Exception while reading Outlook eml files -The Date is in invalid format Pin
BillJam115-Dec-13 4:23
MemberBillJam115-Dec-13 4:23 
GeneralRe: Exception while reading Outlook eml files -The Date is in invalid format Pin
jagnyadatta7-Dec-13 5:35
Memberjagnyadatta7-Dec-13 5:35 
QuestionFake code Pin
glebbest21-Nov-13 3:48
Memberglebbest21-Nov-13 3:48 
Questiongetting warning on build in VS2010; ReplyTo is obsoleted for this type Pin
kp52r117-Nov-12 10:16
Memberkp52r117-Nov-12 10:16 
AnswerRe: getting warning on build in VS2010; ReplyTo is obsoleted for this type Pin
Member 899522710-May-13 7:15
MemberMember 899522710-May-13 7:15 
QuestionI am new to .Net and C#: Does anyone have a solution built that i can just open in VS2010? Pin
kp52r117-Nov-12 8:45
Memberkp52r117-Nov-12 8:45 
QuestionHow to parse and read an eml file? Pin
Member 872171317-Apr-12 4:47
MemberMember 872171317-Apr-12 4:47 
AnswerFor save the the attachment pass the attachment to the Function Pin
arventh8-Mar-12 23:26
Memberarventh8-Mar-12 23:26 
GeneralRe: For save the the attachment pass the attachment to the Function Pin
DamodarSP8-Apr-16 6:03
MemberDamodarSP8-Apr-16 6:03 
QuestionAttachment Pin
arventh8-Mar-12 20:20
Memberarventh8-Mar-12 20:20 
Questionhow to save the Attachment in the eml on physical path Pin
udayakumard8-Mar-12 19:48
Memberudayakumard8-Mar-12 19:48 
QuestionRequest for the EML messages parser functionality reuse. Pin
Rodion Melnichenko18-Jan-12 1:46
MemberRodion Melnichenko18-Jan-12 1:46 
AnswerRe: Request for the EML messages parser functionality reuse. Pin
Andreas Gieriet18-Jan-12 4:52
professionalAndreas Gieriet18-Jan-12 4:52 
GeneralMessage Subject Pin
rubenmoncaleano12-Apr-11 7:30
Memberrubenmoncaleano12-Apr-11 7:30 
GeneralPlain text message with attachment problem. Pin
tkendall10-Mar-11 3:34
Membertkendall10-Mar-11 3:34 
GeneralRe: Plain text message with attachment problem. Pin
saurabh.pundir23-Nov-11 22:28
Membersaurabh.pundir23-Nov-11 22:28 
GeneralRe: Plain text message with attachment problem. Pin
Member 872171330-Apr-12 23:08
MemberMember 872171330-Apr-12 23:08 
GeneralRe: Plain text message with attachment problem. Pin
vp_cz28-Jan-13 3:44
Membervp_cz28-Jan-13 3:44 
GeneralRe: Plain text message with attachment problem. Pin
Shah Qais18-Feb-15 9:25
MemberShah Qais18-Feb-15 9:25 

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