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How to deal with winmail.dat attachments

What is this WINMAIL.DAT attachment you get from some people and not others?

This is a Microsoft Outlook / Exchange "feature". Since Exchange supports rich-text email (bold, italic, multiple fonts, etc.), and Internet email doesnít, any email sent from Exchange to a non-Exchange mail reader (like Outlook Express, Eudora, Thunderbird, Netscape Mail, AOL, etc) will contain an Attachment called WINMAIL.DAT. If you use Exchange, you wonít see this file, and the message will retain its formatting.

However, it can be confusing for those who donít use Exchange (us, and the majority of the Internet population), and have no ability to read this file.

If you are sending winmail.dat attachments

In MS Outlook go to the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format (or "Send") tab. Under the Send tab is the message format list, select Plain Text or HTML (not Rich Text), and then click OK.

HTML settings in Outlook

If you receive winmail.dat attachments

If you are constantly receiving winmail.dat files from people who cannot or whose security policy does not allow them to change their Outlook settings, you can download a number of freeware winmail.dat decoders. Here is one we have used with positive results:

As with all software you download, you use them at your own risk but they tend to be created by people who have shared your pain and who empathise!

But the best thing you can do is to tell people who use Outlook to change their settings!


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