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Cougs 03-24-2011 11:02 PM

winmail.dat on ipad
what program do i need to view email attachments send from a windows environment? it is getting very fustrating not being able to see something that any simple windows machine can do.....
Please help

Jesse Hollington 03-24-2011 11:54 PM

The short answer is you'll need a third-party app such as Winmail.dat Viewer.

To be fair its not technically any Wndows machine, but rather any Wndows machine running Microsoft Outlook. Essentially, winmail.dat is a proprietary rich-text e-mail format used by Microsoft Outlook and Exchange systems, leftover from the days long ago before HTML e-mail became standard. As a consultant, I wrestled with this frequently years ago with many of my clients who were using non-Exchange email systems even on Wndows, and it still remains an issue today with everything from GroupWise to GMail, although fortunately most modern Exchange systems no longer spit these out in Internet e-mail.

If you're receiving winmail.dat attachments, it generally means somebody hasn't configured their Exchange system properly and is sending these RTF files out to the Internet instead of using HTML e-mail. Even Microsoft recommends that Exchange administrators not send RTF e-mail out to the Internet.

I realize this is a small consolation, as you probably don't have any control over the system that you're receiving this mail from, but the bottom line is that this is an old legacy format that most systems have long since abandoned for use in Internet e-mail. Third-party developers have created necessary workarounds for people in situations such as yours, but it's not unreasonable that Apple itself doesn't support an e-mail format that has never been used by anything other than an Exchange system and that even Microsoft recommends against using for external Internet e-mail.

kornchild2002 03-25-2011 11:46 AM

dat files can also represent many number of things across multiple platforms. I can send you a dat file containing data used in MATLAB and your "simple Windows machine" would freak out and now be able to do anything while my MacBook Pro, with MATLAB, would be able to work with the file just fine.

iOS itself work with various attachements without issues. You can view jpeg images, PDF files, and a bunch of other content natively without the aid of an app. There are many other attachements that iOS, just like Windows, requires an app to view. Try downloading an mpeg-4 AAC audio file, that was attached to an e-mail, under Windows XP. It isn't going to work without the aid of a program such as Winamp, iTunes, foobar2000, or some type of WMP plug-in. So opening e-mail attachements under a "simple Windows machine" isn't the poster child it was made out to be as there are plenty of examples where it too requires the use of a program (or app in iOS language) to open the file.

As previously pointed out, the use of dat files (particularly when it comes to e-mail) is rather outdated and Microsoft recommends not using it anymore. I use dat files on a daily basis simply because the software I use (which is hooked up to an instrument for measuring a water quality parameter) can output data in either a dat file (which works with MATLAB) or some strange file format that I have never seen and MATLAB freaks out over (I think it is a proprietary format used by that software only).

deggy 04-02-2011 06:27 PM


There is an app called Letter Opener in the app store. There is also a mac version of the same app.

bmarotta 01-17-2012 02:03 PM

Winmail.dat reader online

you can open these winmail.dat attachments in any device by using the Winmail.dat Reader online version (Just google it as I'm not allowed to post links :o )

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