I have this really important email that has a winmail.dat file attached to it. This attachment is (I hope!) a list of email address that I am supposed to use. So I did what I always do – I downloaded the attachment and tried to open it. Ha! How did that work out for me? Not so well, thank you.
I did some research and discovered that the winmail.dat file is a format that contains rich text information; that means it contains formatting and font information. It is generated by Microsoft programs such as Outlook and Exchange. I wondered to myself, why doesn’t Microsoft use the standard Rich Text Format (.rtf)? But that didn’t help me.
One site advised me to tell the sender to uncheck the “send Microsoft rich text format” box when sending the mail. Now, that person is not available, that is why I have this email in the first place – to help her get a task done in her absence. I suppose that I could send the email to a different Microsoft using person, and have them forward it back to me that way, but I’m pretty stubborn.
A little more research revealed at least 2 options. One, Letter Opener, is a plugin to the Mail app called that interprets the attachment and it only costs $7 USD. That seems to be the best long term solution, but I cannot risk messing up my Mail app right now. I’m sure that it would be fine, but I decided not to chance it.
The other is a freeware, stand a long program called TNEF’s Enough. There are links on the website to download the file, so I downloaded in Disk Image format. Then all I had to do was drag the winmail.dat attachment into the new application and then my data would be revealed. Unfortunately, although the data file was valid, I saw no email list – not through any shortcoming of TNEF’s Enough.
Well, although I have not harvested the data that I need, I know what to do the next time that I get a Winmail.dat file. It happens fairly often, and truthfully? I have ignored the attachments in the past.