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How to save an email message

Email is an online service; this means that an online server is responsible for sending/delivering messages, and that your messages reside on the server. When you read email, the message is downloaded to your email reader. The copy you get may be temporary, and it may only load when the message is accessed. It may also be an offline copy which means it will stay on your device unless you delete it but it can only be read via the app/client you’re using.

The concept can be a bit confusing but if you need to save an email message, there are a few methods that you can use.

Save email message

There are four different ways to save an email message. All these methods can be used for almost any type of email account provided you’re willing to use a different app for the job if/when needed.

Archiving: Archiving allows you to keep an email but still move it out of your main inbox. This feature is available on Gmail and Outlook though other services may have it as well. Most desktop email clients will have an archive feature. An archived email still lives on the service’s servers. In order to access an archived email, you must have access to your email account. All attachments and email headers are saved.

Save HTML: This works for any email that you can access in your browser. You’re basically saving the web view of the email. The attachments and email header information may not save with it. You can open the saved file in any browser.

Download offline: This method works within email clients like Outlook 365, Thunderbird, Mail etc. The email will be saved to your local disk but will only be accessible through the email client that it is saved in. You don’t need access to the email account since the file is already on your system.

Save as EML: An EML file is an email that has been exported, attachments and all. The file can easily be moved to other systems and read on them. You do not need access to your email account to read an EML file.

1. Archive an email

  1. Open the email you want to archive in your email client of choice, or in your browser.
  2. Look for an archive button and click it. The email will be archived. Depending on how your email service/client works, it may not be moved out of the inbox.

2. Save HTML

  1. Access your email message in your web browser.
  2. Open the message in its own individual window if the web service has the option to do s. Allow the email to load and if images are blocked in a message, load them first.
  3. Tap Ctrl+S in the browser window/tab the email is open in, and save the file.
  4. You can view the message any time by double-clicking the HTML file and opening it in the browser of your choice.

3. Download offline

This is basically a setting that’s applied to all incoming emails in an email client. The email client you use may or may not have this feature but most desktop email clients do.

  1. Open your email client, and go to its settings.
  2. Look for an option to save emails or keep them offline.
  3. For Outlook 365, you can go to File>Info>Account Settings>Account Settings.
  4. Select your email account on the email tab, and click Change.
  5. Use the ‘Keep email offline’ slider and set it to ‘All’.

4. Save as EML

An email can be saved in EML format from a desktop client, and from a web portal. For email that you view via a web portal e.g., Gmail, you need to figure out how to view the original message and not the HTML version that you normally see.

  1. Open the original message in your browser. In Gmail, you can click the more options button and select Show Original.
  2. On the original message view, look for and click the ‘Download Original’ option to save the email as EML.
  3. If your web-based email does not have an option to view or download the original message, configure the email on a desktop email client. On Windows 10, you can use Mail.
  4. Open the message in Mail and click the more options (three dots) button and select Save as.
  5. Select where you want to save the message and it will be saved as an EML file.


Saving email messages offline is easy to do and opening them is just as easy. In many cases, this is the simplest method you can use to attach an email to another email. If there’s an important email you think you’ll need later, saving it offline or to your local disk might be a good idea. If you’re saving email from a work email account, make sure you aren’t violating any workplace policies that bar you from doing so.

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