Opening winmail.dat in Thunderbird in Linux

Opening winmail.dat in Thunderbird in Linux

Microsoft, being Microsoft, feels a need to not use the same standard that everyone else has been using for umpteen years. This, of course, creates problems for everyone. A great example of this is their TNEF format which we all see as winmail.dat files in e-mail attachments which does not even work correctly across different versions of Outlook in some cases.

Since I run Ubuntu in my day-to-day I needed a way around this. These are the steps I took.

  • Install the tnef package: sudo apt-get install tnef
  • Create a script in your home directory and make it executable: touch ~/tnef.sh;chmod +x ~/tnef.sh
  • In this newly created file stick

    #!/bin/bash

    SAVE_PATH=~/Desktop/winmail.dat
    mkdir $SAVE_PATH
    tnef -C $SAVE_PATH < $1

  • When you try to open the attachment in Thunderbird just tell it to open it with your new script.

Change SAVE_PATH to wherever you would like winmail.dat to be extracted to. You will have a new folder with the extracted contents where ever SAVE_PATH is pointing. If you wanted to, for example, have them extracted directly to your desktop you would want to comment out the mkdir line.

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