fixed : What to do with a winmail.dat attachment ?

Question :

I recently received an eMail that should include various attachments, but it only included one : a winmail.dat file.

When I try to open it, OSX tells me there is no app on my Mac that can handle this file.

What can I do ?

Answer :

There are various ways of solving this. (or rather : ‘handling this’, as fixing the actual cause isn’t something an end user can do)

But first, a little insight into the cause :

Long ago, when eMails were still text-only without layout and attachments were added as plain files, a lot of eMail-client makers wanted to improve their user experience and provide their users a layout-option for eMails. Microsoft then developed TNEF as a protocol for communication between their Outlook eMail-clients. But TNEF never made it into an eMail-communication industry standard. HTML (the web-layout protocol) was adopted as the industry-wide standard. MS Outlook never fully adopted regular HTML as it’s eMail-layout protocol. So, even though Outlook calls them HTML-eMail, they are actually being sent as TNEF-eMail, which is HTML-ish, but still MS Outlook-only…

Sometimes (in the chain of eMail-servers involved in eMail-communication) the sender’s Outlook-app (or MS Exchange client) sends out a TNEF-eMail, not a regular HTML-eMail. All receivers of the eMail that use Outlook (or MS Exchange) will not detect any irregularity, but any recipient who’s not using Outlook as their eMail-client will receive it as a text-eMail with only one attachment : a winmail.dat file.

So… this is not a Mac-problem, it isn’t even a problem for all non-Outlook users, it is just that the only way to prevent this from happening to you, is to use MS Outlook…

…but for most non-Outlook users, using Outlook is not an option…

Anyway… the solution …or rather the various options for solving this, as either the sender can prevent this from happening, or the recipient can find ways to open the windmill.dat file anyway :

Microsoft provides 2 options for the sender who wants to prevent this :

1. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to any future recipient :

in Outlook, choose “File” (or “Tools”), then “Options”, then “Mail” (or “Mail Format”), and then in “Compose in this message format”, choose “Plain Text”, then click “OK”

2. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to this specific recipient :

in Outlook’s Address Book, double-click on the recipient’s eMail-address, then in the “SMTP – Address” field choose delete (un-click) the check-mark at “Always Send To This Recipient iIn Microsoft Exchange Rich-Text Format”, then click “OK”

More info can be found on Microsoft’s website :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290809

Even though prevention is the better option, there are alternatives : if you are a recipient using OSX, you can find various apps to unpack winmail.dat files in the Mac App Store. Too bad, there are no free apps for this in the App Store, but there is a FREE one available here :

TNEF’s Enough

If you prefer an automatically updated app from the Mac App Store, and don’t mind paying for it, consider this one, which will unpack faster and has a more comprehensive and visually nicer interface :

Winmail Extractor

If you also need a winmail.dat unpacker-app for your iPhone and/or iPad, you can consider this one :

Klammer for iOS & OSX

There are FREE services available online also, that will convert your windmill.dat for you instantly. Just keep in mind that by using them, you are enabling these services to view the contents of your eMail and it’s attachments, so you are willingly giving up your privacy in suing them. An example :

winmail-dat.com

But, again : even the windmill-dat.com service itself advices you to prefer a dedicated (offline) winmail.dat conversion app (on your Mac) over the use of their service.

Donate Button (MacManusNL)

Advertisements

fixed : Reduce File Size makes PDF unreadable

Question :

I have created a PDF of 4 pages in the Preview app, but I can’t eMail it to anyone because it turns out to be a 39MB file…

I know the probable cause, because some of the pages are entire A4-size pictures scanned as JPEG at 300dpi…

So I tried to use various ways of saving (or exporting) as PDF from within Preview, but they all end up with the same oversized 39MB file… except for one : the “Reduced File Size” filter from the “Export” option gives me a 240kB file that turns out to be completely unreadable…

Isn’t there any simple way to get a readable PDF of about 5MB or so ?

 

Answer :

Yes there is, but unfortunately it’s rather tricky to set up at first (since there is still no option in Preview, nor in “Save as PDF”, to adjust the PDF-output on the fly… and on top of that : there is a bug in the latest versions of OSX that prevents self-made Quartz-filters from ColorSync Utility to be accessible throughout OSX…)

Here’s how to :

1- open the ColorSync Utility that is in the Utilities folder within the Applications folder

2- if no window opens, click on File –> New Window

3- then click on the “Filters” tab

4- then click on the “+”-button in the bottom-left corner to create a new Quartz-filter

5- type “Reduce File Size 75dpi”, then click on the small round button (with the small white triangle in it) at the end of the line

6- from the pulldown menu select “Add Image Effects Component > Color Image Sampling” and now some adjusting options appear, leave most of them as-is, only at “Resolution:” type “75 pixels/inch” (so leave the other options empty and leave “Quality:” at “High”)

7- repeat this last step, but this time select “Add Image Effects Component > Grey Image Sampling” from the pulldown menu (so set “Resolution:” to “75 pixels/inch” here also)

8- tripple-check to make sure that the name of the Quartz-filter is “Reduce File Size 75dpi” and the “Resolution:” is set to “75 dpi/inch” at both instances… if that’s not the case : correct it before continuing (just retype at the correct spot)

OPTIONAL : click on the “+”-button again to create another new Quartz-filter, call it “Reduce File Size 120dpi” and repeat the above procedure, just set “Resolution:” to “120 dpi/inch” this time (…and you can even repeat this for other resolutions like 100 dpi/inch)

9- now close ColorSync Utility

10- now, in the Finder, press the ALT-key on your keyboard and select “Go” from the upper menu bar, in the pulldown and extra (ghost) folder called “Library” will appear, click on it and in the Finder window that opens, select the “Filters” folder (there you will see the Quartz-filters you’ve just created in ColorSync Utility)

11- then, in the Finder open another (new) Finder window and open the (regular) “Filters” folder that is in the “Library” folder in the “System” folder also (there you will see all the standard Quartz-filters available throughout OSX)

12- put both of these Finder windows side-by-side, then select the Quartz-filter files you’ve custom created, and drag them into the other “Library” folder (the one in the “System” folder)

13- then you get an authentication warning message that you need administrator rights to add anything into the folder, so type your administrator password and the custom Quartz-filter files will be moved into the System’s “Filters” folder

UPDATE : from OSX 10.11 El_Capitan on, you will see a grey NoEntry-sign when trying to access the System’s “Filters” folder ; this is due to El-Capitan’s SIP (System Integrity Protection) feature ; to solve this follow these extra steps :

  • instead of moving your self-made Quartz-filters into the ~/System/Library/Filters folder, you should move them to the ~/Library/Filters folder
  • since that last folder doesn’t exist by default, you will have to create it first
  • to do so, go to ~/Library in a Finder-window and click on the Sprocket-icon (a.k.a. GearWheel-icon) and select “New Folder” from the pulldown list
  • when prompted, enter you administrator’s name & password to allow this new folder to be created
  • when done, move your self-made Quartz-filters info this newly created folder at ~/Library/Filters

14- close all open windows

15- select the PDF file that’s too big and open it in the Preview app

16- in the Preview app, go to “File” and from the pulldown menu, select “Export” (do not select “Export to PDF” or “Save” or “Print” !!!)

17- in the window that appears, choose a (new) file name and a location to save the size-reduced PDF-file, then set “Format:” to “PDF” and at “Quartz Filter:” select “Reduce File Size 75dpi” and click the “Save”-button

18- then go to the Finder and select the newly created size-reduced PDF-file and right-click and select “Get Info” (or use the CMD+I key-combo), in the window that opens, check the file size (note : any file up to about 5MB can easily be sent as an eMail attachment)

19- then open the size-reduced PDF in the Preview app and check if the text is still readable… if  all text has turned fuzzy, do a new Export from the original PDF but choose another Quartz-filter (like 100dpi or 120dpi… if you didn’t create those, redo the entire process to create them and make them available throughout OSX)

20- that’s it ! you now have created a very handy and quick PDF size reduction option within the Preview app !

Enjoy !

😉

Donate Button (MacManusNL)

fixed : HP DeskJet 930c can’t print PDF

Question :

I got an eMail-attachment in PDF, and when I tried to print it from my OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion” MacBookPro, a completely blank page came out of my HP DeskJet 930c…

And when I tried printing the entire mail (including the preview of the PDF), the eMail-bodytext got printed, but there was a blank spot where the PDF-preview should have been…

What can I do ?

Answer :

For some unknown reason, the HP DeskJet 930c seems to have problems printing PDFs from OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion”. The only remedy seems to be to install Adobe Reader and print every PDF from there…

…to make printing from Adobe Reader a little easier for you (and something you will not forget when you do not print PDFs for some time), it would be good to set Adobe Reader as the preferred software to open any PDF on your Mac. To do so, do this :

– select any PDF-document’s icon on your Mac

– then press [CMD]+[I] on your keyboard

– in the ‘Get Info’ window that opens, go to the chapter called “Open with:”

– if the grey triangular arrow in front is pointing to the right, click on it to make it point downward and reveal the pulldown-menu that you can should choose “Adobe Reader” from

– after you’ve done that, make sure you also click the “Change All…” button

…now any PDF-document you get on your Mac or in your Mac will open up in Adobe Reader, and you can print it from there

That’s it !

Donate Button (all)

Enjoy !