Pure PHP library for reading and manipulating Microsoft Outlook .msg messages (MAPI documents)

v1.1.1 2019-11-21 11:32 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2020-08-05 11:29:56 UTC



Hfig/MAPI is a PHP 7 library for reading and working with Microsoft Outlook/Exchange format email messages (.msg files, aka MAPI documents).

The library can parse MAPI documents, and programatically extract the properties and streams of the document.

It can be used to convert messages to RFC822 (MIME) format by utilising the Swiftmailer/Switfmailer library.

The library is ostensibly a port of the aquasync/ruby-msg library from the Ruby language. Some questionable PHP architectural decisions come from migrating Ruby constructs. Some awful, but functional, code comes from a direct migration of the Ruby library.

Compared to ruby-msg, this library:

  • Does not implement a command line entry point for message conversion
  • Only handles MAPI documents in .msg files (or a PHP stream of .msg file data)
  • Does not implement the conversion of RTF-format message bodies to plain text or HTML
  • Has better support for decoding MAPI document properties
  • Produces a more faithful MIME conversion of the MAPI document


Install using composer

composer require hfig/mapi

# needed if you want to convert to MIME format
composer require swiftmailer/swiftmailer


Accessing document properties

require 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Hfig\MAPI;
use Hfig\MAPI\OLE\Pear;

// message parsing and file IO are kept separate
$messageFactory = new MAPI\MapiMessageFactory();
$documentFactory = new Pear\DocumentFactory(); 

$ole = $documentFactory->createFromFile('source-file.msg');
$message = $messageFactory->parseMessage($ole);

// raw properties are available from the "properties" member
echo $message->properties['subject'], "\n";

// some properties have helper methods
echo $message->getSender(), "\n";
echo $message->getBody(), "\n";

// recipients and attachments are composed objects
foreach ($message->getRecipients() as $recipient) {
    // eg "To: John Smith <john.smith@example.com>
    echo sprintf('%s: %s', $recipient->getType(), (string)$recipient), "\n";

Conversion to MIME

require 'vendor/autoload.php';

use Hfig\MAPI;
use Hfig\MAPI\OLE\Pear;
use Hfig\MAPI\Mime\Swiftmailer;

$messageFactory = new MAPI\MapiMessageFactory(new Swiftmailer\Factory());
$documentFactory = new Pear\DocumentFactory(); 

$ole = $documentFactory->createFromFile('source-file.msg');
$message = $messageFactory->parseMessage($ole);

// returns a \Swift_Message object representaiton of the email
$mime = $message->toMime();

// or write it to file
$fd = fopen('dest-file.eml', 'w');

Property Names

MAPI property names are documented by Microsoft in an inscrutible manner at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/office/developer/office-2007/cc815517(v%3doffice.12).

A list of property names available for use in this library is included in the MAPI/Schema/MapiFieldsMessage.yaml file.

Keeping with the convention of the ruby-msg library, message properties are converted to a nice name:

  • PR_DISPLAY_NAME => display_name
  • PR_ATTACH_FILENAME => attach_filename
  • etc

About MAPI Documents

MAPI documents are Microsoft OLE Structured Storage databases, much like old .doc, .xls and .ppt files. They consist of an internal directory structure of streams of 4K blocks that resemble a virtual FAT filesystem. For economy reasons, every structured storage database contains a root stream which contains 64-byte blocks which in turn stores small pieces of data. For further information see Microsoft's documentation.

The PEAR library OLE can read these database files. However this PEAR library is ancient and does not meet any modern coding standards, hence it's kept entirely decoupled from the message parsing code of this library. Hopefully it can be replaced one day.


For PHP, installing the Kopano Core project on your server will make available ext-mapi, a PHP extension which implements allows access to a port of the low-level MAPI Win32 API.

See also: