Microsoft KB Archive/171436

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Article ID: 171436

Article Last Modified on 1/20/2007


  • Microsoft Outlook 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q171436


You receive an e-mail message in Microsoft Outlook 97 that you expect to contain an attached graphic or other binary file, but instead contains large amounts of encoded text.


This problem may occur when there is a mismatch in encoding types between the sending e-mail client and the receiving e-mail client (Outlook).


To recover the attached file from the encoded text, use the appropriate method for your situation.

Use a Different Encoding Method

  • Have the sender change their attachment encoding method to Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME), and resend the message. Internet mail gateways are more likely to handle MIME messages properly. Outlook supports the MIME standard.


  • If the MIME option is not available to the sender, have them change their attachment encoding method to UUencode, and resend the message. UUencode is a common format used by UNIX and Macintosh mail systems. You can restore this file to a binary format using a third- party utility. See the "Third-Party Encoding and Decoding Utilities" section later in this article for a list of available utilities.

Reintegrate a File with Multiple Parts

If the attached file was large, it may have been broken into multiple messages, either by the sender or by an Internet mail gateway. If none of the files are missing or out of sequence, copy and paste the text into a single file. You can restore this file to a binary format using a third- party utility. See the "Third-Party Encoding and Decoding Utilities" section later in this article for a list of available utilities.


Several encoding methods exist to convert binary files into plain text. This allows various file types to be sent over the Internet, and to be exchanged between diverse operating systems. Because no single standard exists for the encoding method, if the sender and receiver do not use the same method, the attached file appears as encoded text instead of a fully integrated file attachment.

The two major encoding methods are Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) and UUencode. Files encoded with either of these methods generally have information in the text header to identify the type.

The header of a MIME file contains the phrase: "MIME-version 1.0" or "Base64."

The header of a UUencode file starts with the word "Begin," followed by a three-digit number and the name of the encoded file. The body of a UUencode file is a fixed width, usually 60 to 62 characters long. Each line begins with a capital "M." The body ends with a line consisting of one space character, and a trailer line consisting of the word "end."

Third-Party Encoding and Decoding Utilities

The following third-party utilities can reintegrate a text encoded file into its binary format:

The third-party contact information included in this article is provided to help you find the technical support you need. This contact information is subject to change without notice. Microsoft in no way guarantees the accuracy of this third-party contact information.

The third-party products discussed here are manufactured by vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding these products' performance or reliability.


For more information about including binary files in your e-mail messages, search the Outlook Help Index for "attachments."

Additional query words: gif jpg bmp tif viewer

Keywords: kbprb KB171436