View Entourage mail in the Finder with a Quick Look plug-in

File this item under “little gems.”
With the help of a plug-in, the Finder can display the contents of Entourage mail messages without having to open them in Entourage. Shin-ichi Kawamura has posted Entourage QuickLook Plug-In ver. 1.1 as a free download on his website.


The website and the included Readme.rtf file are in Japanese but I needed no translation to tell me when I opened the .dmg file that I simply need to drag and drop the Entourage QuickLook Plug-In.qlgenerator file into the /Library/QuickLook folder. Installation is that simple. If you’re not an administrator on your Mac and do not have privileges to install items into the main Library folder then you can place the plug-in inside ~/Library/QuickLook where “~” is your own home folder. You will need to create the QuickLook folder if it doesn’t already exist.

No restart is required and the next search will immediately take advantage of the new plug-in. In the Finder select the Find… command from the File menu. In the Search box enter text for your search. Be sure to search “This Mac” and “Contents”. Locate an Entourage message file and select it. Tap the spacebar to view the contents of the message.
Note that the plug-in is not actually reading the Entourage Database. Instead it is reading the Spotlight cache files generated by the Microsoft Database Daemon for Entourage. These files are found in your home folder in ~/Library/Caches/Metadata/Microsoft/. If your searches are not returning Entourage messages then make sure the Include Entourage items in Spotlight search results preference is chosen in Entourage’s preferences.

The plug-in cleanly formats all messages as plain text whether or not they are plain text or HTML. HTML formatting, pictures, etc., will not appear in the Quick Look window.

Entourage QuickLook Plug-In ver. 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and Entourage 2008.

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11 comments to View Entourage mail in the Finder with a Quick Look plug-in

  • PF

    I could not get this work in Entourage 2004. Is it only for 2008?

  • Yes, the plug-in is only for Entourage 2008 although I would imagine a similar plug-in could be written for Entourage 2004. It simply needs to read the file extension for the 2004 cache files.
    I’ve emailed the author about this blog post and maybe with enough interest he will create a second plug-in.

  • Adam

    This is nice but would be nice if within entourage you could tap the spacebar to view the attachment within entourage itself – and if only spotlight in entourage was like Mail – fast and easy !

  • Ed

    I second that comment. Has anyone heard of a plugin that QuickLooks attachments in Entourage? Is one coming? Is it difficult to learn how to do this?

  • 4ndrew

    Third that comment! Come on M$ – Leopard was around before Entourage 2008 so quick look should have been included.

  • 4ndrew said: Third that comment! Come on M$ – Leopard was around before Entourage 2008 so quick look should have been included.
    If you haven’t already, be sure to read Erik Schwiebert’s take on Office 2008 and Spaces. Erick is a Software Design Lead with the Macintosh Business Unit at Microsoft.
    http://www.schwieb.com/blog/2008/10/23/risks-and-rewards/

  • Luis

    Seems it does not work on Snow Leopard..did someone manage to work?

  • While this post was written when Leopard was available, I can say that I’ve tested it in 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard) and it continues to work for me. Double-check the location where you’ve installed the QuickLook plug-in. It should be in “~/Library/QuickLook” where ” ~ ” is your home folder.
    Also, verify that you’ve enabled the other requirements and understand that this allows you to view messages you find when using the Finder. Some folks expect this plug-in to allow them to view attachments in Entourage. It doesn’t.
    If you continue having problems, then please report them to the plug-in developer.

  • Mario Gonzalez

    “Save as” in Entourage allows you to save an email in an Entourage format or in a SimpleText Format. I saved a lot of my emails in folders using the Entourage format. I cannot view these files with QuickLook even though I have installed the QuickLook Plug-In.qlgenerator file.

  • If you drag an Entourage message to the desktop, you can use the QuickLook plugin to view. The ‘save as’ Entourage format does not work.
    They appear to be the same type so I’m not sure why the QL plugin doesn’t work on both.

  • By default, Entourage saves a message as a plain text file when using File –> Save As… If you change the drop down menu to “Entourage e-mail message” with the .eml file extension then it will act the same as dragging the message from the Entourage window.