Simple Steps to Access the Data Files on Your Mac

Simple Steps to Access the Data Files on Your Mac

Mac is a highly sought-after PC in the world. Its sophisticated nature and high-efficiency rate have led to the acceptance of this Apple Inc. product around the globe. Meanwhile, the number of Apple Macs sold globally crossed 7 million at the year 2020 end. 

While MacBook producers ensure they create accessible and user-friendly products, some issues are encountered. How to open a.dat file on Mac is one of the common issues. Sometimes, your macOS might misinterpret a received item as a data file. Many users, however, find it challenging to open this object format. 

However, you can retrieve your object from this extension with the right tips and steps. This post will discuss data files and what makes them appear on your Apple device. This article will also walk you through how you can access objects with the .dat extension on your computer. 

What is a Data File?

Data files are received items saved by your system’s macOS with .dat extensions. Unlike the .jpg extension attributed to pictures and .xls for Excel sheets, it isn’t easy to ascertain the .dat format. Knowing applications that can open them can also be challenging. 

How Data Files Are Formed

Data files are formed when you use your Mac mail to open an email created and sent through Microsoft Outlook. These emails usually contain highly formatted texts. Currently, ATT0001.dat and winmail.dat are the common .dat object names around. 

Further, you will not encounter a DAT if the mail received is from a macOS device or is in plain text. Data files can be in binary or text formats. Binary .dat objects retain their original forms, while text DAT uses the American Standard Code for Information Interchange. 

How to Access Data Files on Your Mac

With the right tips, accessing a .dat item can be as simple as an answer to “how to open files on MacBook”. However, there are a few methods you can use, depending on whether you have an idea of the original format. Below are some ways to access a .dat object. 

Note that the first two are useful if you know the original object extension, while the others are suitable if you don’t know the formats. 

Resaving with the Original Extension

You will probably know the file format if you are expecting a document. To access the object, save it using the original extension as shown in the steps below: 

  1. Enable file extension visibility by checking the “show all filename extensions” box. This is found under the advanced tab in the Preference section. 
  2. Open your mail and Control + Right Click the extension. This will open a dialogue box. 
  3. Change .dat to the original extension 
  4. Save it in your preferred location, and you will have the document back. This method won’t work if you save with the wrong extension.

Open with TextEdit

Mac TextEdit is an application used for reading text. It will require installing the app on your device. Follow the steps below after installing the tool. 

  1. Right-click the downloaded .dat object
  2. Hovering on “Open with” will reveal a dropdown menu 
  3. Click TextEdit, and your object will open. However, if the attachment didn’t open, the original format is not text. 

Also, a thorough examination of the document opened by TextEdit might suggest the appropriate program to open the text with. 

Convert through “”

You can also access a .dat object using It’s an online tool mostly suitable when you don’t know the original text format. You can try this if the methods above fail. However, you must save the attachment on your Mac and follow the steps below. 

  1. Visit through your browser. It will reveal a box for object selection. 
  2. Click the box and locate the downloaded attachment. Next, click the item and then the choose button. 
  3. It will return to the webpage with the object name reflected in the box. 
  4. Click  “Start Now”, and the site will convert the .dat object after a few minutes. 
  5. Download the data on Mac upon successful conversion. However,  it will extract nothing if the attachment is empty.

Using TNEF Application

The TNEF application can also give you access to a data file. You can install it in the Apple Application Store. Upon successful installation, follow the steps below to open the object. 

  1. Locate the attachment and right-click on it. 
  2. Hover on open to reveal the TNEF application. You can select “others” and search for the app if it’s not showing. 
  3. Select the application, and an extraction process will take place. 
  4. Export or save the extracted documents. 

Access via Gmail 

This simple method requires you to forward the received mail to your Gmail address. Login to your email through your MacBook browser and open the forwarded mail. The document will be presented in its original form. 


With Mac usage, a few questions might arise over time. Some can be simple as how to open documents on Mac, while others can be a little difficult as accessing data files. However, we have explained some ways to retrieve a data file on your MacBook. Interestingly, all these methods are simple to carry out.

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