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mailparser is an asynchronous and non-blocking parser for node.js to parse mime encoded e-mail messages. Handles even large attachments with ease - attachments are parsed in chunks that can be saved into disk or sent to database while parsing (tested with 16MB attachments).

mailparser parses raw source of e-mail messages to convert mime-stream into a structured object.

No need to worry about charsets or decoding quoted-printable or base64 data, mailparser (with the help of node-iconv) does all of it for you. All the textual output from mailparser (subject line, addressee names, message body) is always UTF-8.


You need to have node-iconv installed!


npm install mailparser


Create a new mailparser object

var MailParser = require("mailparser").MailParser,
    mp = new MailParser();

Set up listener for different events

  • Get mail headers as a structured object

    mp.on("header", function(headers){
  • Get mail body as a structured object

    mp.on("body", function(body){
  • Get info about binary attachment that is about to start streaming

    mp.on("astart", function(id, headers){
        console.log("attachment id" + id +" started);
  • Get part of a binary attachment in the form of a Buffer

    mp.on("astream", function(id, buffer){
        console.log("attachment id" + id);
  • Attachment parsing completed

    mp.on("aend", function(id){
        console.log("attachment " + id + " finished");

Feed the parser with data


Finish the feeding



Parser returns the headers object with "header" event and it's structured like this

{ useMime: true
, contentType: 'multipart/alternative'
, charset: 'us-ascii'
, format: 'fixed'
, multipart: true
, mimeBoundary: 'Apple-Mail-2-1061547935'
, messageId: ''
, messageDate: 1286458909000
, receivedDate: 1286743827944
, contentTransferEncoding: '7bit'
, addressesFrom: 
   [ { address: ''
     , name: 'Andris Reinman'
, addressesReplyTo: []
, addressesTo: [ { address: '', name: false } ]
, addressesCc: []
, subject: 'Simple test message with special characters like  \u0161 and \u00f5'
, priority: 3

Message body is returned with the "body" event and is structured like this

{ bodyText: 'Mail message as plain text',
, bodyHTML: 'Mail message as HTML',
, bodyAlternate: ["list of additional text/* and multipart/* parts of the message"],
, attachments: ["list of attachments"]

Attachments are included full size in the body object if the attachments are textual. Binary attachments are sent to the client as a stream that can be saved into disk if needed (events "astream" and "aend"), only the attachment meta-data is included in the body object this way.

See test.js for an actual usage example (parses the source from mail.txt and outputs to console)

node test.js

You need to install node-iconv before running the test!


Messages with attachments are typically formatted as nested multipart messages. This means that the bodyText and bodyHTML fields might be left blank. Search for an alternate with content-type multipart from the bodyAlternate array and use the bodyText and bodyHTML defined there instead.

Feeding Non-SMTP Data

By default MailParser assumes an SMTP feed with "." at the start of the line replaced with "..". To disable this feature pass the following option to the constructor:

var mp = new MailParser({fix_smtp_escapes: 0});

The default is to fixup those escape sequences, which isn't what you want if you already have a mail file on disk, or have already fixed those escapes up.