RFC 1341 MIME: Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions
Network Working Group               N. Borenstein, Bellcore 
Request for Comments: 1341               N. Freed, Innosoft 
                                                  June 1992 

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): Mechanisms for Specifying and Describing the Format of Internet Message Bodies

Status of this Memo

This RFC specifies an IAB standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "IAB Official Protocol Standards" for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


RFC 822 defines a message representation protocol which specifies considerable detail about message headers, but which leaves the message content, or message body, as flat ASCII text. This document redefines the format of message bodies to allow multi-part textual and non-textual message bodies to be represented and exchanged without loss of information. This is based on earlier work documented in RFC 934 and RFC 1049, but extends and revises that work. Because RFC 822 said so little about message bodies, this document is largely orthogonal to (rather than a revision of) RFC 822.

In particular, this document is designed to provide facilities to include multiple objects in a single message, to represent body text in character sets other than US- ASCII, to represent formatted multi-font text messages, to represent non-textual material such as images and audio fragments, and generally to facilitate later extensions defining new types of Internet mail for use by cooperating mail agents.

This document does NOT extend Internet mail header fields to permit anything other than US-ASCII text data. It is recognized that such extensions are necessary, and they are the subject of a companion document [RFC -1342].

A table of contents appears at the end of this document.