Looking to import messages from an MBOX file back into Gmail?
There are three different options you can use to import MBOX file into Gmail. In this blog post you will see step-by-step instructions for every one of these options.
Exporting or downloading an email from Gmail is easy. There are two ways to do this:
- By downloading individual emails one by one
- By downloading the entire mailbox via the Admin Console
You will see the downloaded email(s) saved locally in the MBOX (MailBOX) format. But the real catch is that Gmail does not support the MBOX format.
Sounds strange, isn’t it? You will have to necessarily rely on a third-party app to import MBOX files into Gmail. You have three options to import the MBOX files:
Option 1: Using MBOX to PST converter with Outlook Desktop Client
Option 2: Changing the file extension from .mbox to .eml before using Outlook Desktop Client
Option 3: Using Mozilla Thunderbird Desktop Client with ImportExportTools Add-on
- Make sure you have either Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird Desktop Client installed on your PC and connected to the Gmail account where the MBOX file has to be imported.
- Enable IMAP for the Gmail account you want to import the data back to.
Here is how you can connect Outlook and Thunderbird to the Gmail account.
1. How to Set up Your Email on Outlook Desktop Client
- Step 1: Click “File”→”Info” and then click “Account Settings” icon and choose “Account Settings…“
- Step 2: Click “New…” in the dialog box.
- Step 3: Type in your Mail ID and click “Connect.”
After signing in, you will be able to find the different labels on the left-hand side of the Outlook window.
2. How to Set up Your Email and Install ImportExportTools on Thunderbird Desktop Client
How to Set up Your Email on Thunderbird Desktop Client
- Step 1: Open Thunderbird Desktop Client and select “Email” under ‘Set up an account:’
- Step 2: In the dialog box that appears, enter your name, email address, and password.
After you log in to the application, the different labels from your Gmail will be visible on the left-hand side of the window.
How to Install ImportExportTools Add-on
- Step 1: On Thunderbird, click on the hamburger icon on the right-hand corner and click “Add-ons” from the drop down menu.
- Step 2: Click “ImportExportTools NG.”
- Step 4: Click “Add to Thunderbird.”
- Step 5: Click “Install Now.”
- Step 6: Restart the application to complete the installation.
After the application is restarted, use these steps to import MBOX into Gmail using Thunderbird Desktop Client.
3. How to Turn on IMAP for the Gmail Account
- Step 1: Click the Settings icon that appears on the top right-hand corner of the Gmail mailbox.
- Step 2: Click “Settings.”
- Step 3: Move to “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” tab. Click “Enable IMAP.” Ignore this step if it has already been enabled.
- Step 4: Click “Save Changes” to complete the action.
How to Import MBOX into Gmail
Option 1: How to Import MBOX into Gmail Using MBOX to PST Converter- Outlook Desktop Client
While the emails downloaded from Gmail is stored as a local MBOX file, Outlook Desktop Client supports only PST/Outlook Data File. So, to convert an MBOX file into a PST file, you need a separate tool. You can use a converter available online. Once you have successfully derived a PST file, you can import it into Outlook using these steps.
- Step 1: Click “File” on the top left-hand corner of the Outlook window.
- Step 2: Click “Open & Export.”
- Step 3: Click “Import/Export.”
- Step 4: In the dialog box, choose “Import from another program or file” and then click “Next.”
- Step 5: In the next dialog box, choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next.”
- Step 6: After you browse and choose the file you want to import, click “Replace duplicates with items imported” and then click “Next.”
- Step 7: Choose the folder to import the file into, then click “Import items into the same folder in:” If you have multiple emails synced to Outlook Desktop Client, choose the email ID you want the messages back in. After this, click “Finish.”
All the messages downloaded into MBOX will now be visible under the folder that was chosen earlier.
Option 2: How to Change the File Extension and Import MBOX into Gmail- Outlook Desktop Client
An easier way would be to manually change the file extension to .eml.
The MBOX file, by default, is downloaded as a zip file, and you need to extract the files before any changes can be made.
How to Extract Files from a Zip Folder
- Step 1: Click “Extract All” icon on the toolbar at the top of the window.
You will now be able to manually change the file extension from .mbox to .eml.
- Step 2: Select the file and right click on it. On the menu bar that appears, click “Rename.”
- Step 3: Click “Yes” at the bottom of the dialog box.
After changing the extension manually, the file will look like this.
Now use the following steps to import the EML file into Outlook.
How to Import an EML File into Outlook Desktop Client
- Step 1: Drag the EML file and drop it under the label of your choice.
- Step 2: Double click on the message to open it.
- Step 3: Click “Yes.”
- Step 4: Click “Open.”
Note: This option is more suitable for when you have a single message stored in the MBOX file. If there are multiple messages in the file, all of them will be displayed under a single message after being imported into Outlook.
Option 3: How to Import MBOX into Gmail
- Thunderbird Desktop Client
- Thunderbird Desktop Client
Mozilla Thunderbird is a popular open source Outlook alternative. Since Thunderbird supports MBOX files, you can directly import the data onto Thunderbird. Though an add-on tool is required to be installed, this is the simplest of all the options.
How to Import Your Gmail MBOX Exports into a Gmail Account
- Step 1: Link your Gmail account to Thunderbird Desktop Client and install ImportExportTools add-on using these steps.
- Step 2: Right click on the left-hand pane and select “ImportExportTools.”
- Step 3: In the dialog box, choose “Import directly one or more mbox files” and browse through your PC to choose the MBOX file.
- Step 4: After choosing the file, click “Open.” The MBOX file will be imported into Thunderbird with a label that’s the same as the file name.
- Step 5: Drag and drop the imported data into the label’s section under your Gmail Account.
Limitations of Using Outlook or Thunderbird to Import MBOX into Gmail
Is there a Better Way to Download and Restore Gmail?
Using MBOX to PST convertors, changing MBOX file extensions to EML, or using Thunderbird add-on works fine when you have to restore Gmail just for a single user or a limited number of users.
The most efficient option to avoid the hassles of dealing with MBOX is to have a Gmail backup in place with the help of third-party apps like SysCloud.
SysCloud backs up your emails on an incremental basis, allowing you to download and restore it quickly in the event of data loss. If you choose to download emails from SysCloud backup archives, you have the option to directly download it in the PST format.
You can restore your data through a few simple steps.
- Step 1: Log in to SysCloud.
- Step 2: Click on “Backup”→”Archive & Restore.”
- Step 3: Choose the username whose messages you want to download.
- Step 4: Choose the label or individual emails that you want to download.
- Step 5: Click “Restore” to directly restore the selected labels back into your Gmail.
- Step 6: Type in the Gmail ID and click “Restore. ”
- Step 7: Click “Yes.”
The process will take a few minutes depending on the number and size of the files. While you wait, you can track the progress under “Backup”→”Reports”→”Restore report”.
To know more about SysCloud, click here.