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Best Possible Methods to Move Thunderbird Files in Microsoft Outlook

If you are switching your email platform from Thunderbird to Outlook and unable to decide on a method to move your files, then go through this article and find the best possible methods to move Thunderbird files to Microsoft Outlook.”

In the modern era, emails have gained a dominant edge over other means of communication. Especially in the professional arena, most work-related communication tasks are handled through emails. Many email clients further ease this email communication process by providing a data management system with integrated features such as contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, etc. Among these email clients, two of the most popular ones are Mozilla Thunderbird & Microsoft Outlook. Thunderbird saves all its emails and attachments in MBOX file format. While Outlook uses PST files to store emails, attachments, contacts, calendars, tasks, etc.

​Why Users Prefer Outlook over Mozilla Thunderbird?

Speaking for the majority, if any email client can be considered close to perfect, it would be MS Outlook. Its popularity has been constantly increasing and has led to users of other email platforms like Thunderbird, Eudora, Mail app, Opera, etc. to Outlook. Given below are the common reasons why Outlook is preferred over other clients:

  • MS Outlook is a feature-rich application with advanced security features and data management capabilities.
  • It can be configured and used with Exchange Server environment for industrial usage.
  • Outlook supports all the mailbox items including contacts, calendars, tasks, etc. It does not require an external plugin like Thunderbird.
  • Outlook has an intuitive interface with easy to access functionalities which makes it more user-friendly than most email clients.

​Manual Method to Move Thunderbird Files to Outlook

Now, let us head over to the manual method that can help users to migrate the data from Thunderbird to Outlook. It is divided into two phases and requires both Mozilla Thunderbird and MS Outlook for a successful migration.

​Phase 1: Save the Thunderbird Emails Selectively or Collectively

  • Launch Mozilla Thunderbird desktop email client on your Windows PC.
  • Download & Install ‘ImportExporttools’ add-on, if not already installed.
  • Once done, restart ‘Thunderbird’.
  • Now open a mailbox folder and select all the emails that are to be exported to Outlook.
  • Right-click on any of the selected messages and choose ‘Save selected message’ followed by ‘EML format’
  • Now, set the folder location to save the files. Finally, click on the ‘Save’ button.
  • All the emails messages will be saved in the desired location as EML files.

​Phase 2: Use Native Option to Import the Saved Emails in MS Outlook

  • Start the ‘Microsoft Outlook’ email client on Windows platform.
  • Create a ‘new folder’ that will contain all the emails imported from Thunderbird.
  • Now, with this empty folder open, start ‘dragging and dropping’ the EML files that you saved earlier onto Outlook screen.
  • For successful results, ‘drop’ the EML files on the middle pane of the interface.

Be patient with this process and finally all your Thunderbird emails will be visible in the Outlook interface.

Challenges with Manual Method:

  • While good for a small number of emails, this process is not feasible for a large amount of data.
  • This solution fails when importing orphan Thunderbird files as the presence of both Outlook & Thunderbird clients is a must.
  • It is a lengthy and time-consuming process which requires significant user effort for a successful migration.
  • Because the complete process is to be performed manually, the chances of human errors are high which may result in loss of data.

Also Read: How to Move Thunderbird Files to Office 365

​Alternate Solution to Move Thunderbird Files to Outlook

In case the manual solution was not able to move all the Thunderbird files to Outlook, users can try the alternate solution for the same. SysTools MBOX Converter is an automated solution that does not require any external application to be installed in the system. It is capable of converting both the orphan Thunderbird files (MBOX) as well as the complete database within the Thunderbird interface.

Also, it does not have any shortcomings like the manual process as it supports the migration of multiple Thunderbird files at once. Even the formatting of emails and folder hierarchy is kept intact by this tool. It comes with multiple advanced features imbued into an intuitive interface allowing easy operation by both the technical and non-technical users. Users can also try the free demo version of MBOX to Outlook Converter to get accurate results.


Research is an integral part of any user who wants to move Thunderbird files to Outlook. This email migration scenario can quickly become a complex one if a proper solution is not chosen. For that very reason, here we have provided two of the best possible solutions to migrate Thunderbird data to Outlook platform. Users can choose whichever method suits their needs the most.

Stephen Renald
A technologist who writes about ways to get things done using technology

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