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How to transfer Outlook emails to Thunderbird

Looking to switch from Outlook to Thunderbird? If that’s the case, you’ll also probably need to bring your vital Outlook data to Thunderbird along with you. In what follows, we’ll discuss the different methods to do that. 

Let’s get started. 

How to transfer Outlook emails to Thunderbird

Depending on which Outlook account you’re using—Outlook web or the Outlook app—you’ll be following different methods to export the Outlook email to your Thunderbird account. 

Don’t worry; we’ll cover both methods in the article. So, whichever version of Outlook you’re using right now, you’ll be able to transfer your Outlook emails to Thunderbird by the end of this piece. 

First, we'll start with exporting your Outlook webmail to Thunderbird. 

Transfer your Outlook webmail to Thunderbird

If you already have the Mozilla Thunderbird app with you, you can skip the explanation below about installing the Thunderbird app and jump straight to how to map your Outlook account on your app. Otherwise, let’s look at how you can install the Thunderbird app first.

Firstly, head to the official Mozilla Thunderbird website and grab the Thunderbird application from there. 

thunderbird desktop client

After you’re done with downloading and installing the app, it’s then time to set up your Outlook account on it. Enter your Outlook email address and password, set up the IMAP configuration, and finally, click Done.

As soon as you do this, Thunderbird will start verifying your credentials. Ideally, the verification will be over in a couple of seconds. When it’s over, click on Finish.

And that’s it, folks. So you’ve successfully transferred your Outlook webmail to Thunderbird just now. Pretty easy, right? 

However, the process will be slightly different if you use the Outlook app. Let’s see how.

Transfer your Outlook emails to Thunderbird

When you want to export your email from the Outlook app to Thunderbird, you’ll have to rely on Google Takeout. 

Also known as Download Your Data, Google Takeout is a service from Google that lets users download their data from different Google products. In this case, luckily, you can also use it to export your Outlook emails to Thunderbird. 

Basically, you’ll first have to export your Outlook emails to Gmail. And from there, you’ll be moving your emails to Thunderbird through Google Takeout.   

To get started, first head to your Gmail account and click on Settings. From there click on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab from above, and select the Enable IMAP radio box. Make sure you save the settings by clicking on Save Changes

gmail settings

Then open the Outlook app and select File > Add account to add your Gmail account to your Outlook app. 

In the next window, type in your username and password of your Gmail account to confirm the login. Create a new folder for your Gmail ID, and then move your Outlook emails to that folder.

Now, head to Google Takeout. From there, under the Select data to include tab, check the Mail radio box and select the Mail option from inside the All Mail category of your PC. Finally, click on Next to finalize the changes. 

google takeout

In the Customize archive format tab, specify the Delivery method, Export type, File type & size, and click on Create archive button. As soon as you do this, Google will start creating the archive for your system. From there, click on Download to get the archive file on your system locally. 

Now all that’s left to do is extract the Zip file into the default MBOX format and import your files into Thunderbird. However, before importing external files into Thunderbird, you’ll first need to install the ExportImportTool add-on on your Thunderbird app. After you have the tool with you, the import process is straightforward. 

Transferring your Outlook emails to Thunderbird

As you can probably see, depending on which Outlook program you’re using, how you’ll have to transfer your Outlook emails to Thunderbird will vary considerably. And while moving the emails, ensure the safety of your Outlook emails by backing them up periodically

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