I'm converting to Linux from a Windows based desktop in a corporate setting that uses Outlook. Evolution runs nicely and can get enough communication with the Exchange servers that I'm happy with the current mailbox. However, I've got a couple of older offline .pst files in which some mail is sorted and stored for easier access.

One method I believe I've seen referenced is to have Thunderbird and Outlook running at the same time to have TBird suck the messages from Outlook, then have Evolution import the TBird files. Is there a better way?

  • You can use an intermediate IMAP server, where you do it inside Outlook and then connect via Evolution to download them. That sucks though. I'm not putting this as an answer because I don't recommend it. I think your method is the better option. – user3463 Oct 16 '09 at 22:30
  • @Randolph - I have a pretty large PST file, well beyond the limit on my mailbox size. This would probably work if it was just a few MBs. – Shannon Nelson Oct 18 '09 at 3:37

So here's what I found worked for me:

  • Start up Outlook so that you can use it's DLL access to the data
  • Start up Thunderbird and use the File|Import wizard to import mail from Outlook. This creates a bunch of mbox formated files inside a directory structure that matches the Outlook folder structure from which they came.
  • Exit Outlook and Thunderbird.
  • Copy the new mail files and directories from the Thunderbird profile Mail directory into the Evolution profile Mail directory. In my case, this meant copying to a whole new machine. I put them under the local mail directory.
  • Start up Evolution. If all went well, Evo should notice the files and directories and show them as mail folders in the "On This Computer" folder.

Thanks to these websites for hints:

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Or try Out Port?

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  • 1
    No, Outport isn't a good option. From number 4 of their FAQ: "Unfortunately, Outport doesn't support moving your email from Outlook into Evolution." – Shannon Nelson Oct 18 '09 at 3:33
  • 1
    Ah, sorry I missed that, glad you worked it out. – AdminAlive Oct 21 '09 at 16:44

I use Thunderbird for converting from Outlook to plain unix mailboxes. From there I bet that you can find a solution for almost any other mail client.

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Emailchemy has been my tool of choice for a loong time for converting email from many different formats/clients


From their site:

About Emailchemy

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Manage: Emailchemy provides utilities for splitting, sorting and merging email archives, and harvesting email addresses from email archives.


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  • Reads native email file formats;
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    • convert Windows email files on a Mac or Linux computer, and vice-versa
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Supported Email Formats

Emailchemy can read most email file formats and convert them to open standard formats. Emailchemy can also host converted mail on an embedded mail server, providing a universal method for importing email into any IMAP compatible email application.

Emailchemy can read:

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  • Claris Emailer for Macintosh
  • CompuServe Classic for Macintosh (aka "MacCIM")
  • CompuServe 2000 for Windows
  • Entourage (Database, .RGE Archives and cache files)
  • Eudora
  • Mac OS X Mail
  • Mozilla
  • Mulberry
  • Musashi
  • Neoplanet
  • Netscape
  • Opera
  • Outlook for Windows (.PST and .OST files)
  • Outlook Express for Macintosh
  • Outlook Express for Windows
  • Outlook Express for UNIX/Solaris
  • PowerTalk/AOCE for Macintosh
  • QuickMail Pro for Macintosh
  • QuickMail Pro for Windows
  • Thunderbird
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Emailchemy can write:

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  • IMAP email account and folders usable by o Outlook o Outlook Express o Entourage o Mac OS X Mail o Thunderbird
  • Variations of the RFC-2822 mbox mailboxes that are directly usable by: o Mac OS X Mail ("Mail.app") o Entourage (.rge archives) o Thunderbird System Requirements

Emailchemy runs on:

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