I've been using Thunderbird for a while to manage my email, with a POP server, where all the messages are downloaded to my local machine, and then I sort them into folders.

Now I want to migrate to gmail, but it is essential that I can keep my folder structure...I have about 100 folders in Thunderbird, many of them nested folders.

How can I import all these folders into gmail, so that I can access them from anywhere? I want the folders converted into labels I guess, I've seen that greasemonkey script that lets you "nest" labels, like "parent/child" becomes a nested label.

I tried with IMAP, but Thunderbird only lets me drag a single folder at a time, and it seems like half the time it doesn't even import the folder after dragging it. I want an easier way that I can just set it to run, and it will import anything.

Thanks for any tips.

Perhaps I could export from Thunderbird to Outlook first, and then use Outlook's IMAP support to upload to gmail? I've seen some posts saying that it works well, hopefully better than my experience with uploading from Thunderbird to gmail via IMAP.

3 Answers 3


Actually, I was able to successfully create a folder and a subfolder on some random account using Mail on Snow Leopard, populate them with a few messages and then export the hole structure on my Gmail account by just drag & drop.

The result is the expected messages with labels:

enter image description here

You first need to find someone with a mac and Mail, and then you can use Eudora Mailbox Cleaner to import from Thunderbird into Mail. I know this isn't quite straightforward, but it seems to work at least.

  • Two Q's: 1. Can Eudora Mailbox Cleaner import my whole folder structure from Thunderbird into Mail.app? 2. You were able to import the whole folder structure from Mail.app to Gmail IMAP with a single drag-n-drop, not one folder at a time?
    – davr
    Dec 16, 2009 at 17:01
  • 1. I can't tell you for sure about Eudora Mailbox Cleaner since I never used it myself, only heard from it through an article about "switching mail client", but I assume it should keep your structure. 2. I can on the other hand confirm that drag & drop of two folders took exactly "one" step, not two. Hope this solves your issue.
    – damusnet
    Dec 16, 2009 at 21:26
  • accepting your answer for now...will add a comment later after I get my hands on a mac to test this
    – davr
    Dec 17, 2009 at 15:13
  • thanks! you just gave a huge boost to my reputation. I feel kind of proud...
    – damusnet
    Dec 17, 2009 at 15:34

Check this (only for Windows):


  • 2
    Thanks for the tip! For future reference, please don't put a signature in your answers. Any unrelated info you want to advertise, you're supposed to put in your profile.
    – davr
    Dec 14, 2010 at 7:08

I've had success using Mail.app as an upload vehicle to IMAP accounts in the past. I haven't used it, but google has a tool for Windows users if you import to Outlook first: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/email_uploader.html It does require a google apps account though, not a regular gmail account.

  • That tool looks like it would do everything in one shot, if i got all the mail into outlook...the downside being I have a regular gmail account here. I'll consider it if I ever move to an actual google apps domain though, thanks.
    – davr
    Dec 4, 2009 at 18:09
  • dang...nevermind, it requires a PAID google apps account, it does NOT work with the standard free google apps accounts: code.google.com/p/google-email-uploader/wiki/UserGuide
    – davr
    Dec 4, 2009 at 18:12

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