Top 5 Methods to Convert MBOX Files - A Complete Guide

Dec 28, 2023 | By Deepak Singh Bisht

In today's digitally interconnected world, our ability to adapt and convert various file formats to meet our specific needs is not just a skill, but a necessity. Picture this: you're writing a letter to a friend who only understands French, but your letter is in English. Naturally, you'd translate, or convert, your letter into French for effective communication. This analogy resonates closely with a frequent requirement in our digital lives, particularly when dealing with email files, specifically those known as MBOX files.

This comprehensive guide is designed to navigate you through the intricacies of MBOX files. You'll gain a thorough understanding of what MBOX files are, their significance in our digital communications, and the circumstances that necessitate converting these files into different formats. More importantly, the guide delves into the various formats into which you can convert MBOX files, providing detailed insights into each option.

A key focus of this guide is the use of a specialized MBOX Converter, a tool engineered to streamline the conversion process. Whether you're a professional handling large volumes of email data or someone looking to manage personal emails more effectively, this guide, with its emphasis on the MBOX file converter, is tailored to equip you with the knowledge and tools to convert MBOX files with ease and precision. By understanding how to effectively utilize MBOX converters, you'll unlock a new level of efficiency in managing your digital correspondence.

What is an MBOX file?

An MBOX file is a popular file format used for storing email messages. The term "MBOX" stands for MailBOX, and as its name implies, it acts much like a physical mailbox, storing a collection of electronic mail messages within a single file. This format has its roots in early email systems and has stood the test of time due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

Structure and characteristics

Concatenated emails: In an MBOX file, emails are stored in a concatenated format. This means that each message is placed one after the other, starting with the "From" header of the email and ending with a blank line after the end of the message.

Plain text format: The emails in an MBOX file are typically in plain text, making it a versatile format that's independent of any specific email client.

Attachments: While primarily text-based, MBOX files can also include attachments encoded in text using methods like Base64.

Usage and compatibility

Email clients: MBOX files are supported by several email clients, including Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple Mail, and Eudora.

Cross-platform: Being a simple, text-based format, MBOX files are easily accessible across different operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Archiving emails: Many users and organizations use the MBOX format for archiving emails due to its simplicity and durability over time.


Simplicity and durability: The format's straightforward structure ensures durability and long-term accessibility.

Flexibility: Its text-based nature allows it to be used across various email clients and systems.

Ease of manipulation: Plain text files are easy to manipulate, search through, and recover.

Why convert MBOX files?

The need to convert MBOX files into other formats arises from several practical scenarios in our increasingly digital world. Understanding these reasons underscores the importance of MBOX converters in maintaining seamless digital communication and data management.

Using different email programs: MBOX files don't work with all email programs. If you start using a new email program that can't open MBOX files, you need to change them to a type that the new program can read.

Data Migration: If you're moving your emails from one computer system to another, you might need to change your MBOX files into a type that works better on the new system.

Making backups: Changing MBOX files to other types, like EML, helps make backups. This way, your emails are safer, and you can read them on different devices more easily.

Sharing emails with others: If you want to share an email with someone who can't open MBOX files, you'll need to change the email into a type they can open.

Following rules at work or for keeping records: Sometimes, at work or for keeping records, there are rules about how to store emails. You might need to change MBOX files to meet these rules.

In which format do users convert MBOX files?

Now that we know why converting MBOX files is important, the next question is, into what formats should these files be converted? While there are many options available, the choice largely depends on what you need. However, a few formats stand out due to their widespread use and compatibility.

PST (Personal Storage Table)

Use in Microsoft Outlook: PST is a file format used by Microsoft Outlook. It stores emails, calendar events, and other items.

Why choose PST: Converting MBOX files to PST is a good choice if you use or plan to switch to Microsoft Outlook. This format is widely recognized and can handle large amounts of data.

EML (Email)

Supported by many email clients: EML files are used by various email programs like Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.

Advantages of EML: This format is great for converting MBOX files because it's supported by many email clients. It's especially useful for backing up your emails as individual files, making them easy to share and open on almost any device.

Other popular formats

PDF (Portable Document Format): Ideal for preserving the email's appearance and sharing it securely.

MSG (Microsoft Outlook Email Format): Useful if you need to save emails individually in a format used by Microsoft Outlook.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): Good for creating a web-friendly version of your emails, which can be viewed in any browser.

MHTML (MIME HTML): Combines HTML and its resources into a single file, perfect for saving emails as complete web pages.

Choosing the right format for converting your MBOX files depends on your specific needs like the email client you use, how you want to share or store your emails, and the level of accessibility you need.

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How to convert MBOX files?

When it comes to converting MBOX files, you have a couple of options: manual methods or using specialized software. Manual solutions involve using features within your email client to save emails in different formats. These methods are straightforward but can be time-consuming, especially for large numbers of emails. For a more efficient approach, especially for bulk conversions, you might consider using a third-party MBOX file converter. Tools like SysCurve MBOX Converter are designed to simplify this process, offering a user-friendly interface and the ability to convert MBOX files into various formats such as PST, EML, MSG, HTML, and MHTML. This guide will explore both manual methods and how to use an MBOX converter tool, providing you with the knowledge to choose the best method for your needs.

Method 1: Convert MBOX files to PST using IMAP

If you're looking to convert your MBOX files into the PST format, this method using IMAP is a practical solution. It involves several steps and requires the use of both Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook. Here's a breakdown of the process:

Note: To perform this method, you must have MS Outlook and Thunderbird installed on your machine.

Step 1: Enable IMAP from Gmail

  1. Sign in Gmail
  2. Click the Setting icon
  3. Select the Settings option
  4. Select the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab
  5. Enable the IMAP option
  6. Click the Save Changes button.

Step 2: Generate App Password

  1. Go to the
  2. Click the Security option and enable the two-step verification
  3. Click the Security option again and select the App password option
  4. Log in Gmail account again
  5. Select the Other (custom name) as an app option
  6. Enter Mozilla Thunderbird Desktop and click the Generate button
  7. Copy the app password

Step 3: Configure Gmail in Thunderbird

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Go to Tools and select Thunderbird Options
  3. Click the Account setting and select Account Actions
  4. Select Add Mail account option
  5. Enter Name, Gmail Address, and app password.
  6. Select Remember password checkbox and click the Continue button
  7. Select IMAP (remote folders) and click the Done button

Step 4: Move MBOX emails to Gmail

  1. On the left pane, select your Gmail mailbox
  2. Right-click on your Gmail mailbox and create a new folder
  3. Enter MBOX emails as a folder name and click the create folder button
  4. Select your Thunderbird mailbox and press Ctrl+A to select all emails
  5. Right-click on the selected emails and select the Copy option
  6. Select Gmail mailbox and select the MBOX emails
  7. Go to your Gmail account and check the folder.

Step 5: Generate App Password for MS Outlook

  1. Go to the Google Takeout (
  2. Click the Security option and select the App password option
  3. Sign in Gmail account
  4. Select the Other (custom name) as an app option
  5. Enter Outlook Desktop and click the Generate button
  6. Copy the app password

Step 6: Configure Gmail in Outlook

  1. Launch MS Outlook and click the File option
  2. Click the + Add Account button.
  3. Enter your name and Gmail email address
  4. Enter your App password and re-enter your App password
  5. Select Remember Password checkbox and click the Next button to start the verification
  6. After the verification process, click the Finish button.

Step 7: Export PST from Outlook

  1. Go to the File option
  2. Select Open & Export and choose the Import/Export option
  3. Select Export to a file option and click the Next button
  4. Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click the Next button
  5. Select the Folders you want to export
  6. Select the Include Subfolders checkbox and click the Next button
  7. Click the Browse button and provide a destination path to save the PST file
  8. Click the OK button and select Do not export duplicate items
  9. Click the Finish button.

Method 2: Convert MBOX files to EML using Mozilla Thunderbird

This method allows you to convert your MBOX files into EML format using Mozilla Thunderbird. EML files are individual email files that can be opened by various email clients, making them versatile for sharing and archiving. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Select the Mailbox that contains the emails you want to convert.
  3. Select the specific emails you want to convert. You can select multiple emails by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on each email, or use Ctrl+A to select all emails in the mailbox.
  4. Right-click on the selected emails, and choose the 'Save As' option. This will allow you to save the emails outside of Thunderbird.
  5. A window will pop up asking where you want to save the EML files. Choose a folder where you want these files to be saved. It's a good idea to create a new folder if you're converting multiple emails for better organization.
  6. Click the 'Save' button. Thunderbird will save each selected email as an individual EML file in the chosen folder.

Things to note:

Individual files: Each email will be saved as a separate EML file, which can be helpful for organization or sharing specific messages.

Attachments: If the emails have attachments, they will be included in the EML files.

Compatibility: EML files are compatible with many email clients, making them a flexible option for email storage and sharing.

Method 3: Convert MBOX files to PDF using Mozilla Thunderbird

Converting MBOX files to PDF format using Mozilla Thunderbird is a useful method, particularly for archiving emails in a widely accessible and printable format. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Navigate to the mailbox which contains the emails you wish to convert.
  3. Identify and select the emails you want to convert to PDF.
  4. Double-click to open each email. Click on the 'More' button to find the 'Print' option.
  5. In the print dialog box, instead of choosing a printer, select the option to 'Save as PDF' option. This will allow you to save the email as a PDF file instead of printing it.
  6. Choose where you want to save the PDF file on your computer.

Important considerations:

One at a time: This method requires you to open and save each email individually, which can be time-consuming for a large number of emails.

Attachments: Be aware that attachments are not typically included in the PDF. You might need to save them separately if required.

Quality and format: PDFs are a great way to maintain the visual layout and format of your emails, making them ideal for presentation or legal documentation purposes.

This method provides a simple and direct way to convert emails from MBOX files (via Thunderbird) into PDF format without needing additional software. It's particularly useful for creating permanent, uneditable records of important emails.

Method 4: Convert MBOX to HTML using Save as option

If you're looking to convert your MBOX files into HTML format for web-based accessibility or archiving, Mozilla Thunderbird can be used effectively. Here's a guide to converting MBOX to HTML using Thunderbird:

  1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird
  2. Go to the mailbox that contains the emails you intend to convert.
  3. Identify and click on the email you wish to convert to HTML. You can only convert one email at a time with this method.
  4. Double-click on the email to open it in its own window.
  5. Once the email is open, click on 'More', then choose 'Save As' option. In the save dialog box that appears, select 'HTML Files' from the 'Save as type' dropdown menu.
  6. Pick a location on your computer where you want to save the HTML file.
  7. After selecting the save location and file type, click 'Save'. Your email will be saved as an HTML file at your chosen location.

Points to remember:

One email at a time: This process needs to be done individually for each email, which might be time-consuming if you have a large number of emails to convert.

Attachments: Any attachments in the email won't be automatically included in the HTML file. You'll need to save them separately if you need them.

Format preservation: Converting to HTML is useful for preserving the layout and formatting of your emails, making it suitable for web posting or viewing emails in web browsers.

Converting emails from MBOX to HTML using Thunderbird is a straightforward way to prepare your emails for web use or to create a visually accessible archive. This method does not require any additional software and can be done quickly for individual emails.

While the manual methods described above allow you to convert MBOX files into other formats, they have their challenges. For one, they can take a lot of time, especially when dealing with a large number of emails. They also require a certain level of technical knowledge to execute properly. Another limitation is that they may not be ideal for converting several emails simultaneously.

If you're seeking a more efficient, user-friendly option for converting MBOX files, you might want to consider the SysCurve MBOX Converter. This tool is designed to make the conversion process simpler and more efficient, saving you time and technical effort.

Method 5: Convert MBOX files using MBOX Converter Tool

If manual methods seem too time-consuming or if you're dealing with a large number of emails, the SysCurve MBOX Converter tool can be an excellent alternative. This powerful software streamlines the process of converting MBOX files into various formats, making it ideal for bulk conversions or when you need a more efficient approach.

The SysCurve MBOX File Converter tool stands out for its ability to handle multiple file formats with ease. Whether you need to convert MBOX files to PST for Outlook, EML for universal email compatibility, MSG for specific messages, RTF for rich text formatting, HTML for web compatibility, or other formats, this tool covers it all. To perform this method, follow the steps below.

  1. Download, install and open the SysCurve MBOX Converter tool.
  2. Click the Browse option, select the MBOX files you want to convert, and click the OK button.
  3. After the loading process, the software will generate a preview mode. Select any item to view the message. (Optional)
  4. Click the Export option and select the folder you want to Export.
  5. Select the export file option according to your requirement, choosing from formats such as PST, EML, MSG, or HTML based on your specific needs.
  6. Click the Browse button and provide a path to save the converted file.
  7. Click the Export button to start the MBOX file conversion.

Other helpful features

  • Convert MBOX files to PST, EML, MSG, HTML, and other formats.
  • Preview MBOX file data.
  • Support over 20 MBOX email clients
  • Save Individual emails to MSG, EML, HTML, MHTML, and RTF format.
  • Migrate MBOX to Office 365 platform
  • Perform selective conversion based on To, Cc, Bcc, Subject, and Date.
  • Free MBOX file conversion for the first 20 items per folder.
  • Support all versions of MS Outlook
  • Compatible with Windows OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use this tool to convert MBOX files to PST format?

Yes, the SysCurve MBOX Converter is specifically designed to convert MBOX files to PST format efficiently, making it suitable for users looking to access their emails in Microsoft Outlook.

What formats can I convert my MBOX files into using the SysCurve MBOX Converter?

With the SysCurve MBOX Converter tool, you can convert MBOX files into various formats including PST, EML, MSG, HTML, and MHTML. This versatility makes it a suitable tool for diverse email management needs.

Can the SysCurve MBOX Converter perform batch conversions?

Yes, the SysCurve MBOX file converter supports batch conversions, allowing users to convert multiple MBOX files simultaneously, saving time and effort, especially when dealing with large volumes of email data.

How does the selective conversion feature work in the SysCurve MBOX Converter?

The selective conversion feature in the SysCurve MBOX file Converter allows users to specify certain criteria like date range, specific email addresses, or subjects. This enables the conversion of only those emails that match the specified criteria, offering flexibility and convenience.

Is the SysCurve MBOX Converter capable of handling large MBOX files?

Yes, the SysCurve MBOX Converter is built to handle large MBOX files. It is equipped with robust algorithms that ensure efficient processing of large volumes of data without performance loss.

Are there any size limitations for MBOX files when using the SysCurve Converter?

No, there are no strict size limitations for MBOX files when using the SysCurve MBOX Converter. The software is capable of handling large files without any specific size constraints. While very large MBOX files may impact conversion speed due to their size, the tool is designed to manage such files efficiently.

How does the SysCurve MBOX file converter handle email attachments during conversion?

The software maintains the integrity of email attachments during conversion. Attachments are preserved and included in the converted files, ensuring that the entirety of the email data, including attachments, is accurately converted.

Does the SysCurve MBOX Converter tool come with a free trial version?

The SysCurve MBOX file Converter typically offers a free trial version, allowing users to preview its functionality and convert the first 20 items per folder before committing to the full version.

Is technical expertise required to operate the SysCurve MBOX Converter?

No, the tool is designed with a user-friendly interface, making it accessible for users with varying levels of technical expertise. The process is straightforward and guided, with clear instructions provided.

How does the SysCurve MBOX Converter ensure the security of my data during conversion?

The SysCurve MBOX Converter prioritizes data security by performing conversions locally on your machine, ensuring that your data never leaves your system. Additionally, the tool does not modify the original MBOX files, preserving the integrity of your data.

Can I use the SysCurve MBOX File Converter on any operating system?

The SysCurve MBOX Converter is primarily designed for Windows operating systems. It may not be compatible with other operating systems like macOS or Linux.

The final word

In our digitally connected era, mastering the conversion of MBOX files is more than a skill—it's a necessity for those dealing with diverse email clients. This guide, focusing on the top methods to convert MBOX files, has highlighted the importance and versatility of MBOX converter tools, especially the SysCurve MBOX Converter.

The SysCurve MBOX File Converter stands out for its user-friendly approach, enabling both professionals and individuals to efficiently manage email data. It offers flexibility in converting MBOX files to various formats like PST, EML, MSG, and HTML, accommodating a wide range of needs. Its capabilities for handling large data sets, batch conversions, and ensuring data security make it a reliable choice in the realm of digital communication.

As technology evolves, the ability to adapt and convert files like MBOX becomes increasingly critical. This guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to navigate these challenges successfully. Whether you choose manual methods or the SysCurve MBOX Converter tool, the key is to understand your needs and select the method that best suits your scenario.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights into MBOX file conversion, helping you to stay adept and effective in managing your digital correspondence.

The Author

Deepak Singh Bisht

Deepak Singh Bisht

Content Lead |

Deepak Singh Bisht is a dedicated IT professional with over 9 years of experience, is a key member at SysCurve Software for the last 5 years. His expertise lies in email migration and data recovery, with a focus on technologies like MS Outlook and Office 365. Deepak, who also delves into front-end technology and software development, holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Applications.

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