How To Transfer Emails From Outlook to Thunderbird A Comprehensive Guide 

Transfer Emails From Outlook to Thunderbird

How To Transfer Emails From Outlook to Thunderbird? In today’s digital age, email has become an integral part of our lives, both for personal and professional communication. Many users have been using Microsoft Outlook for years but are now looking to make the switch to Mozilla Thunderbird, either due to its open-source nature, its cross-platform compatibility, or simply personal preference. If you’re one of these users, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of transferring your emails from Outlook to Thunderbird effortlessly.

Read: How to Fix Thunderbird Email Not Working Error?

Why You Need to Transfer Emails From Outlook to Thunderbird?

Before diving into the technicalities of the migration process, let’s understand why you might want to make this switch.

  1. Cost-Effective: Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client, while Outlook often requires a subscription. This makes Thunderbird an attractive option for those looking to save on email management costs.
  2. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Thunderbird is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. This cross-platform functionality means you can easily switch between different operating systems without worrying about email compatibility issues.
  3. Add-Ons and Extensions: Thunderbird offers a wide range of extensions and add-ons that can enhance your email experience. Whether you need improved spam filters or integrated calendar functionality, Thunderbird has you covered.
  4. Privacy and Security: Thunderbird is renowned for its robust security features and customizable privacy settings. If you value your online privacy, Thunderbird provides you with more control over your email data.

How To Transfer Emails From Outlook to Thunderbird

Before you start the migration process, it’s essential to prepare adequately to ensure a smooth transition.

1. Backup Your Outlook Emails

Before doing anything else, create a backup of your Outlook emails. This is a safety net in case anything goes wrong during the transfer. Outlook allows you to export your emails to a .pst file, which you can later import into Thunderbird.

2. Update Thunderbird

Ensure that you have the latest version of Thunderbird installed on your computer. Regular updates often include bug fixes and improvements that can make the migration process smoother.

3. Export Contacts and Calendars Separately (If Needed)

If you also want to transfer your contacts and calendars from Outlook to Thunderbird, make sure to export them separately using the appropriate export functions in Outlook. This ensures that your contacts and calendar events are preserved during the migration.

Method 1: Manual Email Transfer

Now that you’re prepared let’s explore the first method for transferring your emails from Outlook to Thunderbird manually.

Step 1: Exporting Emails from Outlook

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Click on “File” in the top-left corner.
  3. Select “Open & Export,” then click on “Import/Export.”
  4. Choose “Export to a file” and click “Next.”
  5. Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next.”
  6. Choose the specific folders you want to export. You can select your entire mailbox or specific folders.
  7. Click “Next” and select the location on your computer where you want to save the exported .pst file.
  8. Click “Finish” to start the export process. Outlook will create a .pst file containing all the selected emails.

Step 2: Importing Emails into Thunderbird

  1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Click on “Tools” in the top menu.
  3. Select “Import,” then choose “Mail.”
  4. A window will appear. Choose “Outlook” and click “Next.”
  5. Browse and select the .pst file you exported from Outlook in the previous step.
  6. Click “Next” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the import process.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully transferred your emails from Outlook to Thunderbird manually. Your emails, along with their folder structure, should now be accessible in Thunderbird.

Method 2: Using a Third-Party Tool

If the manual method seems complex or if you have a large volume of emails to transfer, you can opt for third-party tools designed for this purpose. Some popular options include “Mailvare Free PST to MBOX Converter” and “Aid4Mail.” These tools simplify the process by automating the transfer, making it easier and faster.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While the migration process is generally straightforward, you may encounter some common issues:

1. Incorrect Email Configuration: If you face issues with Thunderbird after the transfer, ensure your email settings are correctly configured. Check the server settings, ports, and security options to ensure they match your email provider’s requirements.

2. Missing Attachments: In some cases, attachments might not transfer correctly. To resolve this, re-export and re-import your emails, making sure to select the attachment options during the process.

3. Folder Structure Problems: If your folder structure appears disorganized in Thunderbird, you can reorganize it manually. Thunderbird allows you to create, move, and rename folders to suit your preferences.

Tips for a Smooth Transition

To ensure a smooth transition from Outlook to Thunderbird, consider these tips:

  • Test the Waters: Before fully committing to Thunderbird, use it alongside Outlook for a while to ensure it meets your needs and expectations.
  • Regular Backups: Continue to back up your emails in Thunderbird to prevent data loss. Thunderbird provides options for scheduled backups, making it easy to keep your data safe.
  • Stay Updated: Keep both Outlook and Thunderbird updated to access the latest features and security enhancements. Regular updates help ensure a seamless email experience.


Transferring your emails from Outlook to Thunderbird is a manageable process with the right preparation and method. Thunderbird’s versatility, open-source nature, and user-friendly interface make it an attractive alternative for many users. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make the transition hassle-free and enjoy the benefits of Thunderbird’s flexibility and functionality.

In conclusion, if you’ve been contemplating making the switch, now is the time. Thunderbird offers a robust email management solution that can cater to your personal and professional communication needs effectively. Make the move today, and you’ll find that transferring emails from Outlook to Thunderbird is a smart and rewarding decision.


1- What is the main advantage of using Thunderbird over Outlook?

The main advantage is that Thunderbird is free and open-source, offering cross-platform compatibility and a wide range of add-ons and extensions.

2- Can I transfer my contacts and calendars along with emails?

Yes, you can. Export your contacts and calendars separately from Outlook and import them into Thunderbird.

3- Is it possible to revert to Outlook if I’m not satisfied with Thunderbird?

Yes, you can reinstall and configure Outlook if you decide to switch back.

4- Will my email filters and rules be preserved after the transfer?

In most cases, Thunderbird should preserve your email filters and rules, but it’s a good practice to double-check them after the transfer.

5- Can I perform the migration on a Mac computer?

Yes, the migration process is similar on Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.