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How to Import PST Files to Thunderbird?

Written By Kristian Wilson
Marco Devin
Approved By Marco Devin  
Published On July 15th, 2022

How to import PST files to Thunderbird? When I checked it, this was the most frequently asked question on the internet. I have compiled a list of the best free methods to open Outlook PST files into Thunderbird to discuss this question.

MS Outlook is one of the most flexible and commonly used email applications in the world. Many businesses, large and small, use Outlook to manage email, calendars, meetings, and events.

But Outlook’s extensive functionality comes at a price. This could be one of the main reasons people are switching from Outlook to a more cost-effective solution. Thunderbird, an open-source and free email application, performs a vital role in attracting users.

Thunderbird is an accessible email service for Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, and Linux. It stores all its emails in no-extension MBOX file type.

So, before starting the procedure, let’s collect some knowledge, of why users are switching from Outlook to Thunderbird to import PST files to the Thunderbird application.

Reasons to Export Outlook PST File into Thunderbird Application

Thunderbird is an email message application that runs on many platforms. Other reasons made Thunderbird a trustworthy and successful software for customers to open PST file without Outlook in Thunderbird.

  • Thunderbird is compatible with all popular operating systems.
  • Also, Anti-spam filtering is a significant reason to import PST files to Thunderbird.
  • One-click archiving of chosen emails is available, which stores the messages in a separate archive file.
  • Thunderbird has the ability for users to install a variety of useful plugins that increases its functionality and overcome its limitations.

Import PST Files to Thunderbird Manually

Here we will show you 2 manual methods to convert Outlook PST files in Thunderbird using Thunderbird and Google takeout email service. All the steps and details are mentioned below:

1 Method: Using Thunderbird

Important Note: Please follow all the steps carefully, one wrong step will lose your complete data.

  1. Open the Thunderbird application and select The Thunderbird Menu option.


  2. Press on Tools >>Import option to import PST files to Thunderbird.

    import PST files to Thunderbird

  3. Now click on the “Mail” and “Import Everything” option.

    Import Everything

  4. Choose Outlook for file type and Next to continue.


  5. In the end, press the Finish button to complete the procedure.

Thunderbird will import everything from Outlook. All the imported items will be saved in Local Folders under the name “Outlook import”.

2 Method: Using Google Takeout to Import PST Files to Thunderbird

It is necessary to configure your Gmail account in your Outlook application to import PST files to Thunderbird using this method.

Once your Gmail account is configured in Outlook, you can copy your data from the Outlook mailbox to Your mail account. Then, use Google Takeout to get all the emails in MBOX format. Finally, allowing you to import this file in Thunderbird.

Important Note: As per the Google updates “Google less secure apps” do not work. You must follow the mentioned steps to avoid authentication errors to import PST files to Thunderbird.

app password

  1. Open Outlook, click the “File” tab, and “Add Account”.

    Add Account

  2. Enter the login details of your Gmail accounts like email address and generated app password and configure your Gmail account using IMAP in Outlook.
  3. Then, inside the recently created Gmail ID, make a new folder and transfer the required Outlook emails into that folder.
  4. Open Google takeout ( and log in with your Gmail account.
  5. Click on “Select data to include”>>Mail option>>Verify the data that all mails are selected >>press on the Next button to import PST files to Thunderbird.

    import PST files to Thunderbird

  6. Set the options as follows:
    • Delivery method – Send download link via email
    • Export type – One-time archive
    • File type & size – .zip & 2GB
  7. Then, click on Create archive.

    Create archive

  8. After Google creates your archives, it will send you the email containing the download link. Select Download to save the ZIP file locally.

    save the ZIP file

  9. Then unzip the downloaded ZIP file. You’ll receive the MBOX file with all your messages in an MBOX file.

The produced MBOX file must then be imported into Thunderbird, import MBOX file in Thunderbird, and easily view the data on your Thunderbird account.

Why Manual Methods are so Risky?

  • Thunderbird and Outlook applications must be installed on your systems.
  • Also, Google Takeout will take a minimum of 15 to 20 days to complete.
  • Time consuming and lengthy process, also technical knowledge is required.


In conclusion, this article explained how to manually import PST files into Thunderbird. Manual techniques are excellent, but they have certain limits and constraints, such as the fact that they require a significant amount of time and work, expose users to the danger of data loss, and do not allow users to import numerous PST files at the same time. So, try to apply these methods to a small number of emails first.