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How to Convert MBOX to EML Files Step by Step

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Raj Kumar
Approved By Raj Kumar
Published On November 16th, 2023
Reading Time 7 Minutes Reading
Category Conversion, MBOX

Understanding the need to convert MBOX to EML files is essential for many users working across different email clients. Originally developed for Unix, the MBOX file format is used to store email messages in a long, concatenated manner. It has become a common mailbox storage format on major operating systems. Despite that, many users want to convert MBOX to EML files. There are several reasons behind this behaviour which we will discuss in the next section. This blog primarily focuses on providing simple methods for converting MBOX files to EML files. And yes, with some of these techniques, users can retain the original email properties and folder structure.

Table of Contents:

MBOX vs EML – An Overview of Both the File Formats

MBOX is a mailbox storage file format that stores multiple email messages in a single file. Thus, losing a single MBOX file can result in a complete loss of mailbox emails. A variety of email applications, both operational and discontinued, support MBOX format such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Entourage, Eudora, Apple Mail, etc.

Conversely, EML is an email file format that stores a single email message per file. An EML file is compatible with a broader range of email applications, including MS Outlook. Its format also makes it easier to open with text editors and browsers.

So, if a user wants to store each email message in a separate file, he/she will prefer to have EML files over the MBOX files. Let us start with the free manual methods first.

Free Methods to Convert MBOX to EML Files

Looking at it objectively, there are three primary methods for converting MBOX files to EML. Two of these three methods are manual methods that requires an email client, preferably Mozilla Thunderbird. The methods are listed below:

  1. Using Save As option (One email at a time)
  2. Using Thunderbird Add-on (Multiple emails at once)
  3. Using MBOX to EML converter (Multiple files at once)

It has been seen that attachments and folder structure are common queries associated with email conversion. Thus, we will include it in detail while explaining each method.

User Queries

There is no shortage of questions on the internet asking for MBOX to EML conversion. While some want free methods, others ask for professional tools. After all, everyone has different requirements. Here, we are showing some genuine queries that will be answered in this article.




Use Save As Option to Convert Single Email Message from MBOX file to EML

This method is convenient for converting a single email message from Thunderbird MBOX file. It can also be used for transferring selective emails into the .eml files. Simply follow the given steps:

  • Open Thunderbird.
  • Click on the mailbox folder that has emails for conversion.
  • Select an email message and right-click on it.
  • Choose the Save as option.

  • Select the location to save the file and name it accordingly.
  • Click Save.

This will save the message with .eml extension. The attachments save within the EML file. To replicate the folder structure, users will need to manually create folders and save the emails in particular folders.

Use Thunderbird Add-On to Convert Multiple Emails At Once Into EML

This method requires an add-on to be installed in Thunderbird for a successful process. This add-on allows both selective and bulk export of a complete mailbox folder within the MBOX file. Simply follow these steps to install the add-on and export the MBOX emails to EML files.

  • Run the email client.
  • Click on Tools from the menu bar and select Add-Ons. (Press Alt key if the menu bar isn’t visible.)
  • Search and install the ImportExportTools NG add-on compatible with the email client.
  • Restart the email client and select the folder within the MBOX mailbox.
  • Right-click on it and choose ImportExportTools NG.
  • Select Export all messages in the folder, then click EML format.

  • Choose the folder to save the messages and click the Select folder.
  • All the emails will get saved into EML files with the same name as the email subject.

With this method, a complete folder within the MBOX files can be saved to the hard drive. Each email message retains its attachments. However, for folder structure, users will have to create folders and sub-folders exactly the same as in MBOX.

MBOX to EML Converter to Export Mail from Multiple MBOX Files at Once

The automated solution i.e., MBOX extractor utility can perform every task of the above-given methods. Additionally, it also allows users to export multiple MBOX files to EML at once. Other benefits of using this method are:

  • It works with MBOX files of all kinds and origins.
  • It helps a user to select and convert only the preferred emails.
  • A user can also select a specific folder(s) within the MBOX file(s) for conversion.
  • The naming convention option allows saving MBOX emails as EML file with preferred naming sequences.
  • Users can also preview the emails.
  • Allows users to convert MBOX files to PST, PDF, MSG, HTML, and NSF format.
  • Maintains the folder structure and attachments automatically.

Download the MBOX to EML converter for conversion of MBOX files here:

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Steps to Convert MBOX to EML File

  • Step 1: Open the software on Windows system..
  • Step 2: Click Add file to choose MBOX file from the system.
  • Step 3: Preview all the emails to be exported in EML format.
  • Step 4: Select EML and apply naming convention.
  • Step 5: Click Export to convert MBOX to EML format.

Here are the elaborate steps to export MBOX emails to EML file without losing attachments and formatting:

1. Install & Run the software on your Windows machine. Then, click on the Add File button to proceed.

2. Click Next button to display the following window. Then, browse the MBOX files that need to be converted into EML files.

3. Once the mailbox files are imported and processed, the software will give you a preview of all the emails and attachments in multiple tabs.

4. Here, you have two options to proceed: One is to select the particular emails by marking the corresponding checkboxes that you want to export to EML. Once selected, right-click on one of them and choose the Export button.

5. The second way is for bulk conversion. Here, directly click the Export button on the ribbon bar.

6. Select EML file format and apply the optional Naming convention option.

7. Choose the location to save the exported EML files, then click on the Export button. The software will successfully convert MBOX to EML files without any disruptions in the original data.


This article provides a comprehensive overview of the fastest methods to convert MBOX files to EML format. Whether users require a single email conversion or need to process batches, these methods can efficiently fulfill their requirements. Note that while all solutions maintain attachments, only the MBOX to EML converter automatically replicates the folder structure of the original MBOX file. It is, by all means, highly effective method for bulk conversion.

Several FAQs

Q – What is an MBOX file and why is it used?

An MBOX file is a mailbox format used to store email messages in a single file. It is commonly used by email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird and Apple Mail for its efficiency in consolidating multiple emails in one place.

Q – Why would someone need to convert MBOX files to EML?

Users often convert MBOX to EML for better compatibility with a wider range of email clients which uses EML format. EML files are also easier to manage since each email is stored as a separate file.

Q  – Can I convert MBOX to EML without losing attachments?

Yes, most MBOX to EML conversion tools ensure that attachments are preserved during the conversion process, allowing users to retain all aspects of their emails.

Q – How can I ensure that the converted EML files maintain the original folder structure?

The advanced MBOX to EML converter offer options to preserve the original folder structure. Users should organize the exported EML files manually after conversion, if using manual methods.