7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2008 12:15 PM by kthrynileen
Don_McCracken Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
If I drag an email from Mail 3 to the desktop, it creates an .eml file. But if I try to drag it back into Mail, nothing happens. How can I import .eml files to Apple Mail 3?

I'm coming from Outlook Express on Windows where this works both ways.

17" MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Don_McCracken Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
  • hexapus Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    hi don

    i am wondering the same thing. I use Entourage at work, but like to take home some emails. It would be great to use Mail because its so much faster than Entourage.

    Just some observations.. i can drag emails out from Entourage and Mail and it exports them as .eml files. Heck i can even open the .eml files in Mail by dragging the file onto the Mail.app icon in the dock. But its just missing that one important step of being able to store that email in Mail.

    It must be possible, surely.

    Please if anyone knows how, or if theres even a wee utility that does this somehow, i would love to hear

    Thanks very much
  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,555 points)

    Since Mail 2.0, messages have been stored within each mailbox (xxxx.mbox folder if observed via the Finder) within a folder named Messages as a xxxx.emlx file. Also since Mail 2.0 there has been a single, universal, index file for all mailboxes named the Envelope Index. Since the introduction of this single index, moving messages outside the Mail application itself will not work, and should not be undertaken. Mail can be forced to reindex, but not this is not practical on a routine basis, or advisable.

    If a xxxx.mbox is constructed to contain the .emlx files, then the Import Command could be used, but again this is not practical.

    More info please. You can use Save As on a message and save it as text file, but not for return to the Mail folder. Given the excellent archive and organizing features in Mail, I am not sure what benefit dragging to the Desktop and back would be?

  • BowlerBoy_JMB Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Your last post is touching on a topic that I have been wrestling with all day today, namely how to bring messages back into a Mail 2.1 mailbox. Those messages somehow got lost in the process of getting moved from one mailbox to another while I was working inside of Apple Mail itself. By reading through several threads, I've been piecing together bits and pieces of how the Apple Mail application functions, but I've not found this particular issue addressed in any comprehensive way all in one place. Perhaps with your expertise, we could do that now.

    I use my Mail 2.1 application to access several email accounts, namely one POP account; one .Mac account; and three AOL accounts (i.e., one AOL account with three screen names). This issue concerns what happened with one of those AOL screen name accounts.

    Since AOL's server automatically deletes mail after approximately 45 days (it seems), I like to archive my AOL messages in mailboxes within Apple Mail by dragging the messages from the Inbox window of Apple Mail into mailboxes that I create specifically for that purpose under the AOL account's iconic heading in the left-hand column of Mail. I have observed that, when I create a new screen name for an AOL account, four folders (or mailboxes) get created under the account's heading, namely: Saved; Sent Items; Spam; and VOICEMAIL.

    These mailboxes appear to correlate directly to folders on the AOL server in the sense that messages in the "Sent Items" mailbox —if not moved by me out of those default folders— will be automatically deleted by AOL after a certain period of time. Similarly, messages residing in the general Inbox window of Apple Mail will also be deleted after a period of time, unless I moved them into a mailbox/folder that I create under the heading of that AOL account.

    So, what I have done is create specific mailboxes within the Saved mailbox that AOL's server provided, namely, a mailbox called "AOL Incoming Saved," and a mailbox called "AOL Sent Items MANUALLY SAVED." (I created other mailboxes, too, but for our purposes here, just referring to those two will suffice to illustrate my points.)

    By moving my messages into those mailboxes, I seem to be able to "archive" my mail indefinitely. For example, I move the messages that I sent from within Apple Mail from the "Sent Items" folder to the "AOL Sent Items MANUALLY SAVED" to make sure that they do not get deleted from the AOL server; I also move the messages that arrive in the Inbox window of my AOL account into the mailbox called "AOL Incoming Saved" in order to protect them from getting trashed when their 45 days is up on the AOL server.

    I do not know if Mail provides any other way to archive mail, but this is what I discovered that works for me with each of my three AOL screen name accounts.

    Today, however, I encountered a problem that I need to remedy.

    Somehow, in the process of moving a few hundred messages from the Inbox area to the "AOL Incoming Saved" mailbox, the messages got lost. Same thing happened when I moved messages from the default "Sent Items" folder to my archive folder, "AOL Sent Items MANUALLY SAVED." Since I made these moves while in Apple Mail prior to saving them to a File Cabinet from within the AOL application, those messages were deleted from the AOL server the moment I moved them from one folder to another within Apple Mail.

    I want to retrieve those messages from an external backup volume and put them back into the Apple Mail application. I have all those messages on a clone, so I'd like to bring them back into play again.

    I can't seem to find a way to get those messages back into Mail and into mailboxes designed to contain them as archived mail. So, I need some help in making that happen.

    1. In the Finder, I tried copying the correspondingly named mailbox folders (the ones that are named "AOL Incoming Saved.mbox" and "AOL Sent Items MANUALLY SAVED.mbox" from the clone back to my primary drive in conjunction with trashing the Envelope Index file, but that failed. When I re-lauch Apple Mail, the mailboxes are there, but there are no messages in them.

    2. In Apple Mail, I tried the File > Import Mailboxes command, but, for reasons mysterious to me, when I navigated to the corresponding folders on the clone, the utility informed that there were no compatible mail files for me to import, except for the messages in the Inbox, which I already have. All attempts to choose the messages that I want were rejected by the application, which declared that there were no mail messages to be imported.

    3. I tried Rebuilding the mailboxes with copies of the desired folders dragged over from the clone by the Finder, but that failed, too.

    Around that point I went searching in Apple Discussion and came across your remarks, in which —if I understand you correctly— you say it is "not practical" to use the Import Command to bring mail messages into Mail, but you do not say that it is impossible. So, practical or not, if it can be done, I'd like to know how to do it, because it didn't work for me yet, and I've run out of alternatives.

    So, I'm sorry for the long dissertation, but it seemed necessary to set up the problem and the solution I seek, which, in a nutshell is: How can I get Apple Mail messages, which do exist in a xxxxx.emlx format, back into Apple Mail so that I can archive them in the application and find them when I need to. Thanks for any assistance.

  • zsurfsup Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Restoring .emlx files to Mail.app

    Your emails are stored as .emlx files and once located can be viewed via Mail.app by double-clicking on them.

    That's great but you cannot import these files directly into Mail.app. You cannot drag and drop them into Mail.app. You cannot "Rebuild" them. Forwarding them to yourself could take a great deal of time and you would loose any ability to run "Rules" on them via date sent/received, sender, etc. So, what do you do?

    1) Locate your .emlx files:

    You can generally find them in your user directory using "Finder":
    NOTE: Words inside are unique to you, replace them with your username, etc.

    I say "generally" because you may have mail folders and/or imap folders which will create more layers of directories under your <UserName>/Library/Mail directory. However, if you go to your <UserName>/Library/Mail directory you should recognize your Mailbox, Mail Folder, or imapFolder names and easily find your .mbox/Messages folder inside, which will contain your .emlx files.

    2) Download a .emlx converter:

    Once you have located your .emlx files you need to convert them to a format that Mail.app can import. This would be .mbox. Why Apple stores your emails as .emlx but can't import a .emlx is beyond me. Send Steve an email!

    Download this free utility to do the conversion:

    I have only used the Max OS X version not the Windows version, I did not write this, do not own it, have nothing to do with it's development, etc. So, follow the procedure described below at your own risk. However, I did use it for several thousand emails and it worked great. It is free but as a supporter of freeware I would suggest that once you recover all of your emails you send the person who wrote this a token of your appreciation via PayPal. After all, his or her effort just saved your email rear-end. You will see the "Donate via PayPal" button when you run the application.

    3) Convert your .emlx files:

    Run the .emlx converter.

    Drag the .emlx files you want to restore from the directory you located in Step 1 onto the Converter dialog box. I would suggest you do this in an organized fashion. For example, don't do all of your emails at once. Think about it a little, organize yourself and have a little patience. I know that's hard since a lack of this planning is most likely how we lost our emails in the first place.

    So, I would do one Mail Folder at a time. This will make it easier to reorganize your emails once they are back in Mail.app. If you have a "lot" of emails in each folder I would do a "little" at a time. What is a "little" and a "lot"? Well, that's subjective but I only converted about a 100 emails at a time. If you feel frisky go for more.

    Click "Save mbox"
    Choose a name and location to save the mbox to.

    4) Import into Mail.app

    In Mail.app select File->Import Mailboxes...
    Select the "mbox" or "Other" radio button from the Import Screen, Click "Continue"
    Select the Directory/Folder and filename of the .mbox you created in Step 3, Click "Choose"

    Import will occur.

    Select "Done"

    5) Thank God for script writers and send the guy some money.

    6) Reorganize your emails

    You will now see an "Import" folder in Mail.app.
    Your emails are in there and can now be dragged and dropped back into their respective email folders.

    If you do each Mail folder separately, like I suggested in Step 3, you will see more then one "Import" folder. They will be numbered "Import-2", "Import-3", etc.

    7) Try not to delete all of your emails again....
  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,555 points)

    The first question is whether this clone or backup has these various xxxx.imapmbox folder saved in their entirety to contain all the yyyy.emlx files. If so, then you only need to rename the xxxx.imapmbox folder to be xxxx.mbox and Import. Once imported you can move the messages to other folders, including those you have created on the AOL server.

    In Mail 2.0 and later, you navigate only as far as an ordinary folder, which contains xxxx.mbox folders, and then click on Import. Once you do that, another dialogue window appears, showing you a list of the eligible folders within that ordinary folder for Import, which you can then choose.

    I think with the free AOL accounts, at least, the retention in Inbox, etc, is only 27 days, and you must move any you wish to save longer (on the server) to folders within the Saved folder.

    I would never drag large numbers of messages, because you have to be careful where the cursor pointer is when you release. I would click on Edit, choose the large number of messages, then click on Message in the manubar, and choose Move To, and target the intended folder.

    You also can create On My Mac mailboxes, of course, and move message to those.

    More info, please.

    Message was edited by: Ernie Stamper
  • kthrynileen Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    On a related note... I'm using Mail 2.1 and I'm trying to create a 2007 archive to start the year fresh. I created a new mailbox and moved various folders into that mailbox. Later I found a few more emails that needed to be in some of the folders I moved so I tried to drag them over but got an error message saying that I could not move the files into those folders.

    Anyone have any suggestions?