Hacks & TricksTutorial

Guide to Convert Thunderbird Mac MBOX to HTML

Thunderbird MBOX and HTML logo

A Brief Overview

In this article, we will explore different types of methods ie. Manual and Automatic, for MBOX to HTML conversion. As we all know Mozilla Thunderbird supports two types of file format for storing emails, namely MBOX and Maildir. We are concerned with the MBOX file that contains several emails all placed together in a single file.
Users of Thunderbird may at times want to save their important professional as well as personal emails in a lightweight manner.

Despite a wide variety of file formats being available for saving MBOX emails, the HTML format is particularly useful. This is due to HTML files occupying less storage space and being viewable on any Web browser. Hence a majority of Mac users at some point have had a query about “How to convert MBOX to HTML?

Manual Approach To Convert MBOX to HTML (Using Add-on)

Thunderbird provides support for additional tasks to be performed by the use of downloadable Add-ons. These are available on the Mozilla Add-ons site and can be installed to perform desired actions within Thunderbird.

The ImportExportTools Add-on can convert emails to HTML document contained within a MBOX file. This is a very handy way for users for making emails portable and readable with any Web browser.

To perform the installation of Add-on on your Mac system follow the steps given below-

  1. Go to the Thunderbird Add-ons site- https://addons.mozilla.org and download the ImportExportTools Add on

  2. Start Thunderbird email client on your system.

  3. Click on “Tools” option from the menu bar at the top and then Select “Add-ons” from the drop-down list.

  4. In the side bar, click on “Plugins” and then click on the Setting icon.

  5. From the drop-down list, select the “Install Add-on from file” option.

  6. Select the Add-on file “importexporttools-” from the location of its download and click “Open”

  7. Press the “Install Now” button

  8. Lastly, click on the “Restart Now” button to finish installation and to make changes

To convert Thunderbird emails to HTML on Mac, perform the below-mentioned steps-

  1. Start Thunderbird application on your system.

  2. Choose the folder you wish to export to HTML file

  3. Perform a Right-Click on the folder of your choice

  4. Select the Add-on “ImportExportTools”

  5. From the options given select “Export all Messages in the folder”

  6. From the newly given options select “HTML format” or “HTML format(with attachments)”

  7. Finally, select the folder where you want to save the newly created HTML files. Then click on “Select Folder” to complete MBOX to HTML conversion

Shortcomings of the Manual Method

  • The manual process takes a lot of time for MBOX to HTML conversion.

  • Requires the user to have some initial technical knowledge about email client options

  • Emails from only the selected folder can be converted into HTML at a given time

  • High risk of losing important emails during the implementation of manual method

Automated Solution: A Better Approach

If you don’t want to waste your precious time and energy on the inefficient manual method, then go for a third party automatic solution such as Systools Mac MBOX Converter.

The software can completely convert MBOX file to HTML as compared to individual emails converted by the Manual approach. It can also effectively and easily convert MBOX to PDF on Mac. There is absolutely no loss of inline images and formatting of the emails after export to HTML, PDF or other formats.



Although there is a manual method to convert Thunderbird emails to HTML, it requires an Add-on to be installed. As a result, this approach is complex and unsuitable for users with little or no technical expertise. In order to overcome this difficulty, users should utilize an effective software to convert MBOX to HTML.


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