Import/Open PST Files into Thunderbird: Recommended Solution

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Microsoft Outlook is a worldwide famous email client. On the other hand, Thunderbird is an open-source email client available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you need to access your Outlook PST data on a different operating system, importing PST files into Thunderbird can be a convenient solution. It allows you to access your existing email data, including messages, contacts, and calendar events. This will make your email more organized, and you won’t lose any important information while using different devices.

Here, we will discuss importing PST into Thunderbird without Outlook. Additionally, you will get a satisfactory solution using the Cigati PST Converter Tool. This blog will show you the simple steps to import PST files to Thunderbird.

Why Do We Need to Import PST Files Into Thunderbird?

Importing PST (Personal Storage Table) files into Thunderbird can be necessary for various reasons, primarily associated with email migration or transitioning from one email client to another. PST files are commonly used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, contacts, calendar items, and other data. Here are some reasons why someone might need to import PST files into Thunderbird:

  • Transition to Thunderbird: If you are switching from Microsoft Outlook to Mozilla Thunderbird as your primary email client. Importing PST files allows you to transfer your emails, contacts, and other information to Thunderbird.
  • Interoperability: Importing PST files into Thunderbird enables users to access their Outlook data in Thunderbird, promoting interoperability between different email clients.
  • Platform Migration: If you are migrating from a Windows-based system to a different operating system, such as Linux or macOS, you may need to import PST files into Thunderbird to ensure the continuity of your email data.
  • Backup and Recovery: Users may want to create backups of their Outlook data or recover emails from PST files. Importing these files into Thunderbird provides an alternative platform for accessing and managing email data.
  • Compatibility Issues: Sometimes, there may be compatibility issues between Outlook and Thunderbird. Importing PST files allows users to use Thunderbird without losing their existing email data.
  • Cross-Platform Collaboration: Importing PST files into Thunderbird can help standardize communication and facilitate collaboration.

Apart from the need to import PST files to Thunderbird. Further, we will get a brief of manual or professional methods that how to open PST in Thunderbird.

How to Import/Open PST File in Thunderbird?

Opening PST to Thunderbird clients is not as easy as it seems. Thunderbird does not provide any direct option to import Outlook PST files. Conversion of PST to MBOX can be done by several manuals as well as automated techniques. Here, we have listed some manual methods to export Outlook emails to Thunderbird.

Method 01: Import Outlook PST to Thunderbird

If you are the one who is running Outlook and Thunderbird on the same machine, then you can easily import your Outlook mails to Thunderbird. Just follow the steps given below:

  • Open the Control Panel >> Programs >> Set your default program.
  • Then, select Outlook from the Programs tab and click Set this program as default.
  • Click OK to save the changes.
  • Now, Open Thunderbird and click on the Display the Thunderbird Menu option.
  • Go to Tools >> Import.
  • Select Mail >> or Import Everything option >> click Next.
  • Select Outlook >> click Next.
  • In the last window, hit the Finish button to complete the import process.

This method will be helpful to import PST to the Thunderbird interface.

Method 02: Export Outlook PST to MBOX Using Google Takeout

This method requires configuring a Gmail account in the Outlook program and eventually exporting emails from Outlook to Gmail. Migration from PST to Thunderbird is done via Google Takeout. So, Outlook to Thunderbird migration is only achieved by the conversion of PST to MBOX file format via Google Takeout.

Steps to Export PST to MBOX and Open PST Files in Thunderbird

  • Firstly, Open the Gmail account go to Settings >> Forwarding and POP/IMAP, and select the radio button “Enable IMAP.”
  • Open Outlook and go to File >> Add Account option.
  • Enter the info to log in to your Gmail account and hit Enter.
  • Your Outlook is now configured with the same Gmail, for which you changed the IMAP settings.
  • Create a new folder in the newly configured Gmail ID and move the desired Outlook emails to that specific folder.
  • Now, Log in to your Gmail account using Chrome or any other browser and open Google Takeout (
  • From the Select Data to Include tab, deselect all options, and check the Mail option only.
  • Then also, make sure to check the Include all messages in Mail option provided under the All Mail data included category >> Click Next.
  • Now, go to the Customize archive format tab, specify the Delivery method, Export type, File type & size, and hit the Create archive button.
  • Once it is generated by Google, download the ZIP file containing the Outlook data in the MBOX file format.
  • Click Download to download the ZIP file on your local machine.
  • At the end, import the downloaded MBOX file using the Thunderbird email client.

Note: Thunderbird needs the installation of an Add-on feature to import the files. Download and install the Add-on ExportImportTool and relaunch Thunderbird to import files.

Method 03:- Using Thunderbird Application

Even though Outlook is no longer functional on your device, its PST file remains in the default location. If you wish you can import it into Thunderbird.

  • First, you should download/open the Thunderbird application from the following website URL:(
  • Select tools from the options menu. Then, Select Import.
  • Import wizard imports your Address Books, Feed Subscriptions, Emails, & Settings. It is possible to import everything or select specific items. Select Next.
  • You will be required to pick Outlook as the file type to import. Press Next to proceed.
  • Press Finish. When Emails are successfully imported.

Method 04:- Configuration of Gmail in Outlook Account

It is almost possible to manage multiple IMAP accounts using Outlook and Thunderbird. Thunderbird allows users to import PST files into their chosen email accounts. Follow the steps mentioned below if you have already a Gmail account with your Outlook profile.

  • First of all, configure your Gmail account to Outlook.
  • By dragging and dropping, drop the emails from Outlook into the Gmail folder.
  • If you want the Outlook emails to appear in the Gmail folder, create a new folder in Gmail and drag all your Outlook emails into it.
  • After migrating Outlook emails to your Gmail account, you’ll need to link the same Gmail account with the Thunderbird application.
  • After, successfully connecting the Gmail account to Thunderbird, you can view the Gmail emails in Thunderbird effortlessly.

These are the manual methods which are mentioned above. By using these methods we can easily import/open PST files in Thunderbird.

Limitations of All Manual Methods

Importing or opening PST files in Thunderbird manually can have several limitations, mainly due to differences in file formats and the absence of native support for PST files in Thunderbird. Here are some common limitations:

  • No Native PST Support: Thunderbird does not natively support the PST file format used by Microsoft Outlook.
  • Incomplete Data Migration: Manual methods may not accurately transfer all data, leading to the potential loss of attachments, custom folders, and metadata.
  • Time-Consuming: Manual processing can be time-consuming, especially for large PST files or extensive data, as items may need to be handled individually.
  • Risk of Data Corruption: Manual handling increases the risk of errors and data corruption, with mistakes potentially leading to the loss of important information.
  • Compatibility Issues: Thunderbird and Outlook may have different versions and updates, leading to potential compatibility issues with manual methods.
  • Technical Expertise Required: Successful manual importation may require technical expertise, making it challenging for users without advanced knowledge of email data formats.

Method 05:-Import PST to Thunderbird: – Automated method

To overcome these limitations, users often use the Cigati PST Converter Tool. This tool is typically more efficient, handles the conversion process more accurately, and provides additional features such as automated batch processing and detailed reporting. It provides a reliable and fast importing of PST files without any data modification. It maintains data hierarchy and originality during the process. Moreover, users can use this software to convert MSG, MBOX, Gmail, Office 365, and other file formats and email clients.

Steps to Import PST File Into Thunderbird Using PST Converter

  • Download, install, and run the Cigati PST Converter on your machine.
  • Choose Single/Multiple Files or Select Folder to add a PST file.
  • Hit the Select Files to choose a PST file, and click Open to add it/them.
  • Now, You can Preview and Select the Email folder from the tree structure.
  • Pick the PDF file format from the drop-down list.
  • Click the Save to Path button where you want to save it.
  • Finally, click the Convert button to begin the conversion process.


In this write-up, we have answered the most asked query of how to open a PST file in Thunderbird. We have mentioned both the manual and professional approaches to open the PST file in Thunderbird. Manual processes are free but time-consuming and tedious for non-technical users. So, I would like to recommend you opt for the Cigati PST Converter Tool which imports your PST file into Thunderbird directly. You will be able to save your manual efforts, and time and get the results 100% accurately.

About The Author:

Pradeep is a dedicated technical content writer who thrives on the intersection of technology and storytelling. With a background in engineering and a passion for writing, he brings a unique blend of technical expertise and creativity to his work. Pradeep’s articles not only educate but also entertain, making complex technical subjects approachable and intriguing for a broad audience. His work has been featured in numerous tech blogs, making him a trusted source for tech enthusiasts and novices alike.

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