Import Email From Mozilla Thunderbird Into Gmail

  • In Thunderbird, go to folder with emails. Highlight them. Right-click a message. Select Copy To > [Gmail address] > [destination folder].
  • You must have Gmail set up as an IMAP account in Thunderbird in order to import email.

Gmail offers a great deal of space, useful search capabilities, and universal access. You can bring all this utility to your Mozilla Thunderbird email by importing it into your Gmail account.

Import Email From Mozilla Thunderbird to Gmail Using IMAP

Fortunately, Gmail offers IMAP access—a protocol that keeps your emails on a server but lets you see and work with them as if they were stored locally (meaning, on your device). Fortunately, it also turns importing email into a rather simple drag-and-drop affair. To copy your messages from Mozilla Thunderbird to Gmail:

  1. Set up Gmail as an IMAP account in Mozilla Thunderbird.

    Thunderbird Inbox screenshot
  2. Open the folder containing the emails you want to import.

  3. Highlight the messages you want to import. (If you want to import them all, press Ctrl-A or Command-A to highlight all messages.)

    Thunderbird with messages highlighted - screenshot
  4. Right click one of the messages that you want to copy over.

  5. In the menu that pops open, select Copy To > [Gmail address] > [the folder you want to import them to], such as the Inbox.

    A screenshot of a Mozilla Thunderbird inbox with the Copy To command highlighted
  6. You can open your Gmail account outside of Thunderbird to verify that your messages are where you imported them.

Why Not Just Forward Your Messages?

Sure, you can forward the messages, but this is hardly an elegant or fully functional solution. The messages will lose their original senders, and emails you've sent won't appear to have been sent by you. You'll also lose some of Gmail's very useful organizational capabilities—for instance, Conversation View, which groups emails on the same topic together.

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