How to Import Windows Mail or Outlook Express Emails Into Gmail

Migrate your emails into Gmail with these simple steps

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You can copy all your emails into Gmail if you prefer to use Gmail's website or mobile app to read messages. For example, if you have messages in Outlook Express that you want to copy over to Gmail, all you have to do select them and copy them into your Gmail account.

To do this, you have to first set up Gmail in the email client so that it's listed along with the other email account(s) you have set up. Once all your accounts are right there next to your Gmail account, migrating mail is as simple as drag and drop.

Note: The steps below work no matter what email service you're using in the email client. This means you can copy messages into Gmail from another Gmail account or from a Yahoo account, Hotmail account, etc.

How to Import Other Emails Into Gmail

You can migrate emails from other email accounts into Gmail by setting up your account in the email program (e.g., Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Outlook, etc.) and then selecting which emails to copy over.

Screenshot showing how to copy emails into Gmail from Outlook Express
Copying Emails From Outlook Express Into Gmail.
  1. Log in to Gmail in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.
    1. Be sure to use the Gmail IMAP settings when creating the account.
  2. Open the email account that has the emails you want to migrate to Gmail.
  3. Select any messages you want to copy to Gmail.
    1. Tip: You can choose more than one at once by holding down the Ctrl key as you click individual emails. To migrate lots of emails at once from any folder, use the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut to select all of them.
  4. With the Ctrl key held down, drag the group of highlighted messages into a folder in your Gmail account.
    1. For example, to copy the emails into Gmail's All Mail folder, drop the messages into the folder with that name.
    2. It's recommended to keep sent emails in the same folder in Gmail to avoid confusion later on. If you want to copy sent messages to Gmail, select the emails in Sent from Outlook Express or Windows Mail and copy them to Sent in Gmail.
    3. Tip: Another way to copy emails into Gmail is to right-click one of the selected messages and click Copy to Folder, and then pick a folder from your Gmail account to copy the messages to.
    4. Note: If you want to make a new folder in Gmail for these migrated emails, you're welcome to do so. You just have to do it before copying the messages into Gmail.
    5. Important: If you don't hold down the Ctrl key, the emails will be moved into Gmail instead of copied.

    Tip: If all the messages you've imported into Gmail are marked as unread, you can quickly mark them as read to avoid having them clutter up your Gmail account.

    Though not as smooth, an alternative method is to use Thunderbird. To do that, you have to first import the messages from Outlook Express or Windows Mail into Thunderbird, and then copy the Thunderbird messages into Gmail.

    How Does This Work?

    So long as your Gmail account is set up to communicate with the Gmail IMAP server, anything you do to Gmail on your computer will sync with the online version at Gmail.com. So, any emails you copy to Gmail from your other accounts will be uploaded to your online version of Gmail.

    The next time you read your Gmail messages from the Gmail mobile app or website, you'll see those same messages that used to be stored only in Outlook Express or Windows Mail.

    Know, however, that a simple copy of your messages into Gmail will not cause all future messages in your other accounts to also be copied to Gmail. Aside from manually copying all new messages into Gmail each time they come in, you can set up your email client to forward messages to Gmail automatically or configure Gmail to check mail from your other account(s).