I've managed to rip myself away from Zimbra and get myself some Gmail goodness.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite ready to give up my archive of 5000+ emails from the last few years just yet and would very much like to import them into my Gmail inbox.

Because Gmail has now taken over my old inbox, I can no longer retrieve my old emails directly from it, so I've had to export them. These are dropped into a tar.gz file which contains .eml files and .meta files, and the same folder structure as I require.

Any ideas on how I'd get them into Gmail from this file? I've looked around but it seems that tools that would/could do it are no longer available or supported.

2 Answers 2


If you can import the EML files into a mail client that support IMAP this will be easy.

It seems that Thunderbird can do this, but I'm not 100% sure. (Don't have a local copy to play with.)

Anyway, set-up Thunderbird to be an IMAP client for Gmail. (Lifehacker has an excellent guide to do this.)

Then, import your EML files into Thunderbird.

If necessary, move them to a temporary folder (called "Zimbra" perhaps) which will be a label in Gmail. Then just wait for IMAP to sync them all to the cloud.

After that you can delete Thunderbird, keep it around to make local archives of your e-mail, or keep using it as your main client.

I was able to do this a couple of years ago with thousands of messages from my Pegasus Mail client. (There was some pain in converting to a format that Thunderbird could read, but getting the messages into Gmail was the easy part.)

  • That's top stuff! Thanks for your advice! Setting up Gmail in Thunderbird was as simple as putting my email address and password as well. Commented Sep 19, 2010 at 15:48
  • Ah, yes. I forgot the latest Thunderbird made it easier to use with Gmail.
    – ale
    Commented Sep 20, 2010 at 3:18

Use the ImportExportTools add-on in Thunderbird. Within seconds you can import .eml files to Thunderbird.

If you have added Gmail to Thunderbird, Gmail will then do a sync within no time.

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