How To Import Mbox Files Into Outlook 2016

Do you use Outlook 2016 on your Mac? Have you ever needed to import email messages stored in an mbox file? Mbox files are a common way to store email messages on computers using the UNIX operating system. Since the Mac operating system is a derivative of UNIX, Apple’s own Mail application stores its email message in an mbox format. I recently needed to import some email messages, stored in mbox files, into¬†Outlook 2016 and was surprised to learn that Outlook 2016 can’t import mbox files. While there are some third-party applications that will let you import mbox files into Outlook I didn’t want to spend $40-$50 to accomplish this. Instead, I used Outlook 2011 for Mac, as an intermediary.

Here’s an overview of the process I used. I used Outlook 2011 to import the mbox files. Then I exported these mail messages from Outlook 2011 as an .olm file. Then I opened Outlook 2016 and imported the .olm file. More specifcally, here are the steps I followed:

  • Open Outlook 2011, click on File menu and select Import.
  • Select Import contacts or messages from text file
  • Then select import messages from MBOX-format text file
  • Select a folder containing mbox files and wait for the importing to complete.
  • Click on the File menu and select Export, choose the .olm file format and check the box to only export mail messages.
  • Open Outlook 2016, click on the File menu and select Import and indicate that you’re importing a .olm file.

If you’re interested in a third-party application to help you with this process, here are some options I found. I haven’t used any of them so I can’t vouch for them, at all.