A lot is written about this. I’ve found that it can be extremely simple. This is how to transfer your emails, including attachments and your folder structure from Outlook on your PC to Mail on your Mac.

On the PC install Mozilla Thunderbird 3.0, don’t worry it’s free. During Thunderbird setup, choose to import your Outlook mail. When done, close Thunderbird; there’s no need to configure an email account. Next step is to find the folder where your mails are stored on the PC. This might be a little difficult…

The following works on WinXP, Vista and Windows 7 will work along the same line. First enable ‘view hidden folders’. It’s in your explorer’s menu “Extra -> Folder options, tab Display. Then goto C:Documents and SettingsUSERNAMELocal SettingsApplication DataThunderbird. There you find some “dasgfsdf” folder; i.e. a random folder name. This folder is your Thunderbird profile folder that holds your emails. Transfer this folder to your Mac in some way (USB-stick, USB-disk etc.). The trick is that Apple Mail can import Thunderbird mail by searching for mail files in a folder. So; start Mail on your Mac and select import; Thunderbird mail. Navigate to your profile folder and let it search…

All your outlook folders will be imported and shown below “Import” in the left pane of Mail. You can now drag’drop everything “one level up” and you’re done. Enjoy full text search on all your emails with spotlight. By the way, you do have Time Machine enabled don’t you?

The basis for these types of data & platform migrations is to find an application that is available on both platforms and supports import/export. In case of email; Thunderbird will rescue you. Note that on the Mac, email is stored in the mbox mail format. One mbox file represents one mail folder and can contain multiple emails. Mbox files are plain text files; wanna know what route your email took or how it’s classified by your provider’s spam filter? Just open the mbox file with any text editor and check it out. Why not give “vi” a go from a terminal window?

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