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How to archive email for someone else to be able to open?


Topic starter

Hi guys,

Odd request I'd never received before: my client is a well-known photographer, and is asking how to archive thousands of emails to submit them to a museum. What is the easiest way to do this? 

We tried dragging and dropping a pile of messages to the desktop to save them as .eml files, but Mail only seems to do one at a time. I thought of MailSteward, but am not sure if that's the right solution when someone other than you needs to open your email archive. Other suggestions? What happens when you drag the Library > Mail > V2/3/4/etc folder to an external drive? Can the messages be opened by someone else's Mail app? Or is there a simple way to just convert every message to a .txt or PDF from within Mail? 

Thanks all!

3 Answers

I was just recently dealing with an email archiving request and the solution that suited my client was based on the whole V4(?) folder being moved into a server folder then accessed only by Finder search (coz you don’t get to see any folder hierarchy or names) and quicklook viewing. 

i have vague memories of EagleFiler(?) or another similar app providing better indexing of off-client mbox files, but maybe something like Thunderbird can reference archived mboxes without importing them?


I would just put all the messages I want to share in one or more mailboxes in Mail. Then, navigate through the hierarchy of Mail folders in the library and copy out the ones representing the mailbox(es) above.

Optionally, use the Finder to search only the given mailbox(es) for .emlx files and you'll get a consolidated list of all the email message files.

Topic starter

@earthsaver, thanks for your reply. 🙂 In the first option I don't see a way to "copy out" the messages you're referring to. In the second option, just do a search in Finder for .emlx files and then copy and paste them into an external?

Both of the options I considered involve using the Finder to find the emlx files. However, I just tested copying multiple messages by drag and drop directly from Mail and it worked fine. This is in Mojave. What OS is your client using?