I would really like to switch over to Thunderbird from Evolution. I have had a look around and haven't found a good up to date how to for migrating. I have quite a lot of emails and filters and would like to make the transition as painless as possible.

thanks for any help.


7 Answers 7


Ubuntu <= 11.04

This is a perfect how to, very easy ... you can follow, it has

  • Migrate local mail from Evolution
  • Migrate Calendar
  • Migrating Task
  • Migrate address book


--------------------------- UPDATED --------------------------------------------------

Ubuntu >= 11.10


Exporting calendar data

To export a complete calendar, right-click on the calendar in the list of calendars and click Save as. Available formats are iCalendar format (ICS, recommended), comma separated values (CSV), and RDF format.

If you want to export only one appointment, right-click on the appointment and click Save as iCalendar....



Lightning 1.0b7 by Mozilla

or you can install this package from Ubuntu repository:

sudo apt-get install xul-ext-lightning version the same (1.0~b7)

Manage your daily schedule directly within Thunderbird. Allows managing calendars locally or subscribing to network calendars. Lightning 1.0b7 supports Thunderbird 7.

  • Install this extension.
  • Open thunderbird.
  • Events and task
  • import and select the calendar saved before...


exporting contacts data

Contacts files are stored in a database, but can be saved as a vCard file. To export a complete address book, click File ▸ Save Address Book As vCard. If you want to export only one contact, click File ▸ Save as vCard or right-click on the contact and click Save as vCard.



contact data (vCard or .vcf)

Some address book programs use a vCard format, which cannot be imported directly by Thunderbird. You can import both vCard and vcf using the third-party Thunderbird extension MoreFunctionsForAddressBook.

  • Install this extension.
  • Open thunderbird.
  • Address Book -> tools -> MoreFunctionsForAddressBook -> action for contatcs -> import vcard/vcf


Exporting mail data

To save an email to a file in mbox format, select an email and click File ▸ Save as mbox... or right-click on the message and click Save as mbox....

The same steps apply to save a complete mail folder, but you have to mark all messages in it first.

You can select all messages in a folder by clicking Edit ▸ Select All or pressing Ctrl+A.




Adds some tools to import and export folders and messages

mail data .mbox

  • Install this extension.
  • Open thunderbird.
  • tools -> ImportExportTools -> import file mbox -> import directly one or more files .mbox


exporting tasks

in Evolution, click on the Task tab. Right click on the Personal (or whatever name you give to your task list) and select Save to disk. Navigate to the location and save the task list in .ics format.


Importing Task

  • Events and task -> import.

P.D : All these are tested by my and work 100%

  • I see it was written in 2008 is it still relevant? has anything changed since then?
    – Allan
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 18:53
  • is not relevant is usefull in any version of thunderbird and evolution, i test some of this tips and plug-ins and worked very well
    – hhlp
    Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 18:56
  • 1
    Hi Hector I have eventually managed and will be moving over to IMAP as soon as possible as it was a lot of work. I think it would be great if there was a Thunderbird plugin to import from an evolution backup as presumably all the data is there and it would make the process slightly less painful.
    – Allan
    Commented Feb 26, 2011 at 0:52
  • Wow @hhlp I'll have to try this when I get home. What addon allows importing mboxes?
    – zpletan
    Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 22:36
  • @zpletan sorry i miss that extension see my update...
    – hhlp
    Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 10:51

Try this website for instructions: http://support.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/kb/switching-thunderbird?s=migrating+from+evolution+to+thunderbird&as=s

I quote from that document regarding mail:

  1. Open Nautilus.

  2. Open ~/.local/share/evolution/mail/local which is where Evolution store your mails.

  3. Copy all the file without extension (such as Inbox, Outbox,..) into the emplacement used by Thunderbird to store its mail (something like ~/.thunderbird/uk41lql0.default/Mail/Local Folders, where you need to adapt uk41lql0.default to your own installation).

  4. Launch Thunderbird to check that all your mail have been correctly imported.

There are also intructions there for migrating contacts (address books). I didn't use Evolution's calendar, or Lightning, and don't know how to migrate it.

  • yes, this is right answer Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 11:34

For another take on the process(es), take a look at Moving on to Thunderbird. This was a switch from Evolution to Thunderbird under Ubuntu 10.04, done fairly recently (January, 2010). Note that only the message folders and address book needed to be transferred (i.e. calendar, task, etc. were not in use). Using Version 10.10 rather than 10.04 shouldn't be any different. See the above-noted blog post and a number of the subsequent ones for the whole story...


Are you willing to export the mail from Evolution to GMail, then have Thunderbird download it from GMail? This URL discusses this:



You can try this script here which is an updated version of the script mentioned here,

It worked for me.

Good luck!


If you are using a newer version of Evolution that uses the Maildir file format (each message is in a single file); I think this was changed in 2012 or so; download this plugin for Thunderbird:


Once installed go to the main mail page ->Right click on one of your mail directories, e.g. INBOX or PERSONAL -> Select ImportExportTools -> Import Messages -> Browse to the directory all your mail files are in (~/.local/share/evolution/mail/local) -> At the bottom of the file manager change Email files to All Files -> Select all the files by selecting one and then pressing CTRL+A -> Press open

Your mails are now migrating.


I think, that is a quite simple thing. I suggest you this tutorial.

  • 2
    Already in the headline it says, it's for Ubuntu Intrepid. That's fairly outdated for my terms. Nonetheless I tried it and it didn't work.
    – panmari
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 8:32
  • 2
    Furthermore, your answer is barely more than an external link to another site. Could you please improve your post by moving the steps from your link back into your answer? If the page you linked to ever went down, this answer would become useless. Thanks! Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 20:07

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