Two email tips every Mac user should know

Christopher Breen
7 October, 2014
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outlook mbox import

Outlook's ability to import mbox files is not readily apparent.

What with a new version of iOS out along with iPhones to accompany it you’d think I’d be flooded with questions of a mobile nature. Nope. Instead, I’ve had a handful of questions about email. Let’s tackle two of them.

The first is from reader Sushil Pradhan who asks:

I carried out all the steps to export the mailbox from my Windows PC and import it to my Mac. I now have an mbox file that I’d like to bring into Outlook for Mac. But when I try to import it, Outlook gives me the option of importing only two types of files – pst and olm. There is no mbox option. Please help.

When you choose File > Import in Outlook you do indeed see the option to import an Outlook Data File (in .pst or .olm format). And, as you’ve discovered, if you try to import your mbox file using this option, you get nowhere fast. However, if you instead choose Contacts or messages from a text file in that same Import window and then click the next arrow, there’s your mbox option. Enable that, click the next arrow again, and then navigate to and open the mbox file. Your messages should import as expected.

And then there’s Ronnie Greher’s question about organising email:

I have a lot of mailboxes in Apple Mail on my MacBook Pro to sort and manage my mail. Many of them are in alphabetical order, but some of the more recently created ones simply fall in line at the bottom vertically. I’m baffled as to how to get them all to appear in alphabetical order. Any advice here?

When you create a new mailbox within Mail by selecting Mailbox > New Mailbox and then choose a place to put it – within an IMAP account or on your computer – it should appear in alphabetical order under the location heading you’ve chosen. If it doesn’t, you can simply drag it to where you’d like it.

However, if the mailboxes within an IMAP account are out of order, there’s a trickier way to do it. Choose Mail > Preferences > Accounts, select the account that exhibits the out-of-order mailboxes, and uncheck the Enable this account option and close the preferences window. The account will disappear from your list of accounts in the sidebar. (Never fear, copies of your email are still on the server.) Now return to this same Accounts preference and enable the option that you just unchecked. Mail will refresh the list of mailboxes and display them in alphabetical order.

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