Download Thunderbird emails as txt files

I’m still on holidays. Yes I am! Despite of the the tags of the post. But I can’t avoid thinking about what I need to do when I come back after my holidays. I’d love to have a law like the french right to disconnect but then, can I apply it if I’m not based in a certain place? And how can I disconnect my brain? Anyway, what I wanted to write down so I don’t forget it is how can I download as a txt file an email from my Thunderbird client.

The problem is the next. You have an email client for your corporative email address. That is already a supposition, since you may be a Microsoft Outlook person, or a gmail one. But let’s suppose you use Thunderbird. Then let’s suppose you have some kind of email quota (that we don’t have) or that you simply want to get the email content ordered by date on a specific folder, so you can copy them to a pendrive, or something like that. In my case, after managing doing what I want, I will try to build a database so I can order them by keywords, or by tags, and offer the result to a third person as a website. I may tell you about it after I’m back to work.

But I was saying…how can I nicely download the email as a real txt file? If you right click on a message, the contextual menu that appears is showing you a “Save as” option. If you continue, your message is saved as an eml file. An eml file is a nice thing to store, you can import it and read it with another email clients, and it comes with meta information. But it’s not nice to read. As it is said nowadays, it’s not human-readable. This is not exactly true, since if you do more over the downloaded file, you can somehow read it. And if you can read it, you can mine it.

So I went for an add-on. Ideally, I wanted an entry on the contextual menu offering me to download the whole folder as a text file, but I didn’t find it. I was fiddling around with several add-ons, but my solution was, at the end, ImportExportTools. With this add-on, you get even the option of downloading your email as PDF!

The procedure to install it is quite easy, but not standard. You download the add-on here, and then install it with the Add-on manager. Go to Menu –> Tools–> Add-ons, and look for the Extension section to the left. Since it’s raining heavily outside, I even did a screenshot for you:

adds-on You see? Peanuts. Click on the wheel, and choose Install Add-on From File. Navigate to the place you downloaded ImportExportTools*.xpi and restart Thunderbird. Now, when you right-click on a message, after Save As, there is a new option called Save selected messages, that opens up a new menu with all the options you may need. The rest is up to your imagination. Or I could say, my imagination 😛

Have a nice holidays and enjoy your weather while you can 😀


About bitsanddragons

A traveller, an IT professional and a casual writer
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