Importing messages and addresses from other e-mail clients

Claris Emailer 2.0v3

The following is a description of proven methods for moving Emailer address book and message database data into PowerMail. As Emailer stores its other settings (account setup, filters etc...) in proprietary formats, there is unfortunately no way to move these over.

Before attempting an import form Claris Emailer, it is important to remember that Emailer is indeed a discontinued, albeit wonderful, product. There are known bugs in Emailer's Apple Event implementation which PowerMail and Outlook Express both use to extract Emailer data, and as such it is important that you upgrade Emailer to version 2.0v3 before attempting to import your data into PowerMail. As of this writing, the 2.0v3 updater could be found at

Importing your address book

Moving address book data from Claris Emailer version 2.0 into PowerMail is simple: PowerMail can import address book files exported in LDIF format (recipients and groups) created by Emailer 2.0v3, or alternatively as a tabulated text file. Choose Import in the File / Database submenu. You can even drag a selection of Emailer address entries and drop them inside the PowerMail address book window directly !

Importing your message database

In a perfect world, the Emailer developers would have made it possible to quickly export their database in an industry standard format (just as PowerMail does) or at least offer third-parties such as ourselves a programmatic access to the contents of their database. Apple has repeatedly refused to license us the necessary code to do this, and as such we have been forced to consider all possible workarounds.

The good news is that the whole process, if a bit tedious, is well worth it: you will not only be able to carry along your email archives but they will also be searchable using our high-speed VTwin search engine. In all cases, whenever you are importing from a folder with the name "foo" in the original database to a PowerMail folder called "foo", messages get added to the existing folder in PowerMail; otherwise, PowerMail will create a folder based on the original folder's name.

1. Using PowerMail's Apple Event based direct import facility: This the most obvious method to import messages: the PowerMail team spent over five weeks writing and tuning this code; Select Import in the File / Database submenu, then choose "Migration from Claris Emailer". Click the right arrow button, and select your Emailer application. Unlike other import methods, you will not be prompted to select a file to import but a Claris Emailer application instead that will be used to extract the data. PowerMail attempts to locate this application automatically, but you may have to select it yourself if you have more than one copy installed. Be sure to select a copy of Emailer version 2.0v3 and not version 1.1, since the latter is unable to export. When this is done, click the "Go Ahead" button.

After a few seconds, PowerMail will have launched Emailer, counted the number of items about to be imported and attempts to estimate how long the import process will take. While after a few updates this estimate can be within minutes of reality, we are aware of some cases where it is completely wrong: it may say "More than two days" or "Less than one minute, yet take a half-hour to complete. Generally speaking, you should not assume that this task is fast, and should plan to let it run on a fast machine for as long as it may take, i.e. overnight or longer if you have thousands of messages. As Emailer will be the application doing the most processing, the secret here is to switch Emailer to the foreground instead of PowerMail while the transfer is occurring. Granted, you won't have PowerMail's duration estimate updated as often, but the whole process will be MUCH faster.

Fortunately, you only have to go through the migration process once. If this doesn't work for you, we recommend that you try two other alternatives:

2. Using Outlook Express 4.5 as a conversion utility: Microsoft Outlook Express was written by the same lead engineer as Claris Emailer. As a result, Outlook Express has an insider's view on how to get Emailer to hand the contents of its database over Apple Events; this may yield better results than when the same data is requested by PowerMail. Fortunately, PowerMail is able to import from Outlook Express' 4.5 mailbox format as well, so the first thing you need to do here is to run Outlook Express version 4.5 and ask it to import from Emailer (which has to be launched on the same machine and currently have access to your Emailer files and mail database. Once Outlook Express 4.5 is done, then quit it and ask PowerMail to import its database directly.

3. Using AppleScript: If Outlook fails (which may happen if it stumbles on a strange or difficult message), you are left with the possibility of using AppleScript; this method requires a little patience but works well. You need to install Richard Shapiro's Import/Export scripts found here. Once installed, you can apply either one of these scripts to each of your Emailer or Outlook folder; choose the Eudora format for exporting these messages; place all of these files in a single Finder folder and import all of them in one go using PowerMail. Hint: in order to reduce the number of times you need to run this script, try to move messages around in Emailer to a smaller number of folders before exporting.

The most likely problem you might run into for folders that do not convert right is that the AppleScript that creates Eudora-format mailboxes "stumbles" on a given message. The trick is to open the partially-created Eudora mailbox (after a failure) with a text editor supporting large files (Word, BBEdit, etc...) and identify the last two or three messages before the failure. Move these out of your Emailer folder and try running the script again.

If you experience date or accent problems with your old messages, we recommend that you try Brice Dardel's Eudora mailbox converter for PowerMail 3 .

What if I have mail in Claris Emailer 1.1 format and wish to migrate to PowerMail without going through Emailer version 2 ?

MailConverter 2.2.4, which can be found here, can convert Emailer 1.1 filed mail into Eudora format mailbox files suitable for import by PowerMail. Since neither the Emailer 1.1 In Box or Out Box get converted, you need to copy their contents into filed mail folders before conversion.

With MailConverter you can either create one Eudora mailbox file for each of your Emailer 1.1 folders (recommended), or create a single Eudora mailbox file for all of your Emailer 1.1 folders.

Outlook Express version 5

The import from Outlook Express 5 is similar to Emailer import possibility #3 described above.

As with Emailer, there is a deliberate decision made by the Outlook Express 5 team to store their data in proprietary, undocumented, locked file format without providing any built-in facility to export one's mail databases.

As a result, AppleScript is the only mechanism that offers any hope to patiently export :

Moving addresses from OE5 to PowerMail:

Launch both applications and drag addresses across from the OE5 address book window to the PowerMail address book window

Moving messages out of OE5 to PowerMail:

1. Get the AppleScript named "R Shapiro's OE 4.5 Scripts" from's_OE_4.5_Scripts.hqx

2. Use either one of the following scripts to create Eudora files:



>Eudora Export - Exports any selected messages into a Eudora-formatted

>file. Outgoing messages will be recognized as such by Eudora. This is

>slower than the next two but can be used on a combination of incoming and

>outgoing messages


>Eudora Export Source - Simple, fast script for exporting incoming

>messages into a Eudora-formatted file (much faster than Eudora Export).

>This exports the full source, including MIME information, attachments,

>rich text, etc.

3. Import the resulting Eudora mailbox files into PowerMail 2 or 3 using the "Import..." feature in the file / database submenu.

Eudora, Netscape Communicator, AppleShare IP and Unix mailbox

Each of these message formats are essentially similar, with a few minor variations. Each offers a pretty good interchange format across platforms and clients, and can be used as a lingua franca for moving messages to and from PowerMail. In each case, you have the possibility to import one or several files at any given time, and the only information that you will have lost is the "read" status from your previous mail client (we assume that all messages have been read).

If you experience date or accent problems with your old messages, we recommend that you try Brice Dardel's Eudora mailbox converter for PowerMail 3.

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