User Manual

Copyright © 2002-2006, Weird Kid Software LLC

Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Using Emailchemy
  3. Helpful Tips
  4. Purchasing Emailchemy


Emailchemy reads email from the closed, proprietary file formats of the most popular (and many of yesterday's forgotten) email applications and converts it to standard, portable formats that any application can use. Most modern email applications are able to directly use or import these standard formats.

Emailchemy converts proprietary email formats to many popular formats based on The One True E-mail Format - RFC-2822 (formerly RFC-822). This is the official Internet/ARPAnet standard for email that has been around since 1973.

Things you can do with Emailchemy:

  • Recover / Export email from an old application or file format
  • Import email into your new email application
  • Convert email to standard formats
  • Repair or clean mailbox files
  • Remove proprietary extensions from mailbox files
  • Condense/split email files and archives
  • Prepare email for entry into a database
  • Prepare email for use with data archiving applications, like Boswell
  • Make older email Y2K compliant

Supported Email Formats

Emailchemy currently can read the email files and mailboxes from:

  • AOL for Windows ("PFC" files)
  • Claris Emailer 1.x for Macintosh
  • Claris Emailer 2.x for Macintosh
  • CompuServe Classic for Macintosh (aka "MacCIM")
  • CompuServe 2000 for Windows
  • Entourage
  • Eudora
  • Mac OS X Mail
  • Mozilla
  • Mulberry
  • Musashi
  • Neoplanet
  • Netscape
  • Opera 4, 5, 6 & 7
  • Outlook Express 4 and 5 for Macintosh
  • Outlook Express 4, 5 & 6 for Windows
  • Outlook Express 4 for UNIX/Solaris
  • PowerTalk/AOCE for Macintosh
  • QuickMail Pro for Macintosh
  • QuickMail Pro for Windows
  • Yahoo! Mail
  • any UNIX-style or mbox-format mailbox

Emailchemy currently can rewrite any of the above formats into these standard formats:

  • RFC-2822 mailboxes ("mbox" format or "UNIX-style")
  • Folders of individual RFC-2822 email files (.txt or .eml files)
  • Comma-separated value files (.csv files)
  • Maildir (qmail)
  • Maildir++ (Courier IMAP)
  • Variations of the RFC-2822 mbox mailboxes that are directly usable by:
    • Mac OS X Mail (aka "")
    • Eudora
    • Mozilla (including Netscape and Thunderbird)
    • Entourage Archives (.rge files)

Emailchemy can also host your converted mail in its own IMAP mail server, providing you an easy way to import mail into your new email application.

"Try Before You Buy"

Emailchemy is distributed as "trialware". This means that we allow you to download and try out our software, but some features may be limited or disabled until Emailchemy is purchased and then registered with a valid registration key.

However, the disabled features will not prevent you from determining if Emailchemy can indeed translate your email files. The trial version will simply replace certain mail headers with something like "Please buy me".

Trademark Notice

Emailchemy is a trademark of Weird Kid Software LLC. All other brands or product names are trademarks of their respective owners.

Using Emailchemy

System Requirements

Emailchemy will run on any modern, java-enabled computer. For Macintosh computers, Emailchemy requires Mac OS X, version 10.2.6 or higher with the Java 1.4.1 update 1 installed.

For computers running any version of Windows, Linux, Solaris, or UNIX, Emailchemy requires that Java, version 1.4.1 or higher, be installed. The latest version of Java for your computer is always available as a free download from

If you are not sure which Java version you already have, you can check by typing "java -version" at a command-line in the appropriate terminal application for your operating system. You should see something like this:


Emailchemy for Windows and UNIX/Linux is distributed as an executable that will install itself. All you need to do is start the installer program and answer any questions about where to put Emailchemy and its shortcuts. Although, we recommend you just use the default settings of the installer.

Emailchemy for Mac OS X is distributed as a disk image (.dmg). To install, double click the disk image file and follow the directions.

Running Emailchemy

Depending on your operating system, you'll double-click the Emailchemy icon, select it from your Start menu, or start it at the command line. As Emailchemy starts for the first time, you'll be asked to accept the End User License Agreement (EULA). If you don't accept the agreement, Emailchemy will not run.

Note: The screenshots in this user manual were taken on a Mac OS X system. If you are using another operating system, you'll see the same window but it will look more like the style of the other applications on your computer.

Converting Email using the Conversion Wizard

"Wizards" are automated conversion tasks and are a convenient way to convert your email -- provided you still have the files where your email program left them. In this way, Emailchemy's Wizards work very much like the "Import Wizards" you may have seen in some modern-day email programs. However, Emailchemy's wizards will also accept alternative locations as long as the basic structure of your email program's mail folder is left somewhat intact. Generally speaking, just do what the Wizard tells you to do, but we'll walk you through it the first time.

Note: Since Wizards are only necessary when a high-degree of automation is desirable, Wizards may not exist for all types of email, so if you don't see an appropriate Wizard, you should use the Advanced Interface (described in the next section).

To get started, click the "Use Conversion Wizard" button on the main window, and you'll see a screen similar to the picture below.

At this point you merely need to choose the name of the email program you wish to convert from and click "Next". Or, you can switch back to the Advanced Interface by clicking the "Advanced" button in the lower left. After clicking "Next", you'll see something like this:

Now, select the folder or file that the wizard is asking for by clicking the "Browse..." button and then click "Convert". You'll be asked to select a destination and format before you click "Save" in the window that pops up. For more information on how to do this part, please see Selecting the Output Format and Destination section.

To start over, click "Previous". Otherwise, you're done!

Converting Email using the Advanced Interface

Converting email using the standard interface works like this:

  1. Add your old email files to the Email Files list
  2. Click the Convert button
  3. Select the destination format and destination
  4. Click the Save button

We'll walk you through it the first time.

Adding to the Email Files list

The Email Files list is the central focus of the Emailchemy main window. You need to add to this list the email files that you want to convert. To do this, click the "Add File..." button that is just below the Email Files list. You'll then see a standard file open window titled "Select Email Files for Translation".

Find the file or files that you want to convert using the file browser. Before selecting or highlighting the individual files, you'll need to select the format of the file. For example, if the file you are trying to convert is from Claris Emailer, select "Claris Emailer" from the "Format" drop-down list box in the lower left-hand portion of this screen. Then, select the files in the file browser window and click "Select". At this point, the "Select Email Files for Translation" window will close and you'll see your selections appear in the Email Files list on the main window. You can repeat this step as many times as you want in order to add more selections to the Email Files list.

Tip: To add multiple files at the same time, use the "select all" convention appropriate to your operating system in the file selection window (i.e. shift-click, ctrl-a, ctrl-click, or option-click).

When you are done selecting the files to be converted, your filled-in main window will look something like the above picture.

From here, you can remove files from the conversion list, add more, or clear it out completely. One more thing that you can choose to do at this point though is that you can select "Save..." from the File menu to save the list of files that you've selected for conversion. Consequently, you could also open a previously saved conversion list.

Selecting the Output Format and Destination

Now you need to select what you want to convert your old email files to. First, click the "Convert Email" button. You'll see a file dialog pop-up that looks like this:

Browse to wherever you want to save your converted mail, type in a name for your converted email in the "Name:" field, and then select the output format from the "Format:" drop-down list box.

For most conversions, you'll select the "Standard Mailbox File" option since it's the format that any email program should be able to import. Although, there may be times when the other formats could be especially useful. For example, the Comma-Separated Value File format is widely used for importing data into most relational and single-user database applications. The folder of Plain Text Files option separates your mailbox files into separate, human-readable files. This format could be useful for creating journals or batch printing. Emailchemy also provides some "enhanced-mbox" formatted files for easy import into certain mail programs.

Finally, click the "Save" button. How long the conversion takes depends on the amount of email you are converting, the number and size of attachments in your email, and the formats you are converting from. For your convenience, a progress-window will pop-up so you can monitor the conversion process. The progress window will tell you which file is currently being converted and tell you how many emails have been converted so far. If the number of emails stops updating for a few seconds, it merely means that Emailchemy is working through a rather large email message. In the following example, 1495 emails took approximately 45 seconds, but your results will be different depending on your computer and the size of your emails.

When the conversion process is complete, you will see something like this:

Congratulations, you're all done! At this point, you can Clear the Email Files list and start over with another set of email files, or you can select Quit from the File menu.

What you do from this point is entirely up to you. If you converted to a Standard Mailbox File, you could import that into your current email application, or you could compress it and archive it somewhere. If you converted to the CSV format, you could easily import all your emails into a database system like Access, Oracle, MySQL, or PostgreSQL. In fact, there are a few other shareware tools out there that will help you do this. Plain text files could even be assembled into a diary. The point is that we've put your information back under your control; now, do with it as you please. Be creative.

Emailchemy Preferences

Emailchemy has some configurable settings that you can modify in the Preferences dialog. The Preferences dialog is found in the Edit menu, and it has a tab for each major category of options:

Standard mbox
QuickMail Pro
Folder of Text Files

Helpful Tips

Finding your email files to be converted

By now, you already know that some email applications don't allow you to export your email. What you may not already know is that some email applications even try to hide the email files from you! Our tip here is to try a file search, using whatever "Find files" feature your computer has, to look for some known common filenames or filename extensions. Try looking for files or folders that end with ".mbox", ".mbx", or ".dbx". Also try looking for files or folders called "mailbox", "mail", "inbox", "Messages", "outbox", or "sent".

Moving your email to a different operating system

If you are moving your email to a computer that runs different operating system (i.e. switching from Windows to Macintosh), we recommend that you perform the conversion on the target computer (the one you are moving the email to).

Importing your converted mail into another email application

Every email program has its own way of importing the standard mailbox files. For importing email into applications that can directly use the Standard mbox format (or one of the variations that Emailchemy provides), instructions are in the following sections. For importing the Standard mbox format into all other applications, we recommend using the ImportServer product.

Importing into Netscape, Mozilla, or Thunderbird

First, convert your email. If you are using the Advanced Interface, convert to the Standard format; if you are using the Conversion Wizard, convert to the Netscape Folder format.

After that, you'll need to locate the appropriate Mail folder in which to place your converted mail. This folder seems to be in a different spot for each operating system, so just look for folders with names ending with ".slt".

Once inside the ".slt" directory, open the Mail directory and then the "Local Folders" directory. Copy your converted mail here and then restart Nestcape (or Mozilla or Thunderbird). Important: If you used the Conversion Wizard, make sure you copy both output files (the folder and the empty file of the same name) to Netscape.

After Netscape restarts, open the Mail application and you should see your converted mailbox in the folder list. If you click on that mailbox, you'll only need to wait a minute while Netscape creates an index for the new mailbox and then you're all set.

Importing into Eudora

Eudora uses a proprietary variation of the Standard mbox format, and the recommended approach is to use the ImportServer to get your converted mail into Eudora. However, Emailchemy does have a Eudora output format that is compatible with Eudora, but Eudora will not be able to interpret the attachments and special characters in your messages. So, there are 2 methods for importing into Eudora:

  1. Recommended (for accuracy): Convert your mail to the Standard mbox format and use the ImportServer.

  2. For quick imports (attachments not viewable): If you are using the Advanced interface, convert to the Standard or Eudora for Mac format as appropriate. If you are using the Conversion Wizard, convert to the Eudora for Mac Folder or Eudora for Windows Folder format. Then, drop your converted mail files or folder into same folder as the rest of your Eudora .mbx files. Depending on your version of Eudora, this will be in different places, but it's usually a folder called "Eudora" and it contains other mail (look for In.mbx or Inbox files).
Importing into Mac OS X Mail 2.x (Mac OS X 10.4 and higher)

Convert your email to the Mac OS X Mail 2.0 format. Then, use Mail's import feature. Make sure you tell Mail's import wizard to look in the same folder that you told Emailchemy to save your converted mail.

Importing into Mac OS X Mail 1.x (Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.3)

Convert your email to the Mac OS X Mail 1.0 format. Then, copy the your converted mailbox file (or folder of converted mailboxes) to the Library/Mail/Mailboxes folder in your Home directory and restart the Mail Application. After you click on the new mailbox (it also may appear as a folder of mailboxes), you may need to wait a minute while the Mail Application builds new indexes for your new mailbox, but after that you'll be all set. Open the Activity Viewer from Mail's View menu to watch the progress of the index building.

Importing into Entourage

Because Entourage's import functionality can be different from one version to another, you have three options (we have a lot of success with option 1 and 2):

  1. Convert your email to the Entourage Archive (.rge) format, then use Entourage's import feature. This only works with Entourage 2004 or higher.
  2. Convert your email to the Standard format, then try dragging and dropping the resulting file onto your Entourage window. You may have to rename the file so that it ends with .mbox
  3. Convert your email to the Standard format, then use the Import Wizard found in Entourage's File menu (select "import from a file"). You may have to rename the file so that it ends with .mbox
Importing into other applications (including Outlook and Outlook Express)

If you're not importing into any of the above-mentioned email applications, try one of the following generic techniques:

Using maildir output formats

Maildir and Maildir++ formats require the use of hidden folders, so it's likely you may not see your output in your file browsing tool. To see hidden files and folders, you'll have to use a terminal shell and type 'ls -al' to see the output.

Using the CSV output format

The order of the fields in the CSV format:

  1. sent date
  2. received date
  3. subject
  4. sender
  5. recipients (to, cc, and bcc)
  6. rfc2822 header
  7. message body

Converting email from Outlook or Exchange

[Note: these are special directions are for converting Outlook email in PST files, NOT Outlook Express. To convert Outlook Express archives, follow the standard instructions in the section Converting Email.]

Emailchemy doesn't support Outlook PST files yet. In the meantime, here's a workaround:

Use Outlook Express, any version, to import the email messages from Outlook, and then use Emailchemy to convert your Outlook Express mailboxes. This requires that you have the email you want to export in your base-level Inbox in Outlook and that Outlook is running when you try to import into Outlook Express.

Yes, this really works! We once received an email from a customer that converted over 1.2 Gigabytes (52,000 emails!) this way.

Converting email from QuickMail Pro

As of version 1.2, Emailchemy supports QuickMail Pro email. In building the converter, we've noticed a few things about QuickMail Pro email files that you should know about too.

Converting email from Claris Emailer 1.x

Emailchemy can currently only convert the files in your "Filing Cabinet" folder. We are currently working on the format for the InBox and OutBox files. In the meantime, if you still have a working version of Emailer 1, you can simply move all the contents of your InBox to a personal folder before converting. Sadly, attachments are not yet rejoined with the email.

Converting email from Claris Emailer 2.x

For best results, you need to perform a "Typical Rebuild" of Emailer's database before using Emailchemy. To perform a "Typical Rebuild", hold down the option key when starting Emailer. Yes, this works in the Mac OS Classic environment of Mac OS X.

Converting email from Entourage and Outlook Express 5 for Macintosh

For most situations, you should use the appropriate Conversion Wizard. However, here are some tips to help you in converting your Entourage and OE5Mac email using the Advanced Interface:

Converting other formats

If you are not sure whether or not your email format is supported, try running it through Emailchemy as if it were a standard mailbox. If it works, you are already dealing with a standard mailbox and Emailchemy just cleaned it up a bit. Sometimes, that's all you need. Feel free to send us a note at any time telling us what worked and what didn't work.

However, if Emailchemy simply just does not support your email format yet, let us know and we'll see what we can do. There are literally hundreds of email applications out there, many of which we've never seen or used or even heard of.

Troubleshooting Emailchemy

Here are some common tips that should help with the most common problems that have been reported by users of Emailchemy.

Please don't hesitate to contact us to answer any questions or for a quick tip here or there.

Purchasing Emailchemy

Once you are satisfied with the Emailchemy demo version, you can purchase a fully functional and registered copy of Emailchemy. The details of how to do so are on the Weird Kid Software web site:

Registering your copy of Emailchemy

Once you've purchased an Emailchemy license, you will be sent a registration key and instructions on how to download the full version of Emailchemy. You will need to install the full version of Emailchemy and enter the registration key into the "Register Emailchemy" dialog. Look for "Register Emailchemy" in Emailchemy's "Help" menu. IMPORTANT: Keep this key in a safe place! You may need to re-enter it after upgrading to subsequent releases of the product.

Thank you for trying Emailchemy!