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How to Export Outlook Emails to mbox With a Simple Drag and Drop on macOS in

A Step-by-Step Guide for Legacy and New Outlook Versions.

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By Alex
Legacy Outlook drag and drop feature

The saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," holds true in the realm of email management. While the 2023 version of Outlook for macOS brought a myriad of new features, it also took away a brilliantly useful one: the ability to create an mbox file of your inbox with a simple drag and drop.

What is mbox.

mbox is a file format for storing email messages. It was originally developed for Unix-based systems but has since been adopted across various email platforms. It's universally accepted, making it an excellent choice for backing up, transferring, or archiving emails.

Armed with an mbox file, folks struggling to keep up with their limited inbox storage quota can use GoodByEmail to dicover what is really eating up all that space, so they can quickly re-gain control of their mailbox.

The Good Old Drag-and-Drop

Legacy versions of Outlook offered a simple, user-friendly feature: the ability to drag and drop emails to create an mbox file. Users could easily select a range of emails, drag them to a folder, and create an mbox file. It was straightforward, elegant, and effective for email management.

Legacy Outlook drag and drop feature

Troubleshooting: If you can't drag and drop your inbox, it may be because Outlook hasn't finished downloading all your emails. This process can take a while, especially if it's your first time. Ensure your computer remains on to complete the download. Once done, the drag and drop feature should work. Note that the drag and drop export is only supported for Microsoft accounts.

Why Did Microsoft Remove It.

Though Microsoft has not explicitly stated why the drag-and-drop feature was removed, it's believed that the push towards new backup and cloud-based solutions rendered this classic feature obsolete. The new versions offer more intricate methods for email backup and transfer, but they often require users to go through a maze of settings and options.

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How to switch back to Legacy Outlook

Thankfully, Microsoft offers a toggle feature allowing users to switch back to the legacy interface. By doing this, users can revisit the old drag-and-drop mbox feature. At any time, you can switch back by launching Outlook, then click on the Help menu and select Revert to Legacy Outlook.

Legacy Outlook drag and drop feature

Note that if you have not used Legacy Outlook before, you need to add your email account and give it time to download and synchronize your emails, before you can export the to mbox. You can do so via the menu bar, click Outlook > Settings > Accounts > + Add New Account.

After it has completed downloading your emails, you can proceed exporting your mbox locally to your Mac, and finally you can use the switch to toggle back to the new Outlook Experience.

Legacy Outlook drag and drop feature


As we navigate through technological advancements, there's beauty in simplicity. Legacy Outlook’s drag-and-drop mbox export feature is a prime example. It reminds us that sometimes the simplest features can be the most powerful. Thanks to the toggle feature, users can experience the best of both worlds—new and legacy.

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