Gmail Adds Email Import option for third-party email providers

Martin Brinkmann
May 15, 2009
Updated • Jul 9, 2017
Email, Gmail

One of the things that many users like about Google's email service Gmail is that Google improves the service constantly by adding new functionality to it.

Users get to test tools published to Gmail Labs all the time, and new features are added regularly.

One of those new features is the ability to import emails from other popular email providers such as Yahoo Mail, Windows Live or AOL but also any email account that supports POP3.

There have been workarounds to accomplish that like the one offered by the excellent gExodus email importer for the Windows operating system. It allowed you to import mailboxes into Gmail so that you could access the emails on Google's platform.

Importing in this context means that any email or contact of the selected email account becomes available under the Gmail account. It has no impact on future emails or contacts (other than a single option to continue importing emails for the next 30 day period).

Gmail: Import email accounts

The new email import feature is not yet available for all Gmail accounts but will be added to all of them over time. New Gmail accounts on the other hand do have the email import feature enabled already.

Interested Gmail users find the email import option in the Gmail account settings which you can open if you click on this link. If you prefer the manual route, open Gmail, sign in to your account, click on the preferences icon at the top right, and select settings from the context menu that opens up.

Locate the Accounts and Imports link on the page and click on it. It lists many different settings that you can change, and among them the option to import mail and contacts from other providers.

The page lists Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and AOL specifically as well as providers supporting POP3 connections, and other webmail providers (without mentioning any names).

When you click on the import mail and contacts link there, a new window opens up that walks you through the process. You are asked to enter the email address you want to import mails from in the first step, and then your account password as it is the only way to import messages and contacts after all.

Options are displayed to define what is being imported and what not. You can import contacts, mail, new mail that arrives in the next 30 days, and also add a label to emails flagged as important. You don't have to keep all options enabled. If you just want to import contacts for instance, you can do so right there.


Being able to import emails to Gmail is another feature of Gmail that is poised to become popular as soon as it is activated for all Gmail accounts.


It is quite handy if you want to migrate an email account to Google's mail service, or have access to all of your emails regardless of account on a single website.

Imported emails are displayed under inbox on the left side of the main Gmail interface. Folders that you may have used previously are automatically turned into labels during the migration so that you can access them as well just like before.

Gmail Adds Email Import option for third-party email providers
Article Name
Gmail Adds Email Import option for third-party email providers
You can use the Gmail account import feature to migrate email accounts and contacts from other email providers to Google Mail.
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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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