Skip to main content

A tool for preserving email with multiple masters.

Project description


A tool for creating and managing Mailbags, a package for preserving email in multiple formats. It contains an open specification for mailbags, as well as the mailbagit and mailbagit-gui tools for packaging email exports into mailbags.

mailbagit can be used to convert native email formats, such as PST, MSG, EML, and MBOX into PDF, HTML, WARC, and other formats and combines them into stable packages for preservation.


pip install mailbagit
  • To install PST dependancies: pip install mailbagit[pst]
  • To install mailbagit-gui: pip install mailbagit[gui]

You can also run mailbagit using a Docker image.

Quick start


MSG files to PDF, EML, and WARC

mailbagit path/to/messages -i msg --derivatives eml pdf warc --mailbag_name my_mailbag

MBOX to PDF and plain text

mailbagit path/to/mbox_dir -i mbox -d txt pdf-chrome -m my_mailbag -r


mailbagit path/to/export.pst -i pst -d mbox eml pdf warc -m my_mailbag

EML to PDF and WARC in another directory

mailbagit path/to/messages -i eml -d pdf warc -m /path/to/my_mailbag

See the documentation for more details on:


The arguments listed below can be entered in the command line when using mailbagitor entered in mailbagit-gui fields

Mandatory Arguments

  • path:

A path to email to be packaged into a mailbag. This can be a single file or a directory containing a number of email exports.

  • -m --mailbag:

A new directory for the mailbag, such as /path/to/my_mailbag, or just my_mailbag to use the same location as the source email. Must be a valid directory or file name and must not already exist.

  • -i --input:

File format to use as input for a mailbag. Argument takes single input. e.g. -i imap or -i pst

  • -d --derivatives:

Specifies a single or list of derivative formats that mailbagit will create and package into the mailbag. Argument takes multiple inputs. e.g. -d eml pdf warc

Mailbagit Optional Arguments

  • -v --version

Reports the version number and exits.

  • -r --dry-run

Performs a test run that will not alter any files other than writing an error report. When this flag is used, mailbagit parses all the email it is provide and formats derivatives as much as it can without writing anything to disk. If there are any error or warnings, this will create an error report with an errors.csv listing all issues as well as a full stack trace in a .txt file.

  • -k --keep

Keeps the source files as-is and copies instead of moving them into a mailbag.

  • --css

Path to a CSS file to override the included CSS when creating PDF or HTML derivatives Argument takes single file path as input.

  • -c --compress

Compresses the mailbag as a ZIP, TAR, or TAR.GZ e.g. -c zip or -c tar.gz

  • -f, --companion_files

Allows for companion metadata files to be packaged alongside email export files. When this option is used, mailbagit will recursively include all the files in the directory provided into a mailbag.

Bagit-python arguments

Mailbagit also accepts most bagit-python arguments. Thus, you can provide arguments like --processes 2 or arguments to add metadata such as --source-organization University at Albany, SUNY

The only bag-python arguments that mailbagit does not support are -log, -quiet, -validate, -fast, and -completeness_only

If you would like to validate your mailbag, mailbagit comes with bagit-python installed. Thus, you can run: --validate /path/to/mailbag

Development setup

git clone
cd mailbagit
git switch develop
pip install -e .

Development with docker

Build and run image

docker pull ualbanyarchives/mailbagit:dev
docker run -it ualbanyarchives/mailbagit:dev




This project was made possible by funding from the University of Illinois's Email Archives: Building Capacity and Community Project.

We owe a lot to the hard work that goes towards developing and maintaining the libraries mailbagit uses to parse email formats and make bags. We'd like to thank these awesome projects, without which mailbagit wouldn't be possible:

We'd also like to thank the RATOM project whose documentation was super helpful in guiding us though some roadblocks.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

mailbagit-0.6.1.tar.gz (45.9 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Built Distribution

mailbagit-0.6.1-py3-none-any.whl (59.5 kB view hashes)

Uploaded py3

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page