Evolution Mail - Can I create nested Local Folders?

I am looking for a client to move to from Mac Mail. Evolution looked the best in my research, but there’s one feature I must have and I am not sure if it has it. Local Mail FOLDERS.

I spent hours online and all I can find is topics/pages about local mail “accounts”. this is not the same thing, I don’t even know what a local mail account is.

I have 20 years worth of email, organised into a large number of nested LOCAL (“On My Mac”) folders. I don’t fancy paying to store 20 yrs of email on a mailserver when I only keep them for the unlikely event of needing to refer back to them for legal reasons.

Local folders have always been possible in professional email packages like Outlook, Mac Mail, and even Thunderbird. Is it possible in Evolution?

I have asked around and the closest I can get to it (from users of Evolution) is to do a ‘hack’ by adding a ‘local account’, which creates a set of default folders I neither want, nor need, and then use those for local folders. I don’t want a hack, I want an actual feature to store email locally, on the machine, rather than on the server.

Can Evolution do this? If not, is there any particular reason? If yes, pray tell! Thanks

Hi. Yes, Evolution supports nested local folders.

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Local folders are under “On This Computer”. Right click and select New
Folder. It will ask you where to put it. You can nest it under another
folder if you want.


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Thank you. I have asked quite a few people and the only suggestion was to hack it by creating a “local account” which isn’t what I want to do.

If this is true, that’s a GREAT step forward thanks!

PS - While I am here, are there any reliable ways to get Mac Mail data (50GB!) into Evolution smoothly and with nested local folders intact in their original structure?

Please do create a “local account”. There is no reason not to do that at all.

“Mac Mail data”: What data format is that? In theory, see the options under “Account Management > Local Account Types” in the local Evolution user help. Depending on the actual mail file format, most of the local account types allow defining a random path/directory on your machine to read and display in Evolution under “On This Computer”.

This is getting quite infuriating.

Here’s a reason - I HAVE NO NEED NOR DESIRE! I don’t have any “local accounts”. So why would I do that?

(If you reply with “because that’s the only way to get local folders to show up”, which is my suspicion, then that confirms my OP was correct in saying the only way to get local folders in Evolution is with this backdoor ‘hack’, setting up a fake ‘local account’ in order to produce local folders (none of which I need, others of which I need many!).

Let me simplify this. I am not creating a local account. Can I have sub-nested local folders to store my mail in to reduce size of Imap folders?

That’s very odd. The procedure seemed completely obvious to me when I
looked (I don’t even use local folders).


This is getting quite infuriating.

Here’s a reason - I HAVE NO NEED NOR DESIRE! I don’t have any “local
accounts”. So why would I do that?

(If you reply with “because that’s the only way to get local folders
to show up”, which is my suspicion, then that confirms my OP was
correct in saying the only way to get local folders in Evolution is
with this backdoor ‘hack’, setting up a fake ‘local account’ in order
to produce local folders (none of which I need, others of which I
need many!).

It’s not a hack. Don’t obsess with the terminology. Anything you
download via POP from one of your accounts is by definition local.
That’s all it means.

Let me simplify this. I am not creating a local account. Can I have
sub-nested local folders to store my mail in to reduce size of Imap

Already asked and answered. Yes you can. Why don’t you just try it?

If you want to keep IMAP content locally, then you can also do that,
but your original question said nothing about that.


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Think of “local account” as a metaphor for “a place where your local emails are” if that makes you happier? :slight_smile: A “local account” does not require any interaction with an email server (I guess I should have made that clearer, sorry.)

I use evolution with a mail provider (my university) that no longer
provides POP email. So I just create local folders under “On this
computer” and use the evolution “move” command (I edit the menu bar
to put a button there, but that is just for convenience) to move
mails from the server inbox to the local folder. Then they get
automatically deleted at the server. (I have to clear the junk
every once in a while manually, but that also no big deal.)
All the best,
George Reeke

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I beg to differ, and kindly don’t assume I am ‘obsessing’ with anything, other than explaining the question so people understand what I mean.
Yes, it is a hack. I.e. to use something not in accordance with it’s original intention or purpose, for another purpose. I have seen the screen where you create “local accounts”, and from what i have so far been told by users who looked into it for me, the only way they could see to be able to create “local folders” (i.e. ‘on my computer’ folders rather than synced imap folders (I don’t use POP)) is to use the “Create Local Account” function, inside of which are fields to fill out ACCOUNT DATA (like server connections etc).

I have no such accounts. I just want local folders, and it SEEMs like the only way is to ‘use’ that local account creation process to make a bunch of folders appear (inbox, drafts, sent, trash, etc). IF that is the only way, I don’t wish to proceed with Evolution. If that is NOT the only way, I do wish to proceed with Evolution.

The greatest frustration has been getting anyone to understand what I mean by “local folders”, because it’s clearly gone out of fashion and many people (yourself included) don’t use them any more.

It is playing semantics to say ‘all folders are local’, for the purpose of this conversation. of course if you download an email, it becomes local once downloaded, but that’s very counter-productive to discuss.

Look at outlook from a decade or two ago (and probably today but I wouldn’t know). In the sidebar you had “Local folders” or “On My Computer”. You have the same in MacMail. The explicit purpose of which is to ONLY be able to put mail in there yourself, they don’t “sync” to any server anyway, they’re just a dumping ground. We all understand this I think.

After many years my mac Mail Local Folders are a myriad of data carefully organised by topic and chronology. It’s a neat system which costs me no network hosting fees as they are just storage for me to refer to on one machine, which is backed up routinely of course.

I am trying to see if I can replicate my way of working from Mac Mail to Evolution. If not it will have to be Thunderbird as i KNOW that can do it, but I really don’t want to use TB unless i have no alternative.

I’d also mention that in my discussions with Evolution users on other forums/sites, I have heard things like “No I don’t think Evolution can do that as they want you to use the IMAP folders (or pop)”. Of course I am not saying that’s the case, but once I have heard it from seemingly experienced users, I am obviously dubious to start with. Moreover, when that same user tried to get local folderrs working and had to use the “Local Account:” option to make any folders appear “on my computer”, that fed into my doubts further. (Admittedly perhaps wrongly).

Finally, to hear Andre bring up the subject of “Local Accounts” in this conversation, when I have never once mentioned having any such thing, that suggested what I heard was correct in that you had to ‘use’ (hack) the Local Accounts feature to GET any local folders to exist.

That’s why i had my doubts. If I am being told that I can get local folders, many of them, nested and sub nested, without any use of the “Local accounts” feature, I am all in :slight_smile:

Just still not 100% certain of that yet, but willing to be convinced!

PS I’d just add, i am not being ‘funny’ about it, IF local accounts is needed to get local folders. There’s some method in my madness to not wishing to proceed, namely…

IF Evolution doesn’t really offer this feature as a straight forward, out in the open, deliberate and specific function (creation of local folders with a click), then that suggests its userbase doesn’t really have any use for local folders in the way I DO, in which case even if I did manage to ‘hack’ my way to getting the desired folder structure, there’s a reasonable likelihood it will disappear/become deprecated in the future since clearly there isn’t a great need for it with current userbase.

That’s why I am treating Thunderbird as a fallback because, like Mac Mail and Outlook, it’s an explicit feature, clearly referenced in their user manuals, and used by quite a few people (even today when everyone has they data (and heads in many cases) ‘in the clouds’ :smiley:

Now we’re talkin’!!
That’s exactly what I mean, I was hoping someone out there would read this and know what I meant because they actually DO it! I know most don’t do this any more as most people have plenty of IMAP server space or icloud or nextcloud or whatever else. I have a tiny $1 a month email packagedd which is enough… IFFF… I keep those folders fairly lightweight as you explained there.

I have 50GB of email data in my local folders, and under 2Gb total in all IMAP folders :slight_smile:

So have you tried?

I start adding an account, enter a random example email address, and set “Receiving Email” I set “Server Type” to “None”, and on “Sending Email” I set “Server Type” to “None”. So you create a “local account” (which seems to be a big issue for reasons I do not understand).

And not sure how many more times I am supposed to write that Yes, Evolution can do this? Feel free to call it a hack, but Yes, Evolution can do this.

Do I remember wrong or doesn’t Evolution have a “On this computer” by default when you first time launch it?

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It does, and as far as I can see it’s exactly the same as Thunderbird’s
“Local Folders” except that a) it has a different name, and b) it’s
pre-populated with some standard folders which cannot be removed, but
which can be added to with any nested structure the user wants.

For Evolution, every folder is in an “account”, whether local or
remote. If you want to access your local mail from within Evolution, it
must be part of an “account” (except in the special case of importing
it from elsewhere, usually a one-time thing).


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So, that was incorrect, wasn’t it. As others (and now you too) have said: If I don’t set up a “local account”, I don’t get the ability add my own nested ‘local folders’, in fact I probably don’t get any local folders at all.

It appears we finally got there, shame it took so long and its not like I wasn’t explicit enough with my opening post/question:

The short answer could (and i’d argue should) have been :

“You’re correct. Unlike Thunderbird, Outlook, Apple Mail etc, you can’t just create local folders after installation, you MUST create a Local Account first, faking data in the fields as necessary to fool Evolution into thinking you are creating an actual account (in this case a ‘local’ one). This will then provide a list of default folders you don’t want, and can’t remove. You can nest your data amongst those.”

That is exactly what I suspected, had been advised, and wanted confirmed when I started the thread. Thankfully it finally has been confirmed.

I have no desire to look at a set of folders I don’t want but am forced to have if I want to store my emails in subnested local folders. Call me anal, call me fussy about wanting to have just the folders I want and none that are foisted on me by the ‘hack’ of pretending to create a local mail account, that’s fine, I confess.

But I could have learned this far quicker if people stopped beating around the bush (which means avoiding the truthful answer, or not knowing the true answer themselves) and just said NO, you can NOT have local folders like Outlook, Thunderbird etc, you have to fit them into a bunch of other misleading and defunct inbox,sent,drafts etc folders, which are clearly only there because i AM creating a fake ‘account’, one I don’t want. So when I have asked if I can have local folders WITHOUT creating a ‘local account’, everyone who said yes, was wrong. (And now you know why I kept asking/digging, as I wasn’t sure that was correct.

Thanks for your time, wish I could get mine back to be honest. My advisor referred to in my OP was bang on from the start, much as I suspected but the constant pushback and my stupidly open mind kept me wondering if he was actually wrong about “local account” being the only way to achieve what most professional mail packages just offer straight up, local damn folders to store local damn mail in, NO accounts needed, no pretend accounts needed!

Now that I know the drawbacks of Evolution, I will give Thunderbird a shot first (which doesn’t look as good/nice as Evolution but since local folder organization is my biggest use for a mail package, it makes sense to go with one that provides that as a native function without any hoops/hacks/whatever else you want to call the above convoluted process.)

Glad you found the answer. See https://conduct.gnome.org/ about “people beating around the bush” and other assumptions about the intentions of people trying to understand what other people are [not] asking for - thanks.

The reason some of us couldn’t understand what you were asking is that
you kept talking about “creating” a local folder, which (again) you do
not have to do because it already exists by default.

Anyway, let’s leave it at that.


Whilst some confusion was clearly present, I don’t believe that was the main problem, and I did my best to clarify repeatedly. Admittedly, maybe my ‘best’ wasn’t good enough given the fact people obviously don’t use local folders like I do as much any more, at least not in the Evolution community, it’s design appears to confirm this.

My very opening post stated I did not want to ‘use’ (I am avoiding the word originally used ‘hack’ for your sake) the “local account” creation process but wanted local mail folders to store mail in. Ok, maybe some still missed what I was after.

A subsequent post stated:

[quote=“poc, post:8, topic:19623”]
Let me simplify this. I am not creating a local account. Can I have
sub-nested local folders[/quote]

to which you replied:

A read of this thread and answers from Andre strongly suggest you were wrong in that answer (twice according to you), you apparently DO need to ‘use’ the local account creation process (and it’s shortcomings such as creating superfluous folders, in which I must organize my folders).

Sure, agreed.

Is this another one of those clicky clubs with lots of rules ostensibly to protect ‘everyone’s’ feelings, but only invoked in hand-picked instances where someone disagrees with the powers that be or their friends?

Before you answer, maybe you could consider why nobody ‘spotted’ the assumption of intent or risk of offence of a post in which I was accused of “obsessing” over terminology? To accuse someone of “obsessing” assumes knowledge of the person the accuser can’t possibly have via a discussion board, it also risks (and in this case succeeded in) causing offence, for all anyone knows, intentionally.

No link to community guidelines for that one, not that I believe there should have been (I can defend/express myself thank you, at least I thought I could) but since there was a reference to guidelines for my benign expression of what I feel HAS been going on here at least to some extent (“beating around the bush”), but not for the PRECEEDING instance of my being accussed of “obsessing”, it does seem a little like ‘Rules for thee, but not for me’. It’s all the rage these days though, so I’m neither too surprised, nor too bothered.

I’ll leave it there. Hope my defending myself didn’t offend anyone.

P.S. I did read the guidelines page you linked, cover to cover. Can’t see anything relevant to what I said. But I am sure someone will manage to make a square peg fit a round hole, necessity being the mother of invention and all that.

Thanks for your time.