Python to Store Emails in CSV with Full Source Code For Beginners

  • This project contains a simple script to extract email messages from an IMAP server.
  • The messages are written to a simple four-column CSV file.


  • This depends on the BeautifulSoup library and lxml for extracting text from HTML messages.


  • beautifulsoup4
  • lxml

Running the script:

  • You will need to have a file credentials.txt with your IMAP server account name and password on separate lines.
  • Gmail – and many other IMAP providers – requires you to create a separate “application password” to allow this code to run, so probably do that first. Then put that password in credentials.txt.
  • Then simply run
Code language: CSS (css)

This generates mails.csv in the current directory.

The generated CSV file contains the following fields for each message:

  • Date
  • From (Sender)
  • Subject
  • Message text

Development ideas:

  • This hardcodes the IMAP server for and the "INBOX" folder. Perhaps this should be configured outside of the code for easier customization.
  • This brutally marks all messages as read. Perhaps make it PEEK so as to not change the message flags.
  • This will read everything in the INBOX folder. It could be useful to make it remember which messages it has already seen, and update a CSV file only with information from messages which have arrived since the previous poll.
  • It might be useful to be able to specify which messages to fetch, instead of have it fetch everything every time.
  • The exception handling is not a good example of how to do this properly.



Run the Script:

python <csv/text_file> <split/line_number>Code language: HTML, XML (xml)

Source Code:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import csv
import email
from email import policy
import imaplib
import logging
import os
import ssl

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

credential_path = "credentials.txt"
csv_path = "mails.csv"

logger = logging.getLogger('imap_poller')

host = ""
port = 993
ssl_context = ssl.create_default_context()

def connect_to_mailbox():
    # get mail connection
    mail = imaplib.IMAP4_SSL(host, port, ssl_context=ssl_context)

    with open(credential_path, "rt") as fr:
        user = fr.readline().strip()
        pw = fr.readline().strip()
        mail.login(user, pw)

    # get mail box response and select a mail box
    status, messages ="INBOX")
    return mail, messages

# get plain text out of html mails
def get_text(email_body):
    soup = BeautifulSoup(email_body, "lxml")
    return soup.get_text(separator="\n", strip=True)

def write_to_csv(mail, writer, N, total_no_of_mails):

    for i in range(total_no_of_mails, total_no_of_mails - N, -1):
        res, data = mail.fetch(str(i), "(RFC822)")

        response = data[0]
        if isinstance(response, tuple):
            msg = email.message_from_bytes(response[1], policy=policy.default)

            # get header data
            email_subject = msg["subject"]
            email_from = msg["from"]
            email_date = msg["date"]
            email_text = ""

            # if the email message is multipart
            if msg.is_multipart():
                # iterate over email parts
                for part in msg.walk():
                    # extract content type of email
                    content_type = part.get_content_type()
                    content_disposition = str(part.get("Content-Disposition"))
                        # get the email email_body
                        email_body = part.get_payload(decode=True)
                        if email_body:
                            email_text = get_text(email_body.decode('utf-8'))
                    except Exception as exc:
                        logger.warning('Caught exception: %r', exc)
                    if (
                        content_type == "text/plain"
                        and "attachment" not in content_disposition
                        # print text/plain emails and skip attachments
                        # print(email_text)
                    elif "attachment" in content_disposition:

                # extract content type of email
                content_type = msg.get_content_type()
                # get the email email_body
                email_body = msg.get_payload(decode=True)
                if email_body:
                    email_text = get_text(email_body.decode('utf-8'))

            if email_text is not None:
                # Write data in the csv file
                row = [email_date, email_from, email_subject, email_text]
                logger.warning('%s:%i: No message extracted', "INBOX", i)

def main():
    mail, messages = connect_to_mailbox()


    total_no_of_mails = int(messages[0])
    # no. of latest mails to fetch
    # set it equal to total_no_of_emails to fetch all mail in the inbox
    N = 2

    with open(csv_path, "wt", encoding="utf-8", newline="") as fw:
        writer = csv.writer(fw)
        writer.writerow(["Date", "From", "Subject", "Text mail"])
            write_to_csv(mail, writer, N, total_no_of_mails)
        except Exception as exc:
            logger.warning('Caught exception: %r', exc)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()Code language: PHP (php)

Leave a Comment