In order to use OfflineIMAP, you need to have these conditions satisfied:

  1. Your mail server must support IMAP. Mail access via POP is not supported. A special Gmail mailbox type is available to interface with Gmail’s IMAP front-end, although Gmail has a very peculiar and non-standard implementation of its IMAP interface.
  2. You must have Python version 2.6 or above installed. If you are running on Debian GNU/Linux, this requirement will automatically be taken care of for you. If you intend to use the SSL interface, your Python must have been built with SSL support.
  3. If you use OfflineImap as an IMAP<->Maildir synchronizer, you will obviously need to have a mail reader that supports the Maildir mailbox format. Most modern mail readers have this support built-in, so you can choose from a wide variety of mail servers. This format is also known as the “qmail” format, so any mail reader compatible with it will work with OfflineIMAP.


Installing OfflineImap should usually be quite easy, as you can simply unpack and run OfflineImap in place if you wish to do so. There are a number of options though:

  1. system-wide installation via your distribution package manager
  2. system-wide or single user installation from the source package
  3. system-wide or single user installation from a git checkout

Having installed OfflineImap, you will need to configure it, to be actually useful. Please check the Configuration section in the OfflineIMAP Manual for more information on the configuration step.

System-Wide Installation via distribution

The easiest way to install OfflineIMAP is via your distribution’s package manager. OfflineImap is available under the name offlineimap in most Linux and BSD distributions.

Installation from source package

Download the latest source archive from our download page. Simply click the “Download as .zip” or “Download as .tar.gz” buttons to get the latest “stable” code from the master branch. If you prefer command line, you will want to use:

Unpack and continue with the system-wide installation or the single-user installation section.

Installation from git checkout

Get your own copy of the official git repository at OfflineIMAP:

git clone git://

This will download the source with history. By default, git sets up the master branch up, which is most likely what you want. If not, you can checkout a particular release like this:

cd offlineimap
git checkout v6.5.2.1

You have now a source tree available and proceed with either the system-wide installation or the single-user installation.

System-wide installation

Then run these commands, to build the python package:

make clean

Finally, install the program (as root):

python install

Next, proceed to below. You tofflineimap to invoke the program.

Single-user installation

Download the git repository as described above. Instead of installing the program as root, you type ./; there is no installation step necessary.


If you installed a system-wide installation via “python install”, there are a few files to purge to cleanly uninstall OfflineImap again. Assuming that /usr/local is the standard prefix of your system and that you use python 2.7, you need to:

  1. Delete the OfflineImap installation itself:

In case, you did the single-user installation, simply delete your offlineimap directory.
  1. Delete all files that OfflineImap creates during its operation. - The cache at (default location) ~/.offlineimap - Your manually created (default loc) ~/.offlineimaprc (It is possible that you created those in different spots)

That’s it. Have fun without OfflineImap.