Move from Desk

The Desk import tool allows you to import your entire ticket history (including customer profiles and knowledge base articles) from Desk into Help Scout. Your Desk data will remain untouched! Help Scout will only import a copy of each ticket and customer profile. 

In this article  

Things You Should Know

Here are a couple of key points to remember before flipping the switch on the import tool: 

You'll likely use the same support email address as you do in Desk. 
For example, messages sent to will be forwarded to Help Scout via a unique mailbox alias that looks something like this: 

Help Scout does not have a web portal. 
This is more of a transition for your customers, but be prepared to direct them to your dedicated support address. Since Help Scout is entirely email-based, you'll be providing top-notch email support going forward. You can always connect a custom contact form if another ticket channel is needed. 

There are some tiny differences between status options.
Here's how they line up post-import:

  • New tickets will be marked as Active in Help Scout
  • Open tickets will be marked as Active in Help Scout.
  • Pending tickets will be marked as Pending in Help Scout. 
  • Resolved tickets will be marked as Closed in Help Scout.
  • Closed tickets will be marked as Closed in Help Scout. 

Desk labels will be imported as tags in Help Scout. 
You'll see the same labels on the same tickets, of course. You can clean up or merge tags after the import if needed. 

Help Scout does not support custom ticket fields.
We're unable to transfer any of your custom ticket fields, unfortunately. 

Rules will not be imported. 
Desk Rules are very similar to Workflows in Help Scout. You might want to take note of some of your Rule conditions and actions so that you can replicate them in Help Scout. 

Note: The import process may take time to finish. You're looking at roughly one hour per 1,000 tickets, so large accounts can take a few days or more. However, your tickets are imported newest to oldest, so within a couple of hours you'll have the most recent data.

Pre-import Check List

Help Scout

  1. Create a new mailbox using your catch-all support email address.
  2. Set up your mailbox signature or change mailbox settings.
  3. Create new User accounts for your team.


  1. Disable ticket channels as you see fit. For example, turn off the Chat, Twitter, and Facebook integrations so that new requests are no longer funneled into your queues. 
  2. Sort through your Macros and Rule-based emails. Those bits of text will not be imported, so you might want to save them for later to use as Saved Replies in Help Scout. 


  1. Make sure you're able to log in to your email provider's control panel. You should know where your mail forwarding options are located, and how to create or change forwarding rules. For provider specific instructions, check out Get Your Email Into Help Scout.
  2. If you're using third-party integrations with Desk, such as Olark or Snap Engage, be prepared to change external integration settings after you've made the move to Help Scout. You can always install Help Scout integrations at a later time. 
  3. Make coffee. 

Starting the Import 


On the Desk side, you'll need a new API application. Head over to Admin > Settings > API My Applications. Click on the blue Add API Application button.


Name the application Help Scout and enter for all three URL fields. Click the blue Add button when you're finished.

Take note of your API and Secret keys in Desk. You'll also need an Access Token and Token Secret, which can be seen by clicking on the Your Access Token link. Copy everything to the clipboard, then hop back to the data import page in Help Scout to start the importer.


Drop in just the first half of your subdomain. If you log in to Desk using, your subdomain would just be mycompany. Paste in your API keys, select which mailbox you'd like to import to, then click on the blue Next Step button.

On the next screen, choose to import all of your tickets, or only tickets created after a specific date. If you already have User accounts created, make sure to select the appropriate matching User from the dropdown menu. You might want to tag imported tickets just so you know what's what. We'd also recommend importing attachments, so you have a complete record of each ticket.

Remember: if you're importing a bunch of tickets, the import process could be lengthy. Once you've started the import, you can close the page and get back to reddit work. We'll email you when it's all wrapped up!

Common Questions

When should I update my forwarding rule to send mail to Help Scout?
Before or after the import has finished will both work fine. You can change it before starting the import tool, and then work out of Help Scout going forward. You'll want to head to Settings > Channels > Email > Inbound Email to disable your mailbox in Desk.

If you wait to switch your forwarding rule to Help Scout until after the import has finished, you'll want to be sure to re-run your import to catch anything that came in since you started the original import.

How do I know which tickets were imported? 
Imported tickets contain a tiny bit of text that looks something like this:  Conversation imported from Desk ticket #723. You can also search by your Desk ticket # in the upper right search bar in Help Scout.

Can I import data from multiple Desk subdomains into one Help Scout account?

For Knowledge Base articles: you can - though you'll need to do it one at a time. Let's say you have 3 Desk knowledge bases with 3 different subdomains. From the Import Settings page in Help Scout, enter the first Desk site subdomain you want to map to a Help Scout Docs site (either select an existing site from the dropdown menu, or create a totally new site). After that import is complete, you'll need to run two additional imports for the remaining subdomains.

For tickets/conversations: The help desk side of our importer does not support importing multiple Desk domains into a single Help Scout account.

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