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Exporting and Importing Mailbox Content in Outlook on Windows

About Importing and Exporting
You can export your email and mail folders, calendar and appointments, tasks, notes and additional content from Outlook as a .pst file and import everything in one go onto a different computer or into another mail profile. The .pst file can be saved to other media just like any other file, however it can only be opened within Outlook; other programs will not be able to open a .pst file. IMPORTANT:
  • If the .pst contains any sensitive or confidential information (i.e. in your messages, attachments, etc.), it must be adequately protected as per data storage and encryption related requirements.
  • It is not recommended to store and regularly connect to a .pst on a network drive, see our FAQ and Microsoft's support article for details.

This tutorial covers exporting and importing an entire Mailbox using Outlook versions 2016 or 2013, with notes on any different steps needed if still using Outlook 2010.
A Mailbox typically includes your Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted and other mail folders, Calendar, or other items that are listed as sub folders of the main Mailbox as it appears in the left Navigation pane in Outlook.

If you are exporting and importing because you are leaving CUMC, also be sure to Remove Your Account from Outlook when it expires to avoid getting errors when Outlook tries to connect.

Exporting Mailbox content to a .pst file
  1. To reach Outlook's Import and Export wizard:
    • Outlook 2016 and 2013: with Outlook open, select the FILE tab in the upper left, then the Open & Export link in the left, then Import/Export.
    Outlook File tabOutlook Export links
    • Outlook 2010: select the File tab in the upper left, then the Options link; in the Options window select Advanced from the left column.
    Outlook File tabOutlook Options link

  2. In the Import and Export Wizard dialog box, select Export to a file, then select Next.
  3. Export file window
  4. In the Export to a File dialog box, select Outlook Data File (.pst), then Next.
  5. Export to PST file
  6. In the Export Outlook Data File dialog box, select the desired heading (usually your full email address or name) then select Include sub folders to include all folders for the account. Select the Next button.
    NOTE: you may have to use a scroll bar on the right to find your main Mailbox.
  7. Select Export Items window
  8. At the top of the Export Outlook Data File window, in the Save exported file as field, Outlook names the file "backup.pst" by default and displays the path for saving the file in your computer's Documents folder in a sub folder called Outlook Files. Select Finish to accept these default settings.
    Note: Select Browse and to save to a different location on your computer if you prefer, or to rename your .pst file.
  9. Save Exported File window
  10. A Create Outlook Data File window will appear.
    Create Outlook Data File window
    In both fields type in a password that will be required when the Personal Folders File is opened. IMPORTANT: If you forget the password there is no way to retrieve it or otherwise open the .pst you are creating; be sure to keep track of any password used here. Select OK to continue.
  11. Your computer will pause as the .pst file is created; if you have a lot of items to back up you may see a window that shows the status of each item as it is backed up. No notice will appear to indicate that the back up is done, simply verify that the "backup.pst" file appears in your Documents\Outlook Files folder when Outlook has finished (if you have changed the location and/or name in step 6 above, look for the appropriate file name/location).

Adding and Importing Mailbox content from .pst file

NOTE: Importing a .pst file allows you to merge items into one Mailbox/list of folders. If you would simply like to open the .pst file and be able to view email messages, calendar items, etc. from within Outlook as a separate list of folders, use the instructions immediately below. Otherwise see steps to import (merge) items into your existing account folders.
  1. Outlook 2016 or 2013: select the File tab in the upper left corner of Outlook, then the Open & Export link and the option to Open Outlook Data File.

    Outlook 2010 only: select File - Account Settings then Account Settings from the drop down.
    In the Account Settings window that appears, select the Data Files tab, then the Add button.
  2. Outlook 2010 Account SettingsAdd Outlook 2010 Data File
    Outlook 2010 steps to add a data file

  3. In the window that appears browse to the file you would like to open, select it and click Open (or OK).
    Outlook 2010: after clicking OK, the data file will be listed in your Account Settings window. Click the Close button in the lower right corner of the Account Settings window to return to Outlook.
  4. Open Outlook Data File window
  5. The data file items will appear in the left navigation pane in Outlook. You may need to click on the arrow to the left of the file heading to see subfolders.
  6. Opened Outlook File
Steps to Import (merge items) from a .pst:
  1. With Outlook open select the File tab in the upper left, then the Open & Export link and Import/Export.
    Outlook 2010: select File in the upper left, then Open - Import
  2. In the Import and Export Wizard select Import from another program or file, then Next.
  3. Import selections
  4. In the next window select Outlook Data File (.pst), then Next. You may need to use the scroll bar on the right to find this option.
    Import a PST File
  5. If Outlook finds a .pst file in a default location it will appear under the File to import field.
    To select another file click Browse to locate the .pst file on your computer (see the top of this page for an important warning regarding network drives and .pst files) that you would like to open. Select Next to continue.
    NOTE: The three options in this window allow you to change what will happen with any duplicate items (email messages, calendar appointments, tasks, etc.) that may exist if you are importing into an existing list of folders. If you are not sure about duplicates, select the second option, Allow duplicates to be created, to be safe.
  6. Select File to Import
  7. At the next window click on the main folder you would like to import to highlight it. If there is an arrow to its left you can click on it to expand and view any subfolders; check the option to Include subfolders if you wish to import everything under the main folder.
    Select folder to import from prompt
    Make sure the option to Import items into the same folder in: your email address (or your name) is selected at the bottom of the window to merge email messages, tasks, etc. into the same folders of your current Outlook profile. Select Finish.
  8. Outlook imports the email, appointments, tasks, etc. into your current profile.

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Last updated 8/16/2018