How to Backup and Export All Outlook Emails
Most modern businesses rely on emails for communication. Losing access to emails, or worse entire email accounts, could be devastating. Backing up your Outlook emails is one of the best ways to get some peace of mind knowing that the emails are stored on multiple locations on your device and can’t get lost easily.
In this article, we’ll explain how to backup Outlook emails in a few different ways.
How to Backup and Export All Outlook Emails
One of the quickest ways of backing up all of your Outlook emails is to use its integrated .pst file format. Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange exclusively use PST files to store emails, contact information and addresses, and calendar events. A static PST file can be used as a backup for your current Outlook emails and contact information, and Outlook will be able to access it even while offline.
Here’s how to backup your emails onto a .pst file:
- Open Outlook and press on File at the top.
- In the menu, select Open & Export.
- Click on the Import/Export button.
- The system will return to your main Outlook screen and pop up the Import/Export Wizard to guide you through the export process.
- In the Wizard, select the Export to a file option from the list, then click Next.
- Choose Outlook Data file (.pst) when prompted to select a file type, then click Next.
- You’ll then be prompted to select the folders to export. You can select your email account to export all the folders associated with it, including contacts and calendar data. Click Next when you’re happy with your selection.
- Select the address path the backup file is saved in. Remember the path so you can access it later.
- It’s a good idea to change the name of the file (the last part of the path). By default, it’s backup.pst.
- If you’re saving the backup file in the default path, select whether you want duplicate items.
- (Optional) You can go back to any of the previous dialogues, perhaps to change the folder selection, by using the Back button.
- Press Finish to start the exporting process.
- Outlook will prompt you to create a password. This can be important for security reasons, but you don’t have to enter a password.
- You can find the extracted file in the location you specified for the file path. You can now move or copy the file elsewhere.
How to Access Exported Outlook Emails
Once you’ve exported the files, you might be wondering how to access them later. Outlook makes it easy to open backups and restore your emails to the saved time point. Here’s what you need to do:
- Find the backup file. Note its location and file path.
- Open Outlook.
- Press on File, then click on Open & Export.
- In the menu on the right, select Open Outlook Data File.
- This opens the File Explorer. Go to the backup file. Click on it, then select Open.
- The system will return you to the main Outlook screen.
- On the navigation menu on the left, scroll down until you see Outlook Data File. This category contains the items retrieved from the backup file.
- The category preserves the original formatting and folder systems.
- You can drag-and-drop emails to move them to other files.
Now you have access to your backed up emails.
How to Quickly Save a Single Outlook Email
Sometimes, you don’t want the hassle of saving all emails and opening Outlook all over again when you only need one or a few specific emails. Fortunately, there are a few quick solutions to save a single email from Outlook.
Method 1 – Directly Save to a Folder
- Open Outlook.
- Open File Explorer and navigate to where you want to save the email. You might need to put both Outlook and File Explorer in windowed mode and move them around for easier access.
- Drag the email you want to save from Outlook to the folder.
- Outlook will automatically store the email in an “Outlook Item” format.
- Double-click the saved email to open it in Outlook.
Method 2 – Save as TXT or HTML
- Open the email you want to save in Outlook.
- Select File, then select Save As.
- The File Explorer will pop up. Select the path where you want to store the email. At the bottom of the File Explorer, click on the arrow next to Save as type. Select either Text Only to save in a .txt format or HTML to save the email as a .html file.
- Once saved, the email can be accessed with your text editor (such as Notepad) if it’s in .txt, or your browser if it’s saved as .html.
Saving the email this way doesn’t preserve any attachments, so be sure to download them, rename them as necessary, and save them alongside the email for later access.
Method 3 – Use Screen Capture to Save an Image
You can also use screen capture software to save the contents of the email as an image. This method can be useful to reference the email’s contents in other communication forms, as images are easily pinned to emails and other messages.
- If you’re using Windows, newer versions come with pre-installed screen capture software, named Snipping Tool (on older devices) and Snip & Sketch. Alternatively, you can use the Print Screen button on your keyboard, then paste the image in Paint.
- For Mac devices, the process is similar. Use the Ctrl + Command + 4 shortcut to open the integrated screen capture feature, then drag the selection crosshair to cover an area over the email to save it.
- For Linux, you can find an assortment of screen capture software available for download, which can be used to save the email as an image. Alternatively, GNOME-based models have an integrated Screenshot utility in the Applications > Accessories menu. Some Linux OS versions will respond to the Print Screen button on your keyboard, much like in Windows systems.
How to Save Multiple Outlook Emails to Your Computer
If you want to save more than one email at a time, but don’t need your entire email library, there is a way to select a few emails to save at once. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open Outlook.
- Select the emails you want to save. Hold Ctrl and click on mails to select them one at a time or hold Shift to select a batch of emails between the first and second click.
- Go to File > Save As.
- In the dialog box, go to the folder you want to save the emails in, name the file as you want, and choose Text Only as the format to save in.
- Outlook will save all the emails selected in a single .txt file. You can use your text editor to access them.
If you want to save them in separate .txt files, you’ll need to save each email separately. Additional Outlook plugins available online can extend this feature to save emails in separate .txt or alternate file formats.
How Do I Export All Email Addresses in Outlook?
If you want to export your contacts list (which contains the email addresses of your contacts as well as other information), you can use steps similar to how you’d export the emails. However, contact information can be stored in a different file format that is more user-friendly and can be opened in Excel for quick manipulation and editing. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Open Outlook.
2. Choose File > Open & Export > Import/Export.
3. In the Import/Export Wizard, choose Export to a file.
4. Choose Comma separated values (.csv) when prompted to select a file type.
5. In the folder selection menu, select the Contacts folder under your account.
6. Confirm the file path, or change it as needed, name the file as desired and click Next.
7. Press Finish to start the export process.
8. The Import/Export dialogue will close when the process is complete.
The exported .csv file can be opened in Excel. It will display a large table with contact information. You’ll probably have a lot of empty cells, and this is completely normal. You can use Excel to edit the data, although putting in additional content might make it unreadable for Outlook should you need to import the file later.
You can use this file on another device or email service to import contact information.
A New Look on Outlook
With Outlook’s integrated export feature, you can backup and restore emails in case you lose access to your email account, whether due to a lost password or being hacked. With online communication being so prevalent, taking a few minutes of your time to backup emails regularly can save you the headache of scrambling over lost files.
How often do you export Outlook emails? Let us know in the comments section below.