How to create and use personal data folders in Outlook 2019 / 365 / 2016?


Last updated: October 2019

Applicable to: Office 365, 2016, 2013, 2019; Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Here’s a question from Johny:

Greetings Easytweaks team! A co-worker told me that he is using pst files in order to keep backups of his email box, calendar, journals and contact people. Could you elaborate more about how to insert Outlook data files and using them for daily archiving of my mailbox? I love MAC OSX Sierra and wish to use Outlook on the MAC, so i guess other question i have is whether i can use pst on MAC OSX. Many thanks!

Outlook personal folders are very useful as they allow us to create offline copiers of our mail, contacts and tasks for offline access, data backup or transfer to a different computer.  Personal folders are represented in the Windows operating system by the .PST suffix.

In this guide we will learn how to create and open personal folders, as well as export your email to a PST file for backup.

We’ll first teach you how to create Outlook folders using the Open/Export wizard. This will allow you to package all existing email / contacts and calendars in one shot. For advanced users, we’ll describe how to create the pst files manually. Once you have defined the data file, you can go ahead and populate your personal folder with specific email, calendars and contacts to it.  Keep reading for the details.



Export your mailbox into a  PST file

  1. Go to File, hit Open & Export and select Import/Export.

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  1. In the opened dialog box click Export to a file and click Next.

2015-08-16 13_08_39-Import and Export Wizard

  1. Select Outlook Data file (.pst) in Create a file of type option and click Next.

2015-08-16 13_09_49-Export to a File

  1. Now, select the mailbox you would like to export. If you are interested to export your calendar or contacts, select the relevant folder in the Export Outlook Data file screen.
  2. Select the location of your backup file and hit Finish.

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  1. Last – Enter a Password and Verify password for the backup file.

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  1. Also enter Password to open the backup file.

2015-08-16 13_29_47-Outlook Data File Password

Creating Outlook personal data files

  1. Open your Microsoft Outlook 2016 (or Office 365 and Outlook 2013), hit Home and select New item.
  2. In the drop box move the cursor to More items and select Outlook data file.

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  1. In the dialog box, enter the File name and Save it in your location.

2015-08-16 13_00_17-Create or Open Outlook Data File

  1. Note the location of the .PST file as you might want to later on copy it to an external backup device.
  2. Now, you’ll personal folder is created with Deleted Items and Search Folders sub folders.

2015-08-16 13_01_56-Personal data file - Outlook

  1. To add more sub folders, right click on the personal folder and click New folder.

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  1. Enter the name and press Enter key to create sub folders in your Personal folder.

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Finding PST files

Couple of readers asked us about looking up for those .pst file after creating them.  The easiest  way to find your files is simply by searching  for files named *.pst in your Windows Search.

Adding specific email items to your Personal data folders

  1. Open your Server mailbox and right click on the mailbox that has to be moved to your personal folder.
  2. Hit Move and select the folder to be moved to.

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  1. The selected email folder or items will be moved.

Does MAC OSX use pst files?

Microsoft Outlook for MAC doesn’t use Outlook Data Folders. That said, it’s definitely possible to import pst files created on your Windows computer to Outlook for MAC.

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