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How to Import Data to Outlook from a .PST

There are several reasons why you would need to import data to Outlook from a .pst file. This is done when restoring data from a backup .pst file, transferring data from one file or email account to another, or moving data between computers.

The following steps apply to Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and the Office 365 version.

Step 1. Launch Outlook and click the File button in the top left corner.

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Step 2. Select the Open & Export option.

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Step 3. In the Open window, click on Import/Export button.

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Step 4. In the Import and Export Wizard window, select the option to Import from another program or file and click the Next > button.

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Step 5. In the Import a File window, select the Outlook Data File (.pst) option and click the Next > button.

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Step 6. In the Import Outlook Data File window, click the Browse... button.

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Step 7. In the Open Outlook Data Files window, navigate to the location where your .pst file is stored, select the file and click the Open button.

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Step 8. In the Import Outlook Data File window, adjust the duplicate resolution options and click the Next > button. 

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Step 9. In the Import Outlook Data File window, you can select which specific folders to import or you can import the entire content of the .pst file by selecting its root folder (top selection). In this example, we will be importing a specific contacts folder.

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Step 10. After the folder is selected, you can choose where data will be imported to. It can be another email account or the currently selected folder. After selecting your options, click the Finish button and the importing process will start. 

Tips:

  • Always weigh the pros and cons when importing larger amounts of data to a particular email account. Mailboxes have certain capacity limitations.
  • Back up your data when importing or exporting. You never know when there will be a need to restore it.
  • Outlook meta-data is not kept in a .pst file, so things like message rules, views, permission settings, auto-archive settings, and blocked senders lists will not be imported.
  • Depending on the amount of data that is being imported, the process can take quite a while. During this time, you will not be able to use Outlook, so prepare yourself and do the data import at a more convenient time when you won't need to use Outlook.

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