How to Move Outlook Emails to My Documents

By Matt Skaggs

If you use Outlook to manage your emails, you normally just access your messages directly within Outlook, but you do have more control than that over where the emails are kept on your computer. You can back them up wherever you want, and you can change Outlook's own storage settings. It only takes a few steps to back up your emails to your "Documents" folder, and they'll remain there until you delete them or import them later. If you have Outlook set up to download emails to your computer, you can change the storage location to the "Documents" folder if you prefer.

Export Emails

Step 1

Open Outlook if it's not open already.

Step 2

Click the "File" tab on the Office Ribbon and select "Options," then "Advanced."

Step 3

Click "Export."

Step 4

Select "Export to a file," then click "Next."

Step 5

Select the Outlook section you want to export (back up). You can export an entire account by selecting it, or you can export a specific folder within that account. Don't forget to check the box beside "Include subfolders" if you want to back up folders within the one you're selecting. If you select an account but don't check the subfolders option, none of your emails will be backed up.

Step 6

Click "Next."

Step 7

Click "Browse" and navigate to the location in your "Documents" folder where you want to back up your emails. You can back them up directly in the "Documents" folder or in a subfolder. The emails will be contained in a single file.

Step 8

Click "OK," then "Finish." Your emails will export to the location you specified. When they're exported, they're not removed from your account; Outlook just creates copies of them in the "Documents" folder.

Move Email Storage

Step 1

Open Outlook if it's not open already.

Step 2

Click the "File" button in the top left of the window.

Step 3

Click "Info," then the "Account Settings" tab, then "Data Files."

Step 4

Select the data file associated with your account. Most likely, you only have one data file, but if you have more than one, read the file name to figure out which one is for the email account you're moving.

Step 5

Click the "Open File Location..." button. This will open a new window with your email storage PST file selected.

Step 6

Right-click the PST file in the new window and click "Copy."

Step 7

Close the "Data Files" window and exit Outlook. You cannot copy the PST file with Outlook open.

Step 8

Click the "Start" button, then click "Documents." Navigate to a subfolder if you want to move your email storage to a folder within "Documents."

Step 9

Right-click anywhere in the folder and select "Paste."

Step 10

Open Outlook again, and then open the "Data Files" section.

Step 11

Click "Add," then select "Outlook Data File (*.pst)," then navigate to your "Documents" folder and select the PST file you just pasted there.

Step 12

Click "OK."

Step 13

Select the file you just added in the "Data Files" window and then click "Set as default." Click "OK" in the confirmation window that Outlook displays. If you're not sure which file is the newer one since they both have the same name, look at the "Location" information to see where the PST files are stored.

Step 14

Select the old data file you're no longer using in the "Data Files" window, and then click "Remove."

Step 15

Click "Yes," then "Close," then "OK" in the dialog boxes Outlook displays.

Step 16

Exit Outlook again to allow your changes to take effect.