How to Open a PST File

By Steve Gregory

The Open Outlook Data File feature in Microsoft Outlook 2013 can open PST files, also known as Outlook Data Files.

Use Microsoft Outlook 2013’s Open Outlook Data File feature to open a PST file, which is also known as an Outlook Data File. The PST file is a Microsoft proprietary file format that is used to store data in Outlook — such as your email messages and contacts — that has been downloaded from your email account. By default, a PST file that is created using Microsoft Outlook 2013 is saved in the Outlook Files folder, which is accessible through the Documents folder.

Step 1

Launch Outlook and open the File menu.

Step 2

Select Open and Export from the window's left pane and then click Open Outlook Data File to open a new File Explorer window.

Use the Import/Export feature to import or export data.

Step 3

Browse to the location of the PST file on your computer, select the file and then click the OK button to open the file in Outlook.


If the PST file was created using Outlook 2007 or earlier, browse to drive: | Users | user | AppData | Local | Microsoft | Outlook.

If you cannot remember where you saved the PST file, open Outlook's Account Settings utility. Open the File menu, click the Account Settings box and then select Account Settings. Click the Data Files tab, select the name of the PST file and then click Open Folder Location. Record the location of the PST file.

Double-click the file to open it.

Step 4

Double-click the name of the PST file, such as Outlook Data File, in the Folder Pane located at the left-side of the window to display the file's information.


To change the PST file's name in the Folder Pane, click File and then select the Account Settings box. Select Account Settings, click the Data Files tab and then click the name of the PST file. Click Settings, type the new name in the Name box and then click the Apply button.

Like other folders in the Folder Pane, the PST file can be moved to the Folder Pane's Favorites section. Right-click the name of the PST file in the Folder Pane and then select Show In Favorites from the pop-up menu box.

To remove the PST file from the Folder Pane, right-click the file's name and then select Close from the pop-up menu. Removing the file from the Folder Pane does not delete the file from your computer. The Close command does not appear if the PST file is your default Outlook Data File.

The Folder Pane displays your email accounts and folders.


If you don't have Microsoft Outlook installed on your computer, it is still possible to open a PST file using a third-party program. Outlook PST Viewer, Kernel Outlook PST Viewer and Coolutils Outlook Viewer are three programs that can open PST files.