Don’t lose your email! Here’s how to export and import your Outlook inbox
Luckily, Outlook makes it simple to manually back up your account and settings, and also to re-import them for easy setup. The guide below applies to Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016.
Backing up your Outlook filesTo start backing up your files in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016, click the “File” menu, then “Open & Export.” Click on “Import/Export” to open the Import and Export Wizard, which will also kick you out of the touch-friendly menu system — it’s best to have a conventional keyboard and mouse/touchpad for the following steps. In Outlook 2010, click “File,” then “Options,” then “Advanced.” Click “Export” to open the wizard. The following steps are identical for all three versions of Outlook.
The next screen allows you to select the location and name of your backup file. For this example we’ll put it on the Windows desktop, but you can place the file in any local folder. Click “Browse,” then navigate to the folder you want, name the file, then click “OK.” The browser window will close.
Managing backupsThe PST file you just created can be moved and copied just like any other file. This makes it easy to keep it safe — throw it on a USB drive, an external hard drive, or even cloud storage to keep a record of your emails physically separated from your computer. Be aware that the file is quite large (about 100MB for my 1,000-email test account), so you may not be able to send it through some Internet tools.
Remember, this is not a live file: it will not record or backup any emails that you receive or send after you create it. For a more up-to-date file, Outlook automatically stores your emails and other settings in a PST file in the Documents>Outlook Files folder under your username. This file is always up to date, but since it’s stored locally it’s vulnerable to failure. You can mitigate the risk of losing recent emails, calendar items, and contacts by setting a backup or cloud storage program to monitor the Outlook Files folder.
Importing backupsThe process for importing PST backup files is similar to creating them. In Outlook 2013 and 2016, from the main Outlook window, click “File,” then “Open & Export,” then “Import/Export” to open the Import and Export Wizard again. In Outlook 2010, click “File,” then “Open,” then “Import.” The rest of the steps below apply to all three versions of Outlook.
Click “Finish” when you’re ready. If you set a password on the file you’ll have to enter it here. That’s it! Your emails and other settings will appear in Outlook once the import process is finished.