Change the data file where content is saved

By default, each POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3): A common Internet protocol that is used to retrieve email messages from an Internet email server.), IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet email protocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select which messages to download.), or (formerly Hotmail) account that you add to Microsoft Outlook 2013 uses a unique data file to save your messages. Some accounts, such as Microsoft Exchange Server,, and Google Gmail accounts save your messages on servers, but a local copy is made on your computer. This enables you to work with messages even when an Internet connection isn’t available.

If you use a Microsoft Exchange Server account, you can choose to deliver some kinds of information, such as RSS Feeds (RSS Feeds: Subscription-based distribution feeds of news, blogs, and other information. RSS Feeds contain summaries or complete content and can include attachments. Other names for RSS Feeds include Web Feeds or XML Feeds.), to an Outlook Data File (.pst) (Outlook Data File (.pst): Data file that saves your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for email messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) on your computer while keeping your messages on the server that runs Exchange. This is useful if RSS Feeds consume too much of your mailbox quota.

ShowHow can I tell if I have a Microsoft Exchange Server account?

Click the File tab. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings. On the E-mail tab, the list of accounts indicates the type of each account.

Exchange Server account listed in Account Settings

To change the Outlook Data File that is used, do the following:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Account Settings, and then click Account Settings.

Account Settings command in the Baskstage view

  1. On the E-mail tab or the RSS Feeds tab, select the email account or RSS Feed that you want to change, and then click Change Folder.

Use an existing Outlook Data File   

  • Select the folder in the Outlook Data File (.pst) where new email messages sent to your POP3 email account are saved. For messages, this is usually the Inbox folder.

Create an Outlook Data File

  1. Click New Outlook Data File.
  2. In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box, in the File name box, type the name as you want it to appear in the Outlook Folder Pane (Folder Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that contains folders for each view, such as Mail or Calendar. Click a folder to show the items in the folder. Formerly the Navigation Pane in earlier releases.), and then click OK.
  3. By default, data files are not password-protected. To add a password to your data file, under Password, type that password that you want to use in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.

 Important    Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.), or your email administrator don’t have access to your password, nor can they assist you with recovering the contents of the Outlook Data File (.pst) if you forget the password.

  1. Select the folder in the Outlook Data File (.pst) where new email messages sent to your POP3 email account are saved. For messages, this is usually the Inbox folder.
  1. Click OK, and then, in the Account Settings dialog box, click Close.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2013