Create and use .pst data files in different versions of Outlook

When saving items to your computer, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 uses a data file called the Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst). Although Microsoft Outlook 2002 and earlier versions of Outlook use a different data file, you can still access your data from any Outlook version.

In this article



The 2 Outlook .pst file types

Beginning with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, a new Personal Folders file (.pst), called the Office Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst), was introduced. This file format increases storage capacity for items and folders and supports multilingual Unicode data. A file that is created in the Office Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst) format in Outlook 2003 and Office Outlook 2007 is not compatible with Outlook 97-2002 and cannot be opened in these earlier Outlook versions. However, a .pst file that was created in Outlook 97-2002 can be opened in Outlook 2003 and Office Outlook 2007.

You might want to convert your data from the older .pst file format to the newer format. Converting the .pst files will provide you access to the Unicode character sets and larger file size capacities as well.

To determine the type of data file that you have, do the following:

  1. On the File menu, click Data Management.
  2. On the Data Files tab, select the data file that you want to verify, and then click Settings.
  3. View the Format box to see if it contains the text Personal Folders File or Personal Folders File (97-2002). Personal Folders File indicates the new format that supports multilingual Unicode data and offers greater storage capacity for items and folders. A file with the Personal Folders File format type is not compatible with Outlook 97-2002. Personal Folders File (97-2002) indicates the earlier format that is compatible with all versions of Outlook. Personal Folders File (97-2002) does not support Unicode and offers the same storage capacity for items and folders that was available in the versions of Outlook earlier than Outlook 2003.

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Open .pst files in Outlook Office Outlook 2007

A .pst file that was created in any Outlook version can be opened and used with Office Outlook 2007. No special conversions are needed.

To open a .pst file, do the following:

  1. On the File menu, point to Open, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Click the .pst file that you want to open, and then click OK.

The name of the folder that is associated with the data file appears in the Folder List. To view the Folder List, on the Go menu, click Folder List. By default, the folder will be called Personal Folders.

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Create a .pst file in the Outlook 2003/Office Outlook 2007 format

By default, Office Outlook 2007 creates a .pst file in the new file format, which supports larger files and Unicode character sets. However, this file format cannot be read by Outlook 97-2002.

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Select Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  3. In the File name box, type a name for the file, and then click OK.
  4. In the Name box, type a display name for the .pst folder.
  5. If you want to protect your data file by setting a password, under Password, type your password in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.

 Note   For improved security, only dots appear as you type.

ShowDo you want additional password information?

You can add a password of up to 15 characters.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

If you select the Save this password in your password list check box, make a note of the password in case you need to open the .pst file on another computer. Select this check box only if your Microsoft Windows user account is password-protected and no one else has access to your computer account.

 Important   Neither Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP), nor your mail administrator has access to your password. No one can open or recover the contents of the .pst file if you forget the password.

The name of the folder that is associated with the data file appears in the Folder List. To view the Folder List, on the Go menu, click Folder List. By default, the folder will be called Personal Folders.

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Create a .pst file in the Outlook 97-2002 format

To create a data file that is compatible with Outlook 2002 and earlier versions, you can create an Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst). This file format is the same as the format that was available in Outlook 97-2002.

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Select Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  3. In the File name box, type a name for the file, and then click OK.
  4. In the Name box, type a display name for the .pst folder.
  5. If you want to protect your data file by setting a password, under Password, type your password in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.

 Note   For improved security, only dots appear as you type.

ShowDo you want additional password information?

You can add a password of up to 15 characters.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

If you select the Save this password in your password list check box, make a note of the password in case you need to open the .pst file on another computer. Select this check box only if your Microsoft Windows user account is password-protected and no one else has access to your computer account.

 Important   Neither Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP), nor your mail administrator has access to your password. No one can open or recover the contents of the .pst file if you forget the password.

The name of the folder that is associated with the data file appears in the Folder List. To view the Folder List, on the Go menu, click Folder List. By default, the folder will be called Personal Folders.

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Convert your Outlook 2003/Office Outlook 2007 .pst file to Outlook 97-2002 format

There is no automatic procedure to convert an Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) to the older format Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders file (.pst), which has smaller capacity and no Unicode support. The easiest way to do so is to create a data file in the older Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders file (.pst) format and then import items from the newer data file format to the older .pst file format.

What do you want to do?



Create an Outlook 97-2002 .pst file

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Select Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  3. In the File name box, type a name for the file, and then click OK.
  4. In the Name box, type a display name for the .pst folder.
  5. If you want to protect your data file by setting a password, under Password, type your password in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.

 Note   For improved security, only dots appear as you type.

ShowDo you want additional password information?

You can add a password of up to 15 characters.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

If you select the Save this password in your password list check box, make a note of the password in case you need to open the .pst file on another computer. Select this check box only if your Microsoft Windows user account is password-protected and no one else has access to your computer account.

 Important   Neither Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP), nor your mail administrator has access to your password. No one can open or recover the contents of the .pst file if you forget the password.

The name of the folder that is associated with the data file appears in the Folder List. To view the Folder List, on the Go menu, click Folder List. By default, the folder will be called Personal Folders.

Import items into the Outlook 97-2002 .pst file

  1. On the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Import from another program or file, and then click Next.
  3. Click Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click Next.
  4. In the File to import box, enter the path and file name of the Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) file that you want to import, and then click Next.
  5. Select Import items into the same folder in, and then select the name of your new Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst).
  6. Follow the remaining instructions in the Import and Export Wizard.

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Convert an Outlook 97-2002 .pst file to Outlook 2003/Office Outlook 2007 format

There is no automatic procedure to convert an Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst) to the new, larger-capacity Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst), which supports Unicode. The easiest way to convert an older .pst file to the new file format is to create a new data file in the new format and then import items from the older data file to the new Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst).

What do you want to do?



Create an Office Outlook .pst file

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Outlook Data File.
  2. Select Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click OK.
  3. In the File name box, type a name for the file, and then click OK.
  4. In the Name box, type a display name for the .pst folder.
  5. If you want to protect your data file by setting a password, under Password, type your password in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.

 Note   For improved security, only dots appear as you type.

ShowDo you want additional password information?

You can add a password of up to 15 characters.

Use strong passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Weak passwords don't mix these elements. Strong password: Y6dh!et5. Weak password: House27. Passwords should be 8 or more characters in length. A pass phrase that uses 14 or more characters is better. For more information, see Help protect your personal information with strong passwords.

It is critical that you remember your password. If you forget your password, Microsoft cannot retrieve it. Store the passwords that you write down in a secure place away from the information that they help protect.

If you select the Save this password in your password list check box, make a note of the password in case you need to open the .pst file on another computer. Select this check box only if your Microsoft Windows user account is password-protected and no one else has access to your computer account.

 Important   Neither Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP), nor your mail administrator has access to your password. No one can open or recover the contents of the .pst file if you forget the password.

The name of the folder that is associated with the data file appears in the Folder List. To view the Folder List, on the Go menu, click Folder List. By default, the folder will be called Personal Folders.

Import items into the Office Outlook .pst file

  1. On the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Import from another program or file, and then click Next.
  3. Click Personal Folders File (.pst), and then click Next.
  4. In the File to import box, enter the path and file name of the Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (.pst) that you want to import, and then click Next.
  5. Select Import items into the same folder in, and then select the name of your new Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst).
  6. Follow the remaining instructions in the Import and Export Wizard.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2007