Skip to main content

How to Create, Store and Open a PST file in Outlook

In most cases, Inbox size is limited in corporate email account and we are forced to use MS Outlook. There is an archive feature in MS Outlook which can be used to archive our old emails to the computer’s hard drive. But if you want real control over your email, then you must learn how to create, store and open a .pst file in Outlook.

PST stands for Personal Store Table. PST file is basically a complex database and it contains your email messages, calendar, contacts and some other items.

How to create a .pst file:
  • Go to My Computer -> C: drive -> File -> New ->Folder
  • Rename that folder as email pst
  • Open Ms Outlook and go to File -> New -> Outlook Data File
  • Select Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) from the list and click OK
  • In the Save in box, locate your folder email pst that you have just created in C: drive. In the File name box, type your logon name and click OK.
  • Another windows pops up, again type your logon name in Name field and click OK. (Don’t change any other setting in this windows)
Now you have created a pst file in your computer’s hard drive. You can open it and make it visible in the left pane of Ms Outlook windows. It will show up with your logon name.

Follow the steps to open the pst file:
  • Open the Ms Outlook and go to - File > Open > Outlook Data File
  • Browse your C: drive to locate email pst folder you have just created and double click on the pst file. It should be your logon name followed by .pst extension if you have followed the exact above instructions.
  • Now the Personal Folder File should be located in the Folder List in your Outlook tree (i.e. go to View > Folder List).
How to store or save your email in the pst file:
  • Create folder by right clicking on the pst file shown in the left pane of the outlook. You can also make sub folders.
  • To save mail to that location, click on an email message in your Inbox. Then Drag it to the desired folder and drop it. That email message will be moved from the inbox to the new folder.

Extra Info:
1. .pst has bad reputation of being breaking and inaccessible. In Outlook 2000, the .pst file size was limited to a 2GB. The retrieval of .pst file was sometimes difficult if the pst file size was near the limit or exceeded. Keeping that in view, the .pst file size was increased to 20GB in Ms Outlook 2003. Microsoft also has got a repair tool called Scanpst.exe to repair corrupted .pst file.

2. In Outlook 2002 and earlier, the .pst files are in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) format, and the overall size has a limit of 2 gigabytes (GB).

3. By default, .pst files are in the Unicode format in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003.

4. The .pst file has a different format and folder size limit in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003.

Further Reading: Outlook 2003 Help and How-to, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Latest news on Ms Office Outlook 2003