How To Save Emails Out of Outlook

Saving emails is useful for backing up, keeping related project/case file emails archived together, or for using different search tools other than Outlook’s native searching capabilities. To save emails from Outlook to a Windows folder, follow these instructions:

How to save emails from Outlook 2019, 2016, and 2013:

  1. In the main Outlook window, select the emails you want to save
  2. Note: Select several emails by holding down the ctrl key while you select them with your mouse (or use Ctrl-A to select them all)
  3. Drag them to the desktop

Doing it this way saves the emails out in Outlook native format (.msg files). When you click on them from your desktop, they will open in Outlook.

If you don’t want to save the emails in Outlook format, you can save them as HTML or even plain text:

  1. In the main Outlook window, select the emails you want to save
  2. Note: Select several contacts by holding down the ctrl key while you select them with your mouse (or use Ctrl-A to select them all)
  3. Choose File (the tab at the top) then Save As
  4. Choose a format and click Save

Choosing the format is the most important part because what you want to do with the email after this has an impact on the save format. Out of the five formats Outlook supports (HTML, MHT, TXT, OFT and MSG), only OFT and MSG support saving any attachments along with the email. They can both be opened in Outlook because they are Outlook native formats. The OFT is usually used for templates, so that a copy of a frequently used email can be saved to your desktop, and double clicked when you need to send a copy of that email. MSG is the native Outlook format, and if you move emails from one machine to another, both of these two formats will need to have Outlook on that machine in order to read the email. The other formats do not require Outlook and can be read either by a browser or by a text editor like Notepad.

If this is for searching (say for a legal discovery requirement), you’re probably better off saving the emails as individual PDF files, then search those. The Save As PDF add-in will do this. Even better, the Save As PDF Pro add-in will take your emails and save them all into one long PDF file, either as a PDF portfolio, or just the plain format of email 1, attachment 1, email 2, attachment 2, etc. Then all you have to do is use the search function in your PDF reader.

In any case, Outlook does not support automatically saving emails as they arrive, or saving emails in multiple folders all at the same time. For this you would need an add-in like our Attachment Save add-in. It saves emails as well as attachments. To save emails using the add-in, follow these instructions:

How to automatically save emails from Outlook using our add-in:

  1. In Outlook, click on the Sperry Software button
  2. Click on the Attachment Save add-ins’ Overall Settings 1 tab
  3. Check the Automatic box to start processing emails automatically
  4. Choose an Outlook folder (like say, the Inbox)
  5. Choose a Windows folder where the saved emails will reside in the next tab (in the Overall Settings 2 tab)
  6. Check the Enable saving of emails option (in the Specific Settings tab)
  7. Choose one of the five custom formats (MSG, TXT, HTML, EML, and TNEF)

The add-in also supports scanning all your Outlook email folders and then saving email to Windows folders preserving your Outlook folder structure onto hard disk. To do this, follow these instructions:

How to save emails from Outlook in bulk:

  1. Click on the Sperry Software icon in the main Outlook toolbar
  2. Click on the Attachment Save add-ins’ Utilities tab
  3. Click the Process Now… button
  4. Choose an Outlook folder (or several Outlook folders)
  5. Click the Process Now button to start saving emails

This may all be fine, but what if you need to save emails from this sender (or with this subject) to this folder, and emails from that sender to that Windows folder?  For this kind of automation, you would need the Attachment Save Pro add-in, which saves emails and/or attachments based on rules you create.

Need more information?

Download a free trial version of the Attachment Save add-in.

Download a free trial version of the Attachment Save Pro add-in.

See How to back up emails in Outlook.

View a list of useful Outlook how to articles

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