Archiving Stuff to .PST

it’s the time of year when we grow up, put away childish things. childish things like the email we sent and received in 2014, so we can focus on the far more serious email we received in 2015 (Nynke, i promise i’ll reply to the mail you sent me in January). i was asked to help out one of my senior colleagues in this task, so i put together a little guide for him. you might find it useful too. He needed to move a years worth of items out of his general purpose PST file and into a archive archive.

i expect there’s a better way of doing it. feel free to call me an idiot.

Part 1 – getting stuff out.

1. Go to the file tab in outlook:


2. Select “Open and Export”, and select “Import/Export”


3. select “Export to a file” and click next:


4. Select “outlook data file (.pst)” and click next:


5. Select the archive pst file you want to export from, in my case it’s “Archive Folders”, and click “filter” (NOT “next”). Make sure “Include subfolders” is ticked:


6. Select the “Advanced” tab, and click the “field” drop-down, then click “received”:


7. Select the “between” condition, and put the dates in – it will export all the items from the first date, but not the ones from the second, so to get all the items received in 2014, set a filter like the one below, and click “add to list”:


8. Create the same rule for sent items:


9. You may well wish to save appointments as well. In the “field” chooser, select “All Appointment fields” and “Start”:


Sorry about the picture of Mr Hayward. You should now have a set of rules that looks like this:


10. Click “OK” which will return you to the “Export Outlook Data File” dialog and click “next”:


11. Give the export file a name – in my case, I’m calling it “2014”, and click “Finish”:


12. You can put a password in if you like, or click “OK” with the fields blank to proceed. If you click “Cancel” it will dump the whole lot, and you’ll have to start again.

Outlook will now be unresponsive for a bit, while it chews things over. This may be a few seconds, or ten minutes or more depending on how modern your machine is:


After a while, though, you will see it start to process items:


13. Go and get a cup of coffee, it may be some time.

14. Once it is complete, open the new archive file; Go back to the Open and Export page, and select “open outlook Data File”:


15. Browse to the file you just created, and click “OK”:


16. It will open in Outlook as “Outlook Data File” – this is a rubbish name, so right click it, select “Data File Properties”, then “Advanced”, and change the name to something more suitable:



17. Click “OK” and “bingo”.


Your data is now sitting in a new archive PST file. Don’t put it on a network drive, eh?

Part 2 – deleting the stuff you’ve exported.

Now, that’s all very well, but it hasn’t shrunk the original archive file any. So…

1. Click on the archive you want to shrink in the left hand folder pane in Outlook, and click to select “subfolders” in the quick search bar:


2. In the search tab, click “More” and select “Received”:


3. Type the year you want to delete items for:


And marvel at the items listed. By default, it won’t show you everything, you’ll need to click “More” at the bottom until you get back to the 1st of Jan:



4. Then you can simply use ctrl+a to select all the items in the column, and shift-delete them. Don’t soft delete them, as they’ll just get moved into the deleted items folder in the archive, achieving nothing.

5. Repeat the process for sent items – most will probably have gone already, but it’s as well to be sure.

Has it worked?

This is what it was:


This is what it is:




I wish you all a peaceful and prosperous new year.

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