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PST Files (Email Archive)

Basic navigation for PST files and how to import them into SigParser

Updated over a week ago

Watch the following video for step-by-step instructions:

What is a PST file?

  • A PST file stands for Personal Storage Table. It's a file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store email messages, contacts, calendar items, and other data.

What is a PST file used for?

  • PST Files are used to store Outlook data locally on your computer, which helps in managing and organizing your emails, contacts, and other information.

  • You might use it when you want to back up your Outlook data, transfer it to another computer, or archive old emails to free up space in your mailbox.

How do PST files work?

  • Outlook automatically creates and uses PST files to store your data. You can also manually create PST files to store specific sets of data.

  • You can access the data in a PST file by opening it in Outlook. This allows you to view, search, and manage the emails, contacts, and other items stored in the file.

How SigParser uses PST Files

  • SigParser cannot scan files that are stored locally on your computer. If data from your Outlook account has been archived into a PST file, you will need to import that file into SigParser in order for that data to be processed.

  • You can easily import PST files into SigParser, and the system can extract contact details from these files. It's a handy way to keep all your important contacts in one place.

How to Open a PST File in Outlook (Source)

A PST file can only be opened from within Outlook.

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook

  2. Select File > Open & Export

  3. Select Open Outlook Data File

  4. Select the PST file you wish to open

    • Depending on how Outlook is set up, it's likely the folder where the .pst file is stored will open automatically. If it doesn't, browse to the file's location - usually in the Documents folder. If you're not sure where your Outlook data file is located, see Locating the Outlook data files.

  5. Once you open the Outlook Data File (.pst), the file will appear in your folder pane. Usually you'll find it at the bottom of the list of folders. The following image is an example. The name of your Outlook Data File (.pst) will likely not be “outlook data file.” Usually, the name is based on the account the file is associated with. For example, an Outlook Data File for the account will likely be named Cheryl Parsons or

Remove (close) a PST file in Outlook

You can remove an Outlook data file from the Folder pane by closing the file. This does not, however, remove the file from your computer.

  • In the Folder pane, right-click the name of the Outlook Data File, and then choose Close "Outlook Data File".

Export a PST file from Outlook

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook.

  2. Go to the "File" menu.

  3. Select "Open & Export" and then choose "Import/Export."

  4. In the Import and Export Wizard, select "Export to a file" and click "Next."

  5. Choose "Outlook Data File (.pst)" and click "Next."

  6. Select the folder you want to export. You can choose to export your entire mailbox or specific folders.

    1. Select your email address to export your entire mailbox.

  7. Choose where you want to save the PST file and set any additional options you need.

    1. Replace duplicates with items imported – If a contact is already in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook discards the info it has for that contact and uses the info from your contacts file. You should choose this option if the contact info in your contacts file is more complete or more current than the contact info in Outlook.

    2. Allow duplicates to be created – If a contact is in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook creates duplicate contacts, one with the original Outlook info and one with the info imported from your contacts file. You can combine info for those people later to eliminate duplicate contacts. This is the default option.

    3. Do not export duplicate items – If a contact is in Outlook and your contacts file, Outlook keeps the info it has for that contact and discards the info from your contacts file. You should choose this option if the contact info in Outlook is more complete or more current than the info in your contacts file.

  8. Click "Finish" to start the export process.

Uploading a PST File into SigParser

  1. Go to Settings > Imports > PST Imports

  2. Select +Upload

  3. Select a PST file to upload*

    • *See Naming PST Files below for suggested naming conventions

  4. The system will do an initial scan on the file. In about 5 minutes, you will receive an email with a cost estimate to complete your scan and import your data into your SigParser account.

  5. You have 15 days to purchase the PST file scan. If not purchased within 15 days, it will be deleted from our servers.

  6. You can purchase the scan by going to Settings > Imports > PST Imports > then selecting the recently uploaded file.

  7. Once purchased, it takes around 1 hour for every 10,000 emails.

  8. 15 days after purchase, the PST file will be deleted from the SigParser server. Make sure to complete any exports before then.

Naming PST files

Give your PST files distinct names. This will make it easier to identify, filter, and sort your PST contact data.

  • Good naming convention: John-2024-Q1.pst

  • Poor naming convention: MyEmails.pst

See your PST Data in SigParser

  1. Go to Contacts

  2. Select the Column view icon () > Overview > select Source Mailboxes to add to visible columns > Save

  3. Select Search > in the search bar under the Mailboxes column, enter the name of your PST file (If the file name starts with “Outlook,” make sure to type that in the search bar).

Export PST file from Microsoft 365 eDiscovery

Sometimes you may want to export a PST file of the archives in the cases where emails were deleted from a mailbox. In this case you can upload a PST file.

You'll need to export the PST file with the correct configuration settings to include email addresses. When you are choosing what to export be sure to click One PST file containing all messages.

If you have any questions, send us an email at You can also book a demo session HERE.

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