How to Export Office 365 Mailbox to a PST File?

In today’s digital world, Office 365 has become the go-to choice for many organizations when it comes to email communication and collaboration. However, there are times when you may need to export Office 365 mailbox to  PST (Personal Storage Table) file. Whether it’s for backup, migration, or compliance reasons, knowing how to perform this task is essential. In this blog post, we will explore why you might want to export your Office 365 mailbox, when it becomes necessary, and the top methods to achieve this.

Why Export to PST from Office 365 Mailbox?

Exporting Office 365 mailbox to a PST file offers several benefits:

Data Backup: Creating a PST backup ensures that your crucial email data is safe and can be easily restored in case of accidental deletion or data loss.

Migration: When migrating from Office 365 to another email platform, having a PST file simplifies the transition by allowing you to move your email data seamlessly.

Archiving: Compliance requirements often demand that emails be archived for a specified period. PST files serve as an effective archiving solution.

Reducing Storage Costs: Removing older emails from Office 365 and storing them in PST files can help reduce your Office 365 storage costs.

Offline Access: PST files can be imported into various email clients, providing offline access to your emails and making them accessible even without an internet connection.

When do we need to Export Office 365 Mailbox to PST?

You might need to export your Office 365 mailbox under the following scenarios:

Employee Departure: When an employee leaves the organization, you may need to back up their mailbox and transfer it to another user or archive it.

Compliance and Legal Requirements: To meet legal and compliance requirements, you may need to archive email data for a specified period.

Data Migration: When migrating to a different email platform or even within Office 365, exporting your mailbox to a PST file is a common step in the migration process.

Data Recovery: In case of accidental data deletion or corruption, having a PST backup ensures data recovery without relying solely on the retention policies.

Top methods to Export Office 365 mailbox to PST

There are primarily two methods to export an Office 365 mailbox to a PST file: manual methods and professional methods.

Manual methods

  1. Using Microsoft Outlook
  • Open Microsoft Outlook and configure the Office 365 account.
  • Create a new PST file or use an existing one.
  • Manually export mailbox items to the PST file by selecting the items and moving or copying them to the PST folder.


  • Free if you already have Outlook.
  • Simple and straightforward.


  • Time-consuming for large mailboxes.
  • Limited to one mailbox at a time.
  • Requires manual effort and supervision.
  1. Exchange Online PowerShell
  • Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell.
  • Use PowerShell commands to export the mailbox data to a PST file.


  • Allows for scripting and automation.
  • Suitable for larger-scale exports.


  • Requires technical expertise in PowerShell.
  • Potential for errors if not executed correctly.

Professional Method

When it comes to exporting Office 365 mailboxes, especially in a business or enterprise setting, a professional approach often proves to be the most efficient and reliable. This method involves using third-party tools specifically designed for this purpose. Let’s delve deeper into the professional method and its advantages.

Shoviv Office 365 Backup and Restore tool

Shoviv Office 365 backup tool is designed to simplify and streamline the process of exporting Office 365 mailbox to PST file. This software offers several advantages over manual methods and is particularly beneficial for organizations with large volumes of mailbox data. Using this tool you can backup Office 365 emails, contacts, calenders, etc.

Advantages of Using Third-Party Tools:

Efficiency: Professional tools are optimized for speed and can handle bulk exports efficiently. This means you can export large mailboxes or multiple mailboxes simultaneously without experiencing significant slowdowns.

Automation: These tools often come with scheduling options, allowing you to automate the backup and export process. This eliminates the need for constant manual intervention and ensures regular backups without fail.

Granular Selection: With professional tools, you can selectively choose which mailboxes or even specific mailbox items to export. This level of granularity provides greater control over the export process.

Error Handling: Many third-party tools include built-in error-handling mechanisms. They can detect and address common export issues, reducing the chances of data loss or corruption during the export process.

Incremental Backups: Some professional tools support incremental backups, where only new or modified data is exported after the initial backup. This helps save time and storage space.

User-Friendly Interface: These tools typically offer user-friendly interfaces that require minimal technical expertise. This makes them accessible to a wider range of users within your organization.

Learn How to Migrate Google Workspace mailboxes to Office 365

Additional Tips for a Smooth Office 365 Mailbox Export

Regardless of the method you choose, there are some essential tips to ensure a smooth Office 365 mailbox export process:

  1. Plan Ahead

Before you start exporting, plan your approach. Decide which mailboxes need to be exported, when the export should occur, and how often backups should be created. This planning will help you execute the process more effectively.

  1. Verify Permissions

Ensure that the account you use for exporting Office 365 mailboxes has the necessary permissions. Depending on your method, this may require Global Admin or Exchange Admin roles. Without proper permissions, you won’t be able to access and export the mailboxes.

  1. Monitor Progress

Keep an eye on the export process, especially if you’re using manual methods or PowerShell scripts. Large exports can take a significant amount of time, and you want to make sure there are no errors or interruptions.

  1. Storage Considerations

Be mindful of storage requirements for PST files. PST files can grow in size, so plan for adequate storage space to accommodate your backups. You may also want to implement retention policies for PST files to manage their growth over time.

  1. Test the Restore Process

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to test your PST file restore process. Ensure that you can successfully import PST files back into Office 365 or the desired email platform. Regularly testing your restoration process will give you confidence in your backup strategy.

  1. Compliance and Legal Considerations

If your organization needs to retain emails for compliance or legal reasons, ensure that your export and storage methods align with these requirements. Consult legal and compliance experts to make sure you’re following best practices.

  1. Document the Process

Keep detailed records of your export processes. Note which mailboxes were exported, when the exports occurred, and any errors or issues encountered. This documentation can be invaluable for audits, compliance, and troubleshooting.

  1. Consider Hybrid Deployments

If your organization is using a hybrid deployment of Exchange with Office 365, be aware that mailbox moves between on-premises and Office 365 can impact your export strategy. Ensure that you understand how these moves affect mailbox data and exports.

Related Article: How to Backup Gmail Emails step by step?

Final Thoughts

Exporting Office 365 mailbox to PST file is a critical task that should not be taken lightly. Whether you opt for manual methods or choose a professional solution, the goal is to safeguard your email data, ensure compliance, and streamline migration processes. It’s essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each method to determine the best fit for your organization’s specific needs.

Remember that email data is a valuable asset, and investing in a reliable and efficient export process is a proactive step towards data security and management. By following the tips outlined in this article and selecting the right method for your organization, you can ensure a successful Office 365 mailbox export experience and peace of mind in managing your email data effectively.

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