Best Ways to Import OST File into Outlook

Abhishek Pandey
Abhishek Pandey linkedin | Updated On - May 08, 2023 |

Read time: 7 minutes

Do you want to import a useful OST file into Outlook and do not know the proper method, then in this article, we will present you with direct methods (manual and automated) that will work perfectly for you.

If you follow the official stand of Microsoft, then you must know the statement that ‘You can’t move OST files directly to Outlook.’ Outlook creates the OST file for Exchange accounts, but you cannot import an external OST file into the application. You should configure the account into Outlook and there will be an OST file available instantly.

In this blog, we will look at unavoidable reasons to import OST files into Outlook and methods for importing them. At last, we will also talk about a professional OST to PST converter tool to effectively convert OST file to PST file and recover corrupt OST files.

Instant Solution

Get your hands on the Kernel for OST to PST Converter tool and make the most of these features-

  • Assistance to Import OST file into Outlook through conversion
  • Recovery of corrupt, orphaned & inaccessible OST files.
  • Retrieval of all OST items.

It supports OST of all Outlook versions- Microsoft 365, 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 & 2003.

But before moving further, let’s briefly discuss OST files.

What are OST files?

OST means Offline Storage table, also known as Offline Outlook Data File. It is automatically created by Outlook when you create an account on it and configure it with Exchange Server. It saves a synchronized copy of your mailbox to your local drive and allows you to access emails, contacts, calendars, notes, appointments, etc., even in offline mode.

Undoubtedly, OST files are crucial for Outlook users, but you need to import OST files into Outlook in a few instances. Let’s have a look at such instances:

Major reasons to import OST files into Outlook
  • Exchange Server downtime
  • Migrate data from one system to another
  • Exchange Server maintenance
  • Corrupt OST files

Before importing your OST files into Outlook, it is important to know where it is stored. Follow the below steps to locate your OST file:

  1. Open Outlook, then click on the File tab.
  2. Click on Account Settings, then select Account Settings from the drop-down.
  3. Now, click on Data files, select your OST file account, and then click on Open file location.
  4. Now the new window will open with the default location of your OST with the default location
Methods to import OST files to Outlook

Before moving to the importing part on Outlook OST import, we need to understand that you can import the Exchange OST file using manual methods but can’t do so with the Orphaned OST file. Now, let’s discuss manual methods to import OST files.

Using the Archive feature

This method allows you to regularly archive old mails from OST files into PST format. Follow the below steps for OST import:

  1. Open Outlook, then click on the File tab.
  2. Select Options from the left pane.
  3. Select the Advanced option, then click on Auto Archive Settings.Auto Archive Settings
  4. Now, set up the auto archive settings as per your requirement. Set the day count to run auto archive and set a count to clear old mails.
  5. After that, click OK, and Outlook will create an archive of OST emails automatically.create an archive of OST emails automatically
  6. You can also ensure the working of the Archive utility by navigating the location you picked for saving the PST files.
Using the Import/Export method

It’s an in-built Outlook tool that migrates Outlook messages, items, tasks, notes, etc., from one system to another. Follow the below steps to import OST into Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook, then click on the File tab.
  2. Select Open & Export and then click on Import/Export.Import/Export
  3. Click Export to a file; then click on on next
  4. Now select Outlook data file .pst and click on Next.Click Next
  5. Now, select the folder you want to import into PST format and click on on Next
  6. Browse and select the folder to save your converted Exchange OST file and select appropriate Options for duplicate items, then click on Finish.Click on Finish

You can use both these manual methods to import OST files into Outlook but ensure the OST file is connected to an Exchange Server before doing so. Both these methods to import OST into Outlook are easy to use but have a few limitations because of which users rarely consider them.

Let’s have a look at a few limitations of the manual methods:

  • You can’t export the complete OST files using the Archive method.
  • It’s impossible to import multiple OST files into Outlook PST using these methods, and there is a possibility of data loss.
  • The manual import OST file to Outlook process is too slow and time-taking.
  • You can’t import orphaned OST files into Outlook through these methods.

So, it’s time to move to an automated professional tool recommended by Microsoft MVPs and IT administrators to efficiently import OST files into Outlook and fix issues like oversized OST file issue in Outlook.

A professional tool to import OST files

With too many limitations and the inability to repair corrupt OST files, we can’t rely on manual methods to import Outlook OST file. At this moment, we suggest you go with the best OST to PST converter tool named Kernel for OST to PST Converter. It is a reliable, safe, and efficient tool to convert inaccessible or orphaned files, retrieve OST items like emails, attachments, calendars, contacts, tasks, etc., and save them to Outlook PST or Office 365/Exchange Server accounts. It comes with several advanced features; some of them are:

  • Convert OST file to PST and repair corrupted or inaccessible OST files
  • Converts large-sized OST files
  • Advanced filters for selective email migration
  • Supports conversion of IMAP OST files
  • Saves OST emails to multiple formats like PST, MSG, EML, HTML, AND PDF
  • Displays recovered mailbox items in preview


I hope this blog helps you get information about OST files, where they are stored, and how to import OST files into Outlook. Undoubtedly, manual methods will help you import OST files if they are connected to Exchange Server. Otherwise, we suggest you use an automated OST to PST converter tool we discussed last. It will help you in importing OST files to Outlook quickly and efficiently. Use its free trial version for a better understanding of the tool.

Kernel for OST to PST