Offline Outlook data file or OST stores a synchronized copy of your mailbox information, such as emails, attachments, contacts, notes, journals, etc., on your local system. The OST file can be accessed by an authorized Exchange/IMAP account only. Thus, to open, view, or import an offline Outlook data file items, you need access to the IMAP Outlook or MAPI profile synchronized with the OST file.
However, if the Exchange server fails or the mailbox is deleted or disabled from the Exchange server, the OST file becomes inaccessible. In such cases, you can access the OST file and open or import the items from OST file with the help of a third-party OST to PST converter software.
In this guide, we’ve discussed 5 different ways to open or import items from an offline Outlook data file, including inaccessible, inactive, or disconnected OST.
Ways to Open or Import Items from Offline Outlook Data File (OST)
To import or open items from the Offline Outlook data file, you can follow any of the ways mentioned below.
1) Export your Outlook Mailbox Items to PST
To open or import items from offline Outlook data file or OST into another Outlook profile, you can export the mailbox items to Outlook importable PST format via Import/Export Wizard. The steps are as follows:
In Outlook 2007,
- Go to File > Import and Export….
In Outlook 2010,
- Navigate to File > Open > Import.
In Outlook 2013, 2016, or 2019,
- Navigate to File > Open & Export and click on the Import/Export option.
- Select Export to a file and click on the Next button.
- Choose ‘Outlook Data File (.pst)’ and click ‘Next.’
- Select the desired emails and email folder that you want to open or import and check the Include Subfolders checkbox (if required). Then click Next.
- Click the Browse button to choose a save location and click Next to continue.
- Enter a password (optional). You may also click OK without entering the password to save the items from offline Outlook data file to PST format.
Now you can open or import the items saved in the PST file into any Outlook profile.
2) Drag and Drop Email on Desktop
One of the easiest ways to open or import individual emails is to drag and drop that email from your Outlook account to Desktop or any folder. This saves the email in .EML or email file, which you can open or import into any Outlook profile.
This method is recommended when you need to open or import a few emails. The steps are as follows:
- Open Outlook and then select the email you want to open or import.
- Click and hold on to the email and drag it to the Desktop or any folder of your choice.
- Release the mouse click to drop the email and save it as xxx.eml file.
You can now transfer the .eml file to any other PC and double-click on it to open it via Outlook.
These ways do not work when,
- Outlook profile is inaccessible.
- OST or Offline Outlook data file is inaccessible, orphaned, or inactive.
Besides, the saved or exported mailbox items or emails from offline Outlook data files using the above methods can only be accessed through MS Outlook.
If you also want to open or import the items from offline Outlook data files through multiple applications, such as web browser, text reader, or PDF viewer, you can use an OST Viewer tool or an OST to PST converter software, such as Stellar Converter for OST.
The tool can help you open the emails from the OST file and convert the mailbox items from an OST file, including inaccessible, orphaned, or inactive OST, to PST and various other formats, such as HTML, EML MSG, PDF, and RTF.
You may also use an open-source OST reader tool. All these methods are discussed below.
3) Use XST Reader
XST Reader is an open-source offline Outlook data file viewer tool. You can open any OST file through the XST reader and read all emails. You can also export the emails to HTML and RTF formats. The steps are as follows:
- Download the XstReader.exe File from the release page. The .exe file is compressed in the .zip folder. Extract it on your Desktop.
- Double click on XstReader.exe.
- Click the ‘Open…’ button and choose the OST file.
- It will open the OST file and display all the emails and email folders in a three-pane window. You can click on any email item to open and view it.
- You may also right-click on emails and save them as HTML or rich text format (RTF) files.
4) Use OST Viewer Tool
An OST viewer tool, such as Stellar Viewer for OST, can open and preview any OST file irrespective of its size. You can also open and view email items from an orphaned, inactive, or inaccessible offline Outlook data file (OST) without authentication.
The software also displays an enhanced preview of emails and provides advanced search options to locate and open a specific email. Further, the software can also save the items from an offline Outlook data file or OST to various file formats, such as EML, RTF, PDF, MSG, or HTML.
- Opens OST file without Outlook or Exchange
- Retains folder structure and hierarchy
- Scans and previews inaccessible, orphaned, or damaged OST files
- Search option to quickly find and view specific emails
- Previews all mailbox items, including emails, calendar, contacts, notes, tasks, etc.
- Saves OST mailbox items in EML, MSG, RTF, HTML, and PDF formats
- 100% free OST viewer software
However, it does not provide an option to export mailbox items from inactive or inaccessible OST files to PST format.
5) Use OST to PST Converter Tool
An OST to PST Converter software, such as Stellar Converter for OST, comes in handy when manual ways to open or import items from an offline Outlook data file or OST fails. Also, the software can convert any OST file, including inaccessible, inactive, encrypted, or orphaned OST, to PST and various other formats, such as EML, MSG, RTF, HTML, and PDF, without any file size limit.
You may also use the Batch Conversion option (available in Technician edition of the software) to simultaneously convert multiple OST files to PSTs. Besides PST, you can also import the emails and items from the OST file directly to Office 365 and the live Exchange server.
To know more about Stellar Converter for OST, download the free demo version and evaluate yourself. The demo version allows you to open and preview any OST file for free. You can open and preview unlimited emails. However, to save the emails in PST or other formats, including Office 365 or live Exchange, you must activate the software.
The above-mentioned 5 different ways can help you to open or import items from offline Outlook data file (.ost). Use manual methods to open or import items from accessible or active OST files. However, if the OST is inaccessible, you can use any of the three tools to open, preview, and convert the items from offline Outlook data files to PST and other multiple formats.