I discovered a fast and easy way to save Outlook messages to my hard drive yesterday. In the past I’ve written about archiving Outlook messages, but this technique is much easier.

  • Simply navigate to the folder where you want to store the message(s) or create a new folder, and leave it open on your desktop
  • In Outlook, click on the message and begin dragging it
  • Alt/Tab so the folder you want to save it in appears
  • Drop the message into the folder

The message will be saved with a .msg file type, versus .txt  If you want to save multiple messages to the same folder, select them by using the Ctrl key, and drag and drop them as a group.

That’s all there is to it. I’m a firm believer that 80% of email is drivel, but there are messages I want to hang onto for future reference, for legal/litigation reasons, or to just plain cover my ass. Either way, this method only takes a few seconds.

Happy weekend!

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21 Comments on Drag and drop Outlook messages to save them to your hard drive

  1. It’s true that this trick will work, but I’d recommend saving the e-mails in a PST file instead. You can create a special “To Save” PST file (or just use your archive.pst file).

    Storing the items as .MSG files can be a management/search problem if there are a large number of them and you can lose certain metadata that you may want to have later.

    Storing them as a PST file is easier to handle (especially if you want to move it or copy it later) and preserves the native format.

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    So, for us non-technical people for whom the drag & drop sounds ideal, can you provide step-by-step instructions on how to create the .pst files in MS Outlook 2011 for Mac? Thanks!

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  2. Radzi says:

    I am having problem copying messages having the same name. I am using window 7 and somehow it did not rename the messages as another version, eg vacantion, vacation(1), vacation(3)

    Radzi

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Radzi,

    If the email has the exact same subject, you’ll just end up overwriting the earlier email. The only solution is to click File/SaveAs, and when prompted, change the Subject slightly – e.g., Vacation2, Vacation3, etc.

    [Reply]

  3. Sean mcinnes says:

    We have developed eFiler to solve the issues raised in this thread. It allows you to batch save emails into network or local folders as .msg files but also gives you a powerful search tool to be able to retrieve the email you are looking for.

    You can also set features to prompt you to file emails as you send them so you do not end up with a growing inbox over time and your colleagues can also search the same emails when you are off on holiday!

    [Reply]

    John Reply:

    Is the eFiler that you mentioned available? I would like to try it out.

    [Reply]

    Sean Reply:

    Hi John,

    Sure eFiler is available for download off our website just navigate to te download link on http://www.efiler.co.uk

    Good luck and let me know how you get on!
    Sean

    [Reply]

  4. dan v says:

    Doesn’t work unless you have Microsoft Outlook…if you have THAT..you won’t need efiler (I think).

    [Reply]

  5. daniel says:

    i wish i can save also the original date/time of the mail and not the save date

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Make it part of the file name when you save it.

    [Reply]

    Oblivious Reply:

    When you open any message you have saved as a .msg file the original date of the message is inside.

    [Reply]

    Herb Reply:

    Right on Daniel. And lowly outlook express did just this – w/ an easy drag-n-drop to the folder you want to save to, it created a message using subject as file name, and attributes mimicked the mail client. Really a cool feature, and magnitudes better than adding the date/time, because sometimes its weeks end till I get around to filing the comm’s to the project folder, but I like to be able to sort them by date.

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  6. Sean says:

    Daniel – Kevin is correct in that it is the only way it can be done with Outlook alone. If you want to make life easier there are many plugins available that will do this for you, eFiler included!

    [Reply]

  7. Michael says:

    Dan V and others – have a look at EagleFiler program. I’m not familiar with “efiler” referenced above but I’ve been using EagleFiler for just this situ during the past 3 years and it works beautifully. Also good for many other uses. Hope this helps a bit.

    [Reply]

  8. Sarah says:

    Our corporation is changing email platforms from storing .PST files on our local hard drives to storing them on a network server. We have been instructed to save any emails we don’t want to lose on our personal drives. A co-worker of mine has save all his emails for the past 5 years as .PST files on his personal drive. Is there an effective way to change multiple emails stored as .PST files to .MSG files without moving them or clicking on them one by one?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Sarah,

    Check this out: http://bit.ly/QkoE9S I haven’t tried this, but it might be a solution.

    [Reply]

  9. Bernice says:

    is there anyways to send a folder to another mail ,that isn’t msn or yahoo.

    [Reply]

  10. Tom says:

    Drag and drop works for individual emails. How do copy folders containing multiple emails, other than manually creating each folder on the hard drive and copying all the emails as a group?

    [Reply]

    Sean Reply:

    Hi Tom,
    Just thought I would comment back and let you know that we have now included a folder export feature in eFiler. The export will create all the folders for you and file all emails contained within your Outlook folder structure. You can choose to keep or delete the emails from Outlook. Better yet you can search for them from within Outlook and share them with your colleagues when filing them on a network.

    [Reply]

  11. MARIAN says:

    Didn’t work for me. The dragged email went under the opened document where I wanted the copy to be stored.

    Any ideas please?

    [Reply]

    Kevin Reply:

    Marian,

    Which version of Outlook are you using?

    [Reply]

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