Last reviewed on May 5, 2015   —  8 Comments

Many users need to save some messages a folder on their computer or a file server. While you can just drag and drop messages from Outlook to the file system, this method creates *.MSG files - these are Outlook message files and only Outlook can open them.

If you need to open the message on a computer without Outlook, you will need to save the messages in a universal format, such as Text, HTML, or PDF.

If you are using OWA, see OWA: Save Messages to My Documents

You can use the Save as command to save individual messages in Text or HTML format. To save multiple messages, you'll need to use VBA or a utility. See Tools for a list of utilities that can automate the process and save messages in a variety of formats. Several replicate your Outlook folder structure, which is handy if you are archiving the messages.

File type Options to Save
Msg To save messages in native Outlook message format (.msg), you can drag the message to a folder on your hard drive or use the File, Save as menu. The macro at Save selected email message as .msg file automates this.
Text You can save individual messages in Text format (.txt). When you select several messages, the only option is to save as text. This creates one long text file containing the selected messages. Macro to save as text
HTML File, Save as will allow you to save HTML formatted messages as HTML pages. Outlook 2007/2010 include "support files" for HTML messages. See Save Message as HTML (and delete the folder) for the steps needed to delete the support files.MHT file type will save a single file that is viewed in a browser.
RTF When the message is in RTF format, you can save it as a Word document. If it is not in RTF format, you can convert it to RTF format. We have a VBA macro at Save Messages as *.DOC File Type that (temporarily) converts all messages to RTF format and save them as doc files.
PDF Adobe Acrobat can save messages in a "PDF package". The selected messages (and attachments, if any) are saved in one PDF. Each message is a separate page (or pages) and indexed in the PDF table of contents. It's pretty cool, but you need to own Acrobat.If you have a PDF printer installed, you can print to PDF. The result is not as nice as the PDF package, but it works. See Save Outlook email as a PDF for a macro to saved selected messages as PDF files.
Print to Electronic Image You can print to any electronic format printer you have installed. In general, text in images is not searchable unless you have an OCR program installed that can search image documents.

Tools in the Spotlight


The eFiler toolbar for Outlook enables you to use file system folders as mailboxes, making mailbox size limits and public folders redundant. Search, open, reply to and forward saved emails or share them as zipped attachments or by hyperlink. Emails are filed in msg format with definable filenames with filing references. File using a predictive list, the Drop Panel, or automatically using the eRules feature to make filing transparent. Cloud Sync extends drag and drop filing via IMAP to phones. Supports Microsoft Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 (32 and 64-bit).

HTML Email Archiver

HTML Email Archiver works with all types of Microsoft Outlook folders and archives Outlook items to HTML format or platform-dependent CHM format. This allows you to publish Microsoft Outlook folders on the Internet, or move data from Microsoft Outlook onto other software and hardware platforms, including mobile devices. These archives reproduce the structure of Microsoft Outlook folders, can contain messages or other elements in any language and with any types of attachments, support sorting by several criteria; search with advanced options.



Archive Outlook data as individual files, preserving the Outlook folder structure.

Attachment Save for Exchange

Attachment Save for Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 automatically processes emails and attachments. Save or delete messages and attachments while messages are sent and received through Exchange server. Using Exchange attachment manager, you can block, remove, or save attachments. Provides a system of rules with conditions, actions and exceptions for processing incoming and outgoing messages and attached files. Attachment Save for Exchange consists of two components: Management Console and transport agents set on Exchange servers.


Outlook archiving tool that allows you to store messages with the same folder structure as Outlook, keep archives on CD-ROM, maintain up to 10 archive databases, search archived messages, and compress them to save space.

Extract Microsoft Outlook Emails to Database

Copies key Outlook email properties to an Access or MySQL database. May also work with other ODBC databases. Triggers Outlook security prompt. Free.


MailToFile for MS Outlook is the integrated solution for filing emails outside your Outlook application. You can store your emails directly into a customer or project folder, with only a few mouse clicks. An archived message doesn't change: it remains a regular email! You can easily open, reply and forward all messages. With MailToFile you always have all your digital correspondence filed together.

MessageExport for Outlook

MessageExport for Outlook is an add-in that helps you get your email out of Outlook in particular way. MessageExport lets you save selected or new email messages to different formats, including PDF, EML, MSG, GIF, TIF, HTML, MHT, CSV, txt, and others. MessageExport can convert, name and save Outlook email in a single operation. Includes a timer function, so MessageExport can run every xx minutes to process new emails in a specific Outlook folder and save it in text format on a network folder.

MessageSave for Outlook

MessageSave is an Outlook add-in for archiving and saving email messages. This powerful and intuitive plugin supports msg, txt, eml and mbox formats. It enables manual, rule-based and schedule-based operation. Use MessageSave to save e-mail messages for archiving, data retention, regulatory compliance, document management, backup, email sharing and exporting Outlook email to other mail clients, such as Mac Version

PDF/XPS/DOC Document Exporter for Outlook 2007

Document Exporter brings PDF, XPS and other widely used formats such as DOC, MHT and HTML to Outlook 2007 enabling you to save or simply attach your emails as PDF/XPS. You can batch convert multiple mail (or post) items to multiple file documents in a single-click. Additionally, you can merge and save multiple related mail (or post) items to a single file document. Whatever the technique you use, Document Exporter preserves all the inline/embedded images, hyperlinks in the generated documents.

Personal Message Store Export Utility

Exports Outlook messages to a text file with complete Internet headers. Visual Basic 6.0 source code included.

Save As PDF

Sperry Software is releasing their Save As PDF add-in for Outlook 2013 out of beta testing. This add-in converts emails to PDF files (including attachments). The add-in can convert emails, Word docs, Excel files, and many more formats with no PDF printer driver needed. This tool is for Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 and is now being released for Outlook 2013 (both 32-bit and 64-bit). In addition, several new features have been added like the ability to include the mailbox owner name and the ability to always include the attachments in raw format (instead of transcribing them into the PDF).

Save Message 2.50

Save Message is a MS Outlook add-in which can automatically save mails including attachments to the disk/net folder after emails arrive or are sent. Message body can be saved in plain, RTF, HTML or native Outlook format. There is a possibility to customize message header in the save file and to include attachments info to the saved file. Save Message can work with attachments which were included or embedded to the message or which were included to the message as OLE object.

Save Messages as *.DOC File Type

Do you want to save Outlook messages to the hard drive in *.doc format. While you can do this in Outlook, it takes several steps. We have a VBA macro that saves it for you in one click.


Sharepoint Upload is a command line freeware tool (with .NET source) that can extract e-mails from PST, Public Folders, and Exchange Mailboxes and place on a file system in MSG format (using Redemption). The extracted files are compatible to SharePoint naming conventions.

SWING Porter for Outlook

SWING Porter for Outlook lets you export email messages as PDF files. It natively integrates with Outlook, so you can select emails or entire folders, and convert them to PDFs with a single click. Save converted emails as separate PDF documents (using preconfigured naming conventions), or merge them into PDF binders or packages with embedded views. Use Porter for Outlook for email archiving, sharing, electronic records, closing binders, document management and more.


  1. HansOlof Wallin says

    1) I have tries several time to save e-mails to my files. but every time I am clicking on "save file" tool it disappear. When I am marking the e-mail I want to save, and scrolling to the desired file, it does not work at all.

    2) After having red an e-mail I cannot go back to the in-box. Instead I have to click to the "enter" for inbox.

    My experiemce of the new EMAIL ! system is that it is too slow and too complicated to handle in many aspects. Some is very simple, i.e. enclosing pictures from my "My pictures".

    Awaiting your reply soonest possible

    Kind Regards

  2. Harvey Wachtel says

    I clicked "file -> save" before a forced reboot in the fond belief that it would save the message I was writing in drafts, but when the reboot was complete, my message was nowhere to be found. Diane, you're way ahead of me. I need a simple answer to a simple question -- where did Outlook stash my message?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What type of email account do you use?

      Did you look for more Draft folder on the Folder list? (Ctrl+6)

    • josemazcorro says

      I had the same problem but I checked all the option on Options/Email/Saving messages and it seems now it is working... The only difference with this guy is that I open different windows to make drafts of emails, and I normally just hibernate my computer, but once my computer freak out and shutdown and when I wanted to go back I didn't found my draft.

      Thank you Diane, we are just trying to be more efficient with outlook and you make it true. Big thanks for that


  3. jackie o says

    I have saved my html format email to my computer. However, when i go back to the email i have saved, it is now a rich text email and i am not able to open attachments. How can i fix this?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What is the file extension? What exactly happens when you try to open it - do you get any error messages?

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