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How to Backup IMAP Emails to PST Using MS Outlook?

Best 3 Methods to Backup IMAP Emails to PST

Summary: Are you searching for an effective solution of how to export IMAP to PST in Outlook? If yes, this write-up will provide you with the best 3 methods to backup IMAP Emails to PST format. In this write-up, we are going to discuss the manual and professional approaches that help you to export IMAP emails to PST.  IMAP is an incoming email protocol that serves as an intermediary between the email server and your email client. Nowadays, all modern email service providers support the IMAP protocol to connect with the email server. It allows an email client to access your emails from a remote server. Typically, the IMAP server uses port 143, and over SSL/TLS, it uses a 993 port. Multiple email client applications sync the emails from the IMAP server. Some of the well-known email clients are Gmail, MS Outlook, eM client, Mailbird, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc. However, some email service providers like Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo save data in OST format while configured with IMAP settings in MS Outlook.  This Outlook Offline Storage Data (OST) is not portable, and like any other digital information, this IMAP data is also vulnerable to cyber threats. Before discussing the detailed methods, let’s check out some of the common issues that induce this demand.

Why Do We Need to Backup IMAP Emails?

Data plays a vital role to understand the targeted audience and their preferences. Email conversation is one of the essential operations to achieve the major business goals. Following are some of the reasons that make the IMAP data vulnerable.

  • Data loss due to application crashes.
  • Malware/virus attacks cause risk to your email data.
  • Hardware failure or damage.
  • Data theft through a phishing attack. 

Hence, it is recommended to backup IMAP emails to PST, or you can save IMAP emails locally in PDF format. Now, let’s go through the detailed procedure to accomplish this task.

Methods to Export IMAP to Outlook PST

You can opt for any of the two different approaches to backup your IMAP emails. These approaches are highly efficient and easy to perform with minimum risk of data loss. 

  • Export IMAP data to PST Using Outlook – Manual Approach
  • Backup IMAP Emails Using Advanced Software Approach 

Backup IMAP to PST Using Outlook – Manual Approach

This manual approach is further subdivided into two sections. We know that after configuring Outlook with the IMAP account, it saves IMAP emails locally in OST format.  Therefore, to prevent this file data from being damaged, you need to export this locally saved OST file to PST format. 

Solution 1: Export IMAP to PST Using MS Outlook 

It is one of the fastest solutions to backup IMAP emails to PST format. You need to follow the steps below to perform this task. 

  1. Open the MS Outlook and configure it with your IMAP account.
  2. Then, click on the File menu. Select the Open & Export tab.
  3. Now, choose the Import/Export option. 
  4. It will navigate you to the Import and Export Wizard.
  5. Here, select the Export to a file option and press the Next button.
  6. Now, select the Outlook Data File (.pst) and proceed to the next step.
  7. This will provide you the option to Select The Folder and then click on the Next button.
  8. Browse the location where you want to save the exported PST file.
  9. After that, select the options below and press the Finish button to convert the IMAP OST file to PST. 

Solution 2: Change IMAP Settings to POP3

To backup IMAP emails to PST, you can also change the IMAP settings to POP3. This is quite a complex task to make sure that you have the server configuration details while setting up the POP3 account. 

  • Select the POP3 instead of IMAP from the Account Type option of the Server Information wizard. 
  • Then, configure it with the POP3 account server details. 

Note: While configuring the POP3 account with Outlook, set it to leave a message on the server for a few days. 

  • After setting up the POP3 account, all the emails from the Inbox folder of your IMAP account get downloaded.

However, any subfolders and your sent folder won’t download as POP3 only allows downloading the main Inbox folder.  You can transfer your data simply by using the copy or move command. For inbox or sent items folders, you need to select the messages instead of a folder to move any data. Apart from this, several other complications induce the demand to opt for a more professional approach. 

Backup IMAP Emails Using Advanced Software Approach

This approach consists of an advanced IMAP Backup Tool that helps to export IMAP emails to PST securely. Apart from this, you should consider the following points while opting for such utility. 

  • It should allow you to save IMAP emails to PDF, EML, MBOX, MSG, and other file formats.
  • This utility must comprise some advanced features that ensure high data integrity.
  • You should be able to select the specific file folder within a particular date range for the conversion process.
  • Moreover, it should facilitate migrating the IMAP emails into various webmail clients.

These are some key features of IMAP Email Backup Software. However, it depends upon the user whether he wants to opt for such an automated tool to backup IMAP emails.  


After going through this article, now you can backup IMAP emails to PST using a manual or professional approach. Additionally, it provides the main reasons that generate the need to backup IMAP emails. Moreover, you can also save IMAP emails locally in PDF or any desired format with the help of an automated tool.

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