How to Import PST to Office 365 - A Complete Guide

Dec 29, 2023 | By Deepak Singh Bisht

Transitioning to Office 365 marks a significant step in embracing cloud-based efficiency. However, this move isn't just about adopting a new platform; it's also about ensuring that your valuable email history, currently stored in PST files in Outlook, comes along with you. Whether it's personal correspondences, business emails, or important contacts and calendar entries, importing your PST file into Office 365 is a crucial step. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how to migrate PST to Office 365, making your transition smooth and ensuring your data remains accessible and intact.

What is a PST file?

A PST file, or Personal Storage Table file, is a data storage file used by Microsoft Outlook to store a user's email data. This includes not only emails but also calendar events, contacts, tasks, and notes. The PST file is a key component of Outlook, especially for users who manage their email data locally rather than, or in addition to, on a server.

Features and functionality: PST files are unique in that they allow users to store data offline. This means users can access and manage their email data without an internet connection. Moreover, PST files can be password-protected for added security, making them a personal and secure storehouse of information.

Usage in different scenarios: These files are often used for backup purposes, archiving, or transferring email data from one account or computer to another. For instance, if you're upgrading to a new computer, you can simply transfer your PST file to maintain continuous access to your email history.

What is Office 365?

Office 365, recently rebranded as Microsoft 365, is a cloud-based suite of productivity applications and services offered by Microsoft. It encompasses widely used applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and, crucially for our discussion, Outlook.

Key features and benefits: The main advantage of Office 365 is its cloud-based nature, allowing users to access their data from any device, anywhere, as long as they have internet access. It also offers enhanced collaboration features, regular updates, and integrates seamlessly with a range of other services and applications.

Office 365 vs traditional Office applications: Unlike traditional Office applications that are installed on a single device, Office 365's applications are accessible across multiple devices. This provides a level of flexibility and accessibility that is essential in today's mobile and interconnected world.

Importance of migrating PST files to Office 365

Maintaining continuity: Migrating PST files to Office 365 is important for several reasons. Primarily, it helps in maintaining continuity. When you move to Office 365, you don't want to lose access to your historical email data, which can be crucial for reference, legal compliance, or personal records.

Enhanced accessibility and collaboration: By importing PST files into Office 365, you make your data accessible from any device connected to the internet. This cloud-based approach not only enhances accessibility but also collaboration, as your data is no longer confined to a single device.

Security and reliability: Office 365 provides robust security features and reliable data backup options, ensuring that your data is both secure and recoverable in case of any unforeseen events. This is a significant improvement over relying solely on local PST files, which can be susceptible to data loss due to hardware failure or other issues.

Future-proofing your data: Lastly, migrating to Office 365 is a step towards future-proofing your data management strategy. With the increasing shift towards cloud-based solutions in the business world, having your data in Office 365 positions you to take advantage of emerging technologies and integrations.

Migrating these files to Office 365 not only ensures the continuity of your data but also leverages the advanced features of a modern, cloud-based platform. This migration is a key step in aligning with current technological trends and enhancing the overall efficiency and security of your data management.

Preparing for PST to Office 365 migration

Proper preparation is crucial for a successful migration of PST files to Office 365. This phase sets the foundation for a smooth transition, ensuring that all your vital email data is moved securely and efficiently. Below, we detail the key steps involved in this preparation process.

  1. Identifying PST files: Start by locating all the PST files on your system. These files might be spread across different directories, especially if you've been using Outlook for a long time or on multiple devices. Common locations include the default Outlook directory, any archive folders you've created, or custom directories where you might have stored backups.
  2. Analyzing file size and content: PST files can vary greatly in size. Large files can be more challenging to migrate and may need special attention. Additionally, review the content of these files to determine what needs to be migrated. Some older emails or data might not be necessary for transfer, which can simplify the process.
  3. Checking for corruption and repair: PST files can become corrupted over time. Use the Inbox Repair tool (scanpst.exe) provided by Microsoft to scan and repair any issues within your PST files. Migrating a corrupted PST file to Office 365 can result in data loss or migration failures.
  4. Backup your PST files: Before you begin the migration process, ensure that you have a complete backup of your PST files. This step is a safeguard against any data loss that might occur during the migration.
  5. Update Outlook and Office applications: Ensure that your version of Outlook and other Office applications are up to date. This can help in avoiding compatibility issues with Office 365.
  6. Gather necessary credentials and permissions: You will need administrative access to both your local machine and your Office 365 account. Ensure you have the necessary credentials and permissions for a hassle-free migration process.
  7. Plan for downtime if necessary: Depending on the size of the PST files and the method of migration, there might be some downtime. Plan accordingly, especially if you are managing a migration for a business or organization.
  8. Know your Office 365 plan and limitations: Different Office 365 plans come with different features and limitations. Understand the specifics of your plan, particularly the storage limits, as this could impact how much data you can migrate.
  9. Understand Office 365 security and compliance features: Office 365 offers various security and compliance features that might not be available in your standalone Outlook setup. Understanding these features can help you better plan the migration, especially for sensitive or confidential data.
  10. Internet bandwidth and connectivity: A stable and fast internet connection is crucial for uploading PST files to Office 365. Assess your current bandwidth and plan the migration at a time when network usage is minimal to optimize the upload speed.

By thoroughly preparing for your PST to Office 365 migration, you reduce the risk of potential issues and ensure a smoother transition of your valuable email data to the cloud. This preparation phase is critical in setting the stage for a successful migration experience.

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How to import PST to Office 365?

Migrating your PST files to Office 365 is a significant step in ensuring that your email data is seamlessly integrated into a more dynamic and accessible cloud-based environment. There are primarily two ways to accomplish this: using a manual method or leveraging a third-party PST to Office 365 import tool. In this section, we'll explore both methods in detail, providing you with comprehensive insights and steps to ensure a smooth transition of your data.

Method 1: Upload PST to Office 365 using the Network Upload Method

The Network Upload Method involves uploading your PST files directly to Office 365 using the Azure AzCopy tool. This method is suitable for organizations with a reasonable amount of data and a reliable internet connection. It allows you to securely transfer PST files over the network to Office 365 without the need for physical drive shipping.

Step 1: Export PST from Outlook

  1. Open MS Outlook.
  2. Go to File > Open & Export > Import/Export.
  3. Choose the Export to a file option and click Next.
  4. Pick Outlook Data File (.pst) from the list.
  5. Select the folders you wish to export. Check the option to include subfolders if needed.
  6. Choose a location on your computer to save the exported PST file.
  7. Click Finish. You might be prompted to set a password for the PST file, which is optional.

Step 2: Initial setup in Microsoft 365 Admin Center

  1. Log In to Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
  2. Ensure the account you're using has 'Mailbox Import and Export' permissions. To check, follow these steps:
    • Navigate to the App Launcher and click on Admin.
    • In the Admin Center, select Show all.
    • Locate the All Admin Center to review your account permissions. A Global Admin account typically has the necessary permissions.

Step 3: Start Import Process

  1. Visit
  2. Navigate to Data Lifecycle Management and select Microsoft 365.
  3. Go to the Import tab.
  4. Click on + New import job. Enter the job name, avoiding spaces and uppercase letters, and click Next.
  5. On the "Do you want to upload or ship data?" page, click Upload your data and then Next.
  6. From the Import data screen, click Show Network upload SAS URL. Copy this URL and save it in Notepad.

Step 4: Download and install Azure AzCopy

  1. From the Import data screen, click on the link provided to download the Azure AzCopy tool.
  2. 2. Install Azure AzCopy on your local computer. This tool is essential for uploading PST files to Microsoft 365.

Step 5: Upload PST files using Azure AzCopy

  1. Open Command Prompt.
  2. Launch Azure AzCopy.
  3. Execute Upload Command:

    AzCopy.exe Copy <SourceLocationOfPSTFiles> <SASURL>

    Replace <SourceLocationOfPSTFiles> with your PST file path and <SASURL> with the copied SAS URL. Make sure to add a forward slash at the end of the PST file path.

    Example: AzCopy.exe Copy "\\D:\projectpst\syscurve\File\*" "SASURL"

Step 6: Create PST Import Mapping file

  1. Download the PST import mapping file
  2. Workload: Leave this on Exchange
  3. File Path: Leave blank the File Path
  4. Name: Enter PST file name
  5. Mailbox: Provide the mailbox where you want to import data
  6. IsArchive: If you want to import the PST file to the archive folder, then set it to True. For the primary mailbox, set it to False
  7. TargetRootFolder: Leave blank if you want to import PST data into a new folder

Step 7: Complete import process in Microsoft 365

  1. Return to Import Data page. In the Microsoft 365 import section, confirm I'm done uploading my files and I have access to the mapping file, and click on the Next button.
  2. From the Select mapping file page, click + Upload file, select your CSV mapping file, and click Open. Validate the file to ensure accuracy.

Step 8: Finalize the import

  1. After the mapping file is validated, your PST files will start being imported into Microsoft 365.
  2. Check your Microsoft 365 account to confirm that the PST files have been successfully imported.

Following these steps will help you to manually upload PST to Office 365 using the Network Upload method. This approach is particularly useful for organizations with large volumes of email data to transfer.

Method 2: Import PST to Office 365 Using Outlook

This method utilizes Microsoft Outlook to import PST files directly into your Office 365 account. It's a straightforward process suitable for individual users or small businesses with access to Outlook and a relatively small amount of PST data. This method is particularly useful if you prefer a more graphical and interactive approach to importing your data.

Note: Before starting the import process, ensure that you have a backup of your PST files to prevent data loss in case of any issues.

Step 1: Configure Office 365 account in Outlook

  1. Launch Outlook and add your Office 365 account if it's not already configured.
  2. Go to File > Add Account and enter your Office 365 credentials.
  3. Ensure that your Office 365 account is set up and synchronized in Outlook. This might take some time depending on the size of your mailbox.

Step 2: Import PST file into Office 365 account

  1. In Outlook, go to File > Open & Export > Import/Export.
  2. Select Import from another program or file and then click Next.
  3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and then Next.
  4. Browse to the PST file you want to import. Choose whether to allow duplicates to be created or not.
  5. Choose the Office 365 mailbox or specific folder within your Office 365 account where you want to import the PST file contents.
  6. Finish the wizard and start the import process. Outlook will begin importing the contents of the PST file into your Office 365 account.

If the PST file is large, the import process might take a considerable amount of time. It's advisable to migrate PST to Office 365 during off-peak hours to avoid disruption. A stable internet connection is required throughout the import process, as Outlook will be synchronizing the data with the Office 365 servers.

Using Outlook to import PST files into Office 365 is a user-friendly and effective method, especially for those who prefer a less technical approach. It allows for direct control over where and how the PST data is imported into your Office 365 account.

Method 3: Import PST to Office 365 using PST to Office 365 Import tool

If manual methods seem cumbersome or if you're seeking a more straightforward approach to move PST files to Office 365, using a third-party tool can be a viable alternative. For this purpose, we'll focus on the SysCurve PST to Office 365 migration tool, known for its efficiency and user-friendliness. It is one of the best software, which provides the best way to upload PST to Office 365.

  1. Download and install the PST to Office 365 import tool.
  2. Launch the software
  3. Click in the Add File, select the PST file and click on the OK button to start the loading process
  4. After the loading process, the software will display all your data inside the software window
  5. Click on the Export and select Export All Folders
  6. Choose either Export to Primary Mailbox or Export to In-place Archive Mailbox option
  7. Provide a path to save the log file and click on the Next button
  8. Enter Office 365 credential and click on the Sign-in button
  9. After the process, the software will upload PST to Office 365 account.

Other helpful features

  • Easily import PST to Office 365 Primary or In-place Archive mailbox
  • Provide option to upload selected folders to Office 365
  • Maintain original hierarchy folder structure
  • Provide Bulk and Impersonate Export option
  • Free PST to Office 365 migration for the first 20 items per folder
  • Support all edition of Windows OS, including Windows 10

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most efficient way to import PST files into Office 365?

The most efficient way to import PST to Office 365 depends on the size of your PST files and your technical expertise. While manual methods like using Outlook or the Network Upload Method are effective, a third-party PST to Office 365 import tool like SysCurve can simplify and accelerate the process, especially for bulk migrations.

Can I import PST to Office 365 without using Outlook?

Yes, you can upload PST to Office 365 without using Outlook. The Network Upload Method is a popular choice for this, allowing you to move PST files directly to Office 365 without needing Outlook. Alternatively, third-party tools like SysCurve offer a straightforward solution to migrate PST to Office 365.

How can I migrate multiple PST files to Office 365 efficiently?

To migrate multiple PST files to Office 365 efficiently, consider using a tool like SysCurve PST to Office 365 import Tool. This software provides a Bulk Export option, making it easier to handle multiple PST files at once, maintaining the original folder structure and ensuring a seamless migration.

Is there a way to move PST to Office 365 for free?

While there's no dedicated free tool to move PST to Office 365, Microsoft's Network Upload Method offers a no-cost solution. This method involves manually uploading PST files to Office 365. However, for a more streamlined process, SysCurve Import PST to Office 365 tool offers a user-friendly interface and advanced features, though it is a paid solution.

How do I import Outlook PST into Office 365 with complete data integrity?

To import an Outlook PST file into Office 365 while maintaining data integrity, use a reliable import method. The Network Upload Method or a trusted import PST to Office 365 tool like SysCurve ensures that all your emails, contacts, and calendar entries are accurately transferred to Office 365.

What are the benefits of using a PST to Office 365 import tool?

Using a PST to Office 365 import tool, such as SysCurve, offers benefits like ease of use, time efficiency, the ability to handle large volumes of data, and maintaining the integrity and structure of your PST files during the migration process.

What are the key differences between manual methods and using a PST to Office 365 import tool?

Manual methods, such as using Outlook or the Network Upload Method, require more hands-on steps and can be time-consuming, especially for large data sets. In contrast, a import PST to Office 365 tool like SysCurve PST to Office 365 import tool automates the process, offering a faster, more user-friendly approach with additional features like selective data migration and bulk uploads.

How do I handle large PST files when importing them into Office 365?

For large PST files, using a third-party tool like SysCurve can be more efficient. These tools are designed to handle large files more effectively than manual methods.

What should I do if I encounter errors while importing PST files into Office 365?

If you encounter errors during the import process, first ensure that your PST files are not corrupted and that your Office 365 account has the necessary permissions. If using a manual method, double-check your steps for accuracy.

The final word

The migration of PST files to Office 365 is more than just a technical necessity; it's a strategic move towards a future-proofed, cloud-based ecosystem. By choosing the right method - be it manual or through a tool like SysCurve PST to Office 365 import tool, you ensure that your transition to Office 365 is not only successful but also positions you to leverage the full potential of Microsoft's powerful cloud platform.

Whether you choose to manually upload PST to Office 365, leverage Outlook for a direct import, or utilize the advanced capabilities of SysCurve, the goal remains the same: to move PST to Office 365 safely, efficiently, and without any data loss. This guide aims to make your transition to Office 365 as smooth as possible, ensuring your email data is secure, accessible, and ready for the cloud-first world.

Remember, the future of data management is in the cloud, and by importing PST files to Office 365, you're taking a significant step towards embracing this future.

The Author

Deepak Singh Bisht

Deepak Singh Bisht

Content Lead |

Deepak Singh Bisht is a dedicated IT professional with over 9 years of experience, is a key member at SysCurve Software for the last 5 years. His expertise lies in email migration and data recovery, with a focus on technologies like MS Outlook and Office 365. Deepak, who also delves into front-end technology and software development, holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Applications.

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