Filename extension: .pst
Developed by: Microsoft
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The PST file format is an intricate part of email management for many users. Standing for Personal Storage Table, PST files were developed by Microsoft and are primarily used by Microsoft Outlook to store copies of messages, calendar events, and other items. Introduced with the Microsoft Exchange Client in the early 1990s, the PST format has since become synonymous with personal data files in Outlook.

Understanding PST Files

PST files represent a proprietary file format used to store personal information used in Microsoft software, most notably Microsoft Outlook. This format is designed as a single database file that can hold a user's email messages, contacts, calendar appointments, and other Outlook items. PST files enable users to manage their information on their personal computers, separate from the server.

Functionality and Use

The functionality of PST files is crucial for users who need to access their email data offline or back up their Outlook information. Since PST files keep a local copy of email data, users can access their emails, contacts, and calendar information without an internet connection. However, one should be mindful of PST files' size limits, as performance issues may arise with overly large files.

Popular Software That Uses PST

Microsoft Outlook is the primary software that utilizes PST files for storing personal data. It allows users to export and import PST files, facilitating easy migration of email data between different machines or email accounts. Other software solutions have since been developed to manage PST files, offering services such as viewing, recovering, and converting PST data without the need for Outlook.

Alternative File Formats

Alternative file formats to PST include OST (Offline Storage Table) and MBOX. OST files are used by Microsoft Exchange and are intended for offline use, synchronizing with the server once the connection is restored. MBOX, on the other hand, is a more generic file format used for storing email messages in a single text file. It is utilized by several email clients, including Mozilla Thunderbird and Apple Mail. These alternatives offer different methods of data storage and management, catering to various user needs and preferences.


The PST file type has been a cornerstone in personal data management for users of Microsoft Outlook for decades. While essential and widely utilized, users should also be aware of its limitations and the potential need to manage large files. With technology advancing, alternatives to PST offer additional options for storing and managing email data, contributing to the dynamic landscape of personal information management.

Supported converters for PST files

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One of well known online converters out there Zamzar is a widely recognized, online conversion platform that is dedicated to...
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Powerful and free XnConvert is a fast, powerful and free image converter for Windows, MacOS or Linux or even Android...
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