a short how-to guide and overview of conversion tools
The MSG file format is native to Outlook in a sense that any PST or OST file is essentially a collection of MSG files combined with files of other types representing different Outlook items and objects. Files of this format can be generated and/or extracted using various data conversion and extraction programs, such as recovery, anti-virus or data inspection tools. You may also inherit an archive of MSG files from another user or extract messages from other email clients into this format. In other words, MSG files can be generated in a number of ways, but the key question is “How do I convert MSG to Outlook quickly, reliably and with a minimum of efforts?”
Since individual emails can be easily dragged out of Outlook and saved on the hard drive as MSG message files, the reverse process is also possible. Therefore, the first and the most obvious option is to drag individual messages back into Outlook where they will be added to the currently opened folder. This may do the trick if you have a few dozen messages in a single location, but if you are dealing with a large archive composed of a mix of text and binary MSG files in different subfolders, using a specialized conversion tool would be a better option. Such a tool would ensure that none of the files are missed, skipped, converted incorrectly or appear unreadable in the target mail folder.
The market offers a wide assortment of MSG to Outlook conversion tools capable of handling this task, each slightly different in terms of process and UI, but very similar in concept. All of them automate the process of importing emails to Outlook in the batch mode, so the choice of the right program will ultimately depend on your personal preferences, the comfort of using a particular tool and, of course, your budget. Some are single-function tools, others offer MSG to PST conversion as one of a whole set of data conversion features. We’ve looked them up and picked the ones that seem to be the most user-friendly, efficient and reliable.
MSG to Outlook Conversion Tools Worth Checking Out
A quick search for “MSG to Outlook converter” or “MSG to PST conversion” will instantly bring up pages full of conversion services and tools. Having tried a few dozen of them, we recommend the following ones (which, of course, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t even look at others!):
Outlook Import Wizard
One of the unquestionable favorites of this review, the product supports a variety of data formats, including EML, EMLX, DAT, VCF and, of course, MSG. In fact, the functionality of the program allows you to to pack files of any format into Outlook PST files and use them as data containers! Moreover, the program’s installation package includes a compact, yet powerful conversion utility for an even greater number of email formats, including the most exotic ones. All of this makes Outlook Import Wizard a real Swiss army knife suitable for all types of message transfers to Outlook. We were really impressed by the simplicity and straightforwardness of the program’s UI, especially given its hefty list of features. Standard ones, like the support of 4+ GB PST files, password-protected files and batch file processing, come by default in all tools of this type, and Outlook Import Wizard is no exception.
At just $25.99 for a 1-year home license, this product is a huge bang for the buck and the most affordable MSG to PST converter among the ones we reviewed.
MSG to Outlook Transfer
All we have to say there – it is the simplest tool for any kind of MSG to Outlook conversion. Right from the start the MSG to Outlook Transfer tool prompts to select the location of MSG files. It can be the topmost folder of the nested folders structure containing your *.msg files. The tool recursively searches each *.msg file and prepares them to be converted. You may want to select several options, one is very important – it allows to specify the format of your MSG files. For example – emails saved from The Bat! assigned with .msg extension however the file format is differ. MSG to Outlook Transfer handles multiple MSG formats so it is not a problem. Then you may choose the conversion Mode: Save to PST file or Import to Outlook. After that it is remain to do the rest and press the button to start the conversion. As a result you will get your MSG files properly encoded and import to Outlook or PST file.
SysTools MSG to PST Converter
The first tool in our review is a typical representative of this class of software. The interface of the program resembles that of Outlook itself and enables you to quickly navigate to the folder containing your MSG files. There is also a preview window that supports multiple preview modes for you’re your convenience, including HEX, MIME, Message Header, Properties and Attachments, among others. Hitting the Export button brings up the main conversion dialog, where you can specify the location for the resulting PST file (or files if you choose to split it into several files of a specific size). The tool keeps the original folder structure and generally demonstrates decent performance with MSG file archives of any size. With it’s simple Outlook-style interface and a very straightforward approach to email transfer, this compact tool definitely deserves a try.
Fookes Software Aid4Mail
One of the most powerful and versatile converters in our review, Aid4Mail features a convenient wizard-based interface and supports an impressive array of mail formats, including, of course, MSG. The most affordable Home edition priced at just $29.95 for a two-week license allows you to transfer any number of MSG files to Microsoft Outlook with a couple of mouse clicks. Other features include powerful email filtering capabilities, context-sensitive help throughout the interface and even a built-in scripting language that lets you create custom email export scenarios. Overall, it’s a solid product definitely worth your attention. A two-week demo version costs just $29.95.
SoftSpire MSG to PST Converter
Another simple tool that gets the job done. The product offers all the basic features of an MSG to Outlook converter, such as batch file processing, conversion of messages with all associated elements, inclusion of message attachments into resulting PST files, and preservation of the original folder structure. The official site claims that the tool has been tested with email archives containing as many as 15,000 messages, and although we didn’t get a chance to reproduce this, the results of our test were quite good. This MSG to PST Converter supports all major Windows and Outlook versions, so regardless of how old your system is, it is very likely to work for your needs. Overall, the product is definitely worth checking out, especially if you have no experience with products of this type – its no-brainer interface will let you get from A to B in a wink of an eye. The only downside of the product is the price, which is a bit on the steep side.
Total Mail Converter from CoolUtils
Another candidate for the title of the most functional converter in this review, TMC from CoolUtils offers the same array of features as all of the competitors, yet allows you to do a bit more – and this extra set of features may come in handy for some users. First of all, its support of the command line and BAT files enables users to automate the data import process and create different conversion scenarios for regular use. The product is capable of exporting more than just emails with attachments, but also DOC, PDF, XPS, HTML, JPEG and other file types. Finally, data export reports can be automatically sent to the user’s email, which is convenient for keeping a log of your export operations.
The UI of the program is fairly standard for this type of conversion products, so don’t expect surprises here. Overall, TMC from CoolUtils is a good product offering not just email conversion functionality, but a few nice features on top of it. However, the price is the highest of all the products we reviewed.
The bottom line is simple. Although MSG to PST is not the most complex type of conversion out there, large archives are a lot easier to move to Outlook using specialized software. Virtually every tool we’ve tested had the same kind of functionality, with occasional extras included here and there. Our personal favorites are Outlook Import Wizard and Total Mail Converter that stand out by offering the possibility to save files of various formats to PST and generally having the most balanced functionality among others.