Convert PST Files to Adobe PDF Documents

Both PST and PDF are the most common and widely used file formats used by users today. While PST is the file format supported by Microsoft Outlook, PDF is the file format supported by Acrobat Reader. Though they are far different from each other, but both are very powerful file formats of their respective fields. Still, there are situations when users need to convert emails from Outlook PST to PDF Adobe documents. Let's explore more about both file formats and their conversion solultions.

PST Files

PST (Personal Storage Table) is the native file format of MS Outlook and is recognized by all its editions, starting from Outlook 97, 98 to the latest Outlook 2016 (both 32 and 64 bit). It's a personal Folder file that contains all the emails, contacts, notes, tasks, journals and all other details of a single Outlook user account.

If you explore more, you'll find that there are two types of PST files : ANSI and UNICODE. So what are these files and how they are different from each other? ANSI PST files are supported by the earliest edition of MS Outlook – 97 to 2002. The storage capacity of an ANSI PST file is limited to 2GB and if a file exceeds this limit, it may become unusable and gives an error message ".pst has reached maximum size limit" or may get corrupted completely.

To overcome this problem of 2GB limitation, Microsoft came with UNICODE PST files that are supported by Outlook 2003 and all above editions. Outlook 2003 and 2007 editions have storage capacity of 20 GB which increased to 50 GB with Outlook 2010 and all above editions (for both 32 and 64 bit) editions.

Note : You can't open a UNICODE PST in earlier Outlook editions as it is not compatible with them.

PDF Files

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that is used to present, exchange and share documents in an independent manner. Invented by Adobe, A PDF file consists of text, images, hyperlinks, buttons, videos, audios, form fields. Only one application is needed to open PDF file, i.e. Acrobat Reader, and is free from any other software, hardware and operating systems requirements.

A PDF captures all the elements of a document in exactly the same way as it appeared in the application it was created in that can be easily viewed, printed, shared with anyone. A PDF file will look the same in all devices, whether you open it in a Windows machine or a Mac machine. The advantage of using PDF files is the assurance it provides that the intended user will view the document exactly as you want them, irrespective of their system configuration.

Benefits offered by a PDF file

  • A file format that is portable and independent of software, hardware and operating systems.
  • Due to its compressible format, a PDF is the best solution to upload documents on internet, or sharing via emails
  • Requires only Adobe Reader to view, open, access PDF documents
  • User can protect their PDF files by restricting the functions of editing, printing, copying etc. Moreover, a PDF file can be restricted from opening at all, by securing it with a user password.
  • Standard digital format for all important documents that are useful for attorneys, publishers, HR Managers etc.

Why Convert Emails from Outlook PST to PDF?

  • PST files are prone to corruption once it reaches its maximum size limit, whereas there is no such limitation with PDF files.
  • PST files can consume a lot of space on your computer hard drive. PDF file, on the other hand, takes very less disk space due to its support for a range of image compression algorithms, making it very compact in size.
  • PST files are only recognized by Outlook and if a user need to access PST files in some other system, he/she needs to have Outlook installed in that system. Whereas Acrobat Reader is handily available in all systems, whether having Windows or Mac operating systems.

How to Convert Outlook Email to PDF including Attachments

You will find numerous methods to create PDF from PST files. You can adopt anyone acccording to your feasibility and requirements. Manual method to convert PST files to Adobe PDF, via MS Outlook has been given below :

Manual Method for Exporting Email from Outlook to PDF

Outlook 2010 and above editions allows you to manually export Outlook emails to PDF, which can be accomplished using the following steps :

  • Download Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Open Outlook and click on Adobe PDF appearing on the Menu bar. In the sub menu, four tabs will be displayed. Use the first two tabs to bulk export Outlook emails to PDF :

    convert PST to PDF manually

    • Selected Messages : This option will migrate email messages into PDF.
      First, from the options - create new or append to existing, select the one as per your needs. Right click the message >> click "Convert to Adobe PDF", enter the name to save the output PDF file and click Save button. The email will be saved into PDF document along with the embedded attachments.
    • Selected Folders : This option will migrate Messages Folder to Adobe PDF.
      First, save all the email messages that you want to export, in a folder. Click "Convert Selected Folders" tab, select the folder containing all the messages to start the conversion process.

After the process is finished, view the converted Outlook emails in Adobe Acrobat as emails (now in PDF format). All the attachments will be shown as hyperlinks. Click on these hyperlinks.

Disadvantages of Manual Method :

  • MS Outlook and Adobe Acrobat needs to be installed in users' system to create PDF from PST.
  • Since this option works only with MS Outlook 2010 and above editions, users having below version of Outlook don't have the facility to use this method.
  • With "Selected Folder" option, all the emails gets converted into a single PDF and leaves no room for saving multiple emails in separate PDF files. (Though selected messages option is there for that, but that would be tiring if a user has thousands of mails).
  • Attachments are embedded within the email message, and there is no option to save them separately.
Create PDF from PST without Outlook - Third Party Solution

As you have seen that manual method needs some prerequisites to be followed for getting the desired results, which at times are unable to be followed. So, its better to use some easy method and what better option than using a third party application that will serve your purpose of exporting email from Outlook to PDF without any conditions. PST to PDF Export Tool is such a utility that works independently and needs only PST files for execution. There are no special requirements to have MS Outlook or Acrobat Reader or any other software installed on your system to convert Outlook folder to PDF. It also supports batch mode, which means you can convert your 'n' number of PST files to PDF, in a single cycle.

All other benefits offered by the PST to PDF software are as follows :

  • Provides option to create separate PDF file for every email message or save all the emails in one PDF.
  • Convert Outlook email to PDF including attachments using the two options : embed attachments within the PDF or save them in separate folder
  • Multiple file saving options to either include or exclude deleted emails, or export only deleted emails
  • Batch option to bulk export Outlook emails to PDF at once
  • Convert both types of PST files – ANSI and UNICODE
  • Works with all Windows editions – 10, 8.1, 8, 7, etc.

Get FREE Trial for Complete Product Evaluation

Download the free trial edition of PST to PDF Export Tool and get complete evaluation done, completely FREE. Use the demo to export first 20 emails from PST file to PDF that will be enough to know its working capabilities. To batch convert PST files to Adobe PDF document, you'll need to purchase the licensed edition of the software.