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Sharing or forwarding lots of emails to someone

I’m leaving a project and therefor need to transfer the email history, some including attachments, of that project to someone else.

Is there a way to do this without having to forward them individually?

There are a couple of possible approaches here. Which one is best depends on the amount of emails and folders that you are trying to transfer and which mail account type you are using.

Forwarding them manually one-by-one certainly isn’t a recommended approach as that would also remove the original message header and make all those emails appear to be sent by you.

Share a folder within Exchange

Exchange buttonIf you both reside within the same Exchange organization, you can move the messages to a separate folder within your Exchange mailbox and then grant the new project member permissions to that folder so he or she can copy it.

The other way around is also possible; He or she could grant you access to a folder within his/her own mailbox so you can copy your items to it.

Another shared mailbox or Public Folder will do the trick as well.

To set permissions on a folder, right click on the folder within Outlook, choose Properties and select the Permissions tab. For detailed instructions see: Accessing/sharing non-default Outlook folders

Transfer msg-files

Zip msg-files buttonAnother way to go would be to drag & drop these messages out of Outlook and into an Explorer folder. This will create individual msg-files.

You can then zip that folder and send it as an attachment or share it otherwise like via a network share or cloud storage such as OneDrive or Dropbox.

The new project member can then unzip it and move the msg-files back into Outlook via drag & drop as well.

Extra tip! If there are only a few messages to forward, a quicker way would be to select them in Outlook and press the Forward button. This will create a new message with all the messages attached as msg-files. The recipient can then drag and drop them from the attachment field into a folder.

Note: At one point, this method was broken for Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013. Dragging and dropping the msg-files back into Outlook would either create a new message with all the msg-files as attachments or copy the files into the active folder but leave them as msg-files instead of converting them back to actual Outlook items. This issue has been fixed since August 2014 with Hotfix KB2889819 for Outlook 2010 and Hotfix KB2882991 for Outlook 2013. Therefor, make sure that you have all the latest updates applied when you are still facing this issue.

If you are still having drag & drop issues then see: Drag & drop to add attachment no longer works.

Transfer a pst-file

Pst-file buttonYet another method would be to copy the messages into a pst-file, disconnect that pst-file from your Outlook, restart Outlook and send the pst-file as a (zipped) attachment. The recipient can then save zip file, extract the pst-file and connect it to Outlook.

  1. Create a new pst-file.
    • Outlook 2007 and previous
      File-> New-> Outlook Data File…
    • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
      File-> Account Settings-> Account Settings…-> tab Data Files-> button Add…
  2. Select and copy your items to a folder within the newly created pst-file. The “Copy to Folder” keyboard shortcut is: CTRL+SHIFT+Y.
    To copy an entire folder at once, right click the folder and choose: Copy Folder.
  3. Once the items are copied, disconnect the pst-file from Outlook.
    • Outlook 2007 and previous
      File-> Data File Management…-> select pst-file-> button: Remove
    • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
      File-> Account Settings-> Account Settings…-> tab Data Files-> select pst-file-> button: Remove
  4. Close Outlook. This is important as it will release the lock on the pst-file.
  5. Browse to the location of the pst-file, right click on it and choose:
    Send to-> Compress (zipped) folder
    You are of course free to use another compression tool as well.
  6. Reopen Outlook and send the pst-file to the recipient or share it otherwise (see the note below).
  7. The recipient must first save the zip-file to a folder on his computer and extract it by right clicking it and choosing: Extract All… (or use another decompression tool).
  8. The unzipped pst-file can then be connected to Outlook by choosing:
    File-> Open-> Open Outlook Data File
  9. Optionally, the contents of this connected pst-file can be moved/copied to the already existing mailbox (similar to step 2) and remove the transferred pst-file from Outlook (similar to step 3 and 4).

Note: When the pst-file is quite large, it can also be shared via a network share or Cloud Storage such as OneDrive or Dropbox. Just make sure that the pst-file isn’t located on a network share or within a Cloud Storage folder when it is being created or otherwise connect to as that isn’t supported and could lead to corruption of the pst-file.


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