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Since Outlook will contain all your business and personal correspondence, contacts, schedule, and stored information, it's crucial to have a solid backup strategy. Outlook stores all its data in your Documents folder in a folder called Microsoft User Data and then in the folder called Office 2011 Identities. All your emails, contacts, and the like are stored as individual files. But be very careful not to touch any of these files and the subfolders. If you try and manage your content here instead of in Outlook itself, you can easily corrupt your data.
But this structure does make it easy to back up. If you are using Time Machine or another backup program, it will be automatic and painless. If you have heard of past concerns with backing of Entourage, rest assured that Outlook does not have the same issues. That was one of the considerations that led Microsoft to develop Outlook for Mac in the first place. If you are using a Microsoft Exchange account, your corporate backup system will take care of your data, but be aware that any data stored in personal folders may not be included.
In that circumstance please discuss your situation with your IT department. You can also export your entire Outlook program to a data file with .olm extension. This can serve as a backup or as a way to transfer your entire Outlook to another computer. To make your backup go to the Tools Ribbon and then click on the Export button. We are going to choose Outlook for Mac Data File, a .olm. I could select just items that are in a certain category or items of the following types.
And I could pick and choose, but I would like to export everything. You needed to be that if you are on an Exchange Server, contacts from the directory will not be exported nor will items in any public folders, your account settings, or your preferences. If you are using Outlook in your own environment, absolutely everything will be exported. I will click the Next button. Definitely do not delete your items unless you're absolutely positive you won't ever need them again. I will go on to the next screen and I'll choose a location to save my OLM file.
Click Save and it will begin to export. Now depending on the size of your Outlook database, this might take a while. My export is complete and I'll click Done. Now one last way to move data out of Outlook is to simply drag it. I'll resize my window so you can see my desktop. I'll go ahead and close that Finder window. I can drag any of my items onto my desktop for archiving or importing into other applications. Email messages are saved with the extension .eml.
Contacts are saved as .vcf. Calendar events and tasks are saved as .ics and Notes are .html files. All of these formats are common file types and you'll be able to move the items around very easily. Just be sure to use a backup tool or create an Outlook archive on a regular basis so that if anything happens to your computer, you don't lose all of your history.
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