Switch from Windows Outlook to Outlook 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

If you’re used to working in Windows Outlook, but want to switch to Outlook 2011 for Mac, don’t worry — Microsoft makes it easy to switch over. Outlook 2011 is the first Outlook version to take advantage of the new Outlook Identity format. Before starting this process, make a note of the account settings in Outlook for Windows. In Outlook 2010 for Windows, choose File→Info→Account Settings.

If you’re using a version of Outlook for Windows older than Outlook 2010, check Outlook Help for instructions for making an Outlook data file (.pst).

Saving an Outlook for data file

You can migrate your Windows Outlook Identity by making an Outlook data file (.pst) in Outlook for Windows and then importing the .pst file into Outlook 2011 for Mac. Here’s how to save your Outlook data file in Outlook 2010 for Windows.

  1. In Outlook 2010 for Windows, choose File→Options→Advanced→Export and then click the Export button.

    The Import and Export wizard displays. If you don’t see the wizard, try minimizing the visible window, because the wizard may display behind the current window.

  2. Select Export to a File and then click the Next button.

  3. Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and then click the Next button.

    The Select a Folder to Export From dialog displays with the proper folder selected and the Include Subfolders check box selected.

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Give your file a name (be sure to use .pst as the file extension) and then click the Browse button to choose a file location. Note its location and then click the Finish button.

    Outlook asks whether you want to give your file a password.

  6. Leave the Password fields blank and then click OK.

    If you click the Cancel button, Outlook not only cancels adding a password, it cancels making your (.pst) file, and you’ll have to start over in frustration.

Outlook prepares the data file, which you should copy or move to your Mac using a method of your choice. (DVD, USB drive, SkyDrive, and SharePoint are but four of many possible transfer methods.)

Importing an Outlook for Windows data file

To import your saved .pst file in Outlook for Mac, follow these steps:

  1. In Outlook 2011 for Mac, choose File→Import from the menu bar.

  2. Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and then click the right-arrow button at the lower-right corner of the dialog.

  3. Select Outlook for Windows Data File (.pst) and then click the right arrow.

  4. Navigate to the Outlook data file and click the Import button.

    Outlook imports your Identity. If it seems like nothing is happening and the progress bar got all the way to the end, just keep waiting. Eventually you see the Done button.

  5. Click Done.

    Your Identity has been successfully imported.

  6. In Outlook 2011 for Mac, choose Tools→Accounts from the menu bar.

    Enter account information to restore your accounts.