Sure, it’s not hard at all. There are a few approaches, and the one that you take will depend on what you’re attempting to accomplish.
Before we begin, let’s make sure that we’re talking about Outlook, not Outlook.com. The two are unrelated.
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The simplest approach might be to use Save As. (Note that my examples are Outlook 2013, but the techniques apply to prior versions as well.)
Click the message that you want to save in the message list:
Click the File menu and select Save As:
By default, Outlook will use the subject line as the file name to be created. When saving a single message, you actually have several different formatting options:
- Outlook Message Format – Unicode – The complete message, including support for all possible foreign character sets. The resulting file can be read only by Outlook.
- Outlook Message Format – The complete message, but not including all possible character sets. This is smaller and typically sufficient for most western languages. The resulting file can be read only by Outlook.
- Outlook Template – A format that can be used by Outlook as a template when creating new messages.
- Text Only – The plain text of the message only. Formatting, attachments, images, and extended headers are stripped.
- HTML – The message saved as an HTML file, including a sub-folder for all embedded images and support files.
- MHT files – A format that is similar to HTML, except all embedded images and support files are actually included and encapsulated into a single file.
You can also select multiple messages simultaneously (using Control+click or Shift+click), but when you attempt a Save As, the only option presented will be Text Only and all the selected messages will be placed into a single file.
If your intent is to simply save the messages to be opened again in Outlook at some later time, saving them in either of the Outlook Message Formats (.msg files) is probably best. Double-clicking one of those files will open the file immediately in Outlook.
Doing that 400 times seems like a tad much, and plain text format may not be what you want. Fortunately, there is a somewhat quicker way.
Select multiple messages using whatever technique you find most comfortable (typically using either Ctrl+click one at a time or Shift-click to select a range):
Open Windows Explorer (aka File Explorer) and navigate to the folder where you want to place those messages.
Now, simply click and hold the messages in Outlook and then drag-and-drop them to the Windows Explorer window:
The result? Multiple .msg files:
Print the messages
If you only want to archive the messages (meaning you don’t plan to ever reply, forward, or use them in the context of an email program again), one of the most flexible options is to print them.
I’m not talking about printing them on paper. Instead, I recommend that you get a print-to-PDF printer driver. As discussed in CutePDF Writer – Create PDFs from any application that can print, you can then print the message to a PDF file.
How you use the PDF file is up to you. Copy it, save it, burn it to CD, or put it on your USB drive for archival purposes. It’s all good.
The benefit of this approach is that PDF files can be read anywhere – you won’t need Outlook to examine their contents.
Save the PST
As outlined in my Where is my Outlook “PST” file located? article, you can locate the actual PST or OST file that contains your 400 messages and just copy the entire thing to the location of your choice:
This has the additional side-effect of copying everything else in your OST or PST as well, including address book, contacts or whatever else you might have.
For completeness, I have to include Outlook’s own Export capability.
Click the File menu and then select Open & Export. You’ll see an option to Import/Export:
The problem is that Outlook’s export has always been frustratingly anemic. In reality, you can only export to another PST or a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. The latter would be useful if you needed to import your email into a program like Excel.
Outlook’s tools for exporting or copying messages result in either:
- Files that can be read only by Outlook.
- Files that don’t have 100% of the original information (headers and/or formatting).
As a result, third-party tools and applications arose to make other tasks – like exporting in a format that can be read by a different email program – possible or easier.
I don’t have a specific recommendation, but if what you’re attempting to do is in conflict with either of those two results, you’ll need to turn to third-party solutions and add-ons.