Which File Types Does Outlook Export Wizard Work With?

January 11th, 2013 Atie Uhan

This article will help you figure out how to use Outlook Export Wizard to convert files from MSG to EML, and what exactly the MHT format and TNEF are. Additionally, you will learn about cases when the vCard format and vCalendar format are required, and what makes the iCalendar format different from vCalendar.

In Outlook Export Wizard you should indicate the format in which you wish to save the extracted data by choosing the format from the “Output Format” drop-down menu. You can activate the “Autodetect” option, after which the program will save Outlook data in the format corresponding to the exported item’s type.

MSG – Outlook Message.” The MSG format is a proprietary e-mail storage format used by Microsoft Office Outlook and OfficeLogic Groupware. To extract MSG files from Outlook, simply select the messages you want and drag them to a folder in Windows Explorer. To extract MSG messages en masse, however, it is more convenient to use Outlook Export Wizard since the program not only saves the messages to your hard drive, but exports the PST file‘s directory structure as well.

RTF – Rich Text Format.” / “RTF – Rich Text Format without headers.” RTF is an enriched text format for MS Word (if the latter RTF format is used, only e-mail message text is saved, without message subject lines). It is useful to extract MSG messages as RTF documents when you need to standardize the format for messages coming, for instance, from users, clients and partners. E-mails saved in RTF format can be forwarded without risk that the document’s formatting will be lost or corrupted, while the RTF document can easily be viewed and edited in any word processor (MS Word, OpenOffice Writer, AbiWord).

TXT – Plain text.TXT format is a plain text file that can be used in any text editor (Notepad, Kate, TextEdit). MS Outlook’s built-in capabilities (in “Save as…” in the File menu) allow converting messages from MSG to TXT text documents. This method is useful for single messages, but for converting large volumes (hundreds or thousands) of e-mail messages from MSG to TXT you will find Outlook Export Wizard much more effective.

EMLOutlook Express.” EML files store e-mail headers, contents, and attachments. The EML format was first used by Outlook Express, but support for the format was later added to other mail programs: Windows Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, The Bat and Incredimail. So to transfer MS Outlook e-mails, just extract them from MSG to EML using Outlook Export Wizard, and then use the built-in features of your new e-mail client to import EML files.

TNEF – Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format.” This method of encoding messages is used by MS Outlook and MS Exchange Server. TNEF e-mails contain the message text and an attachment “encapsulating” the other parts. In most cases, the attachment is named winmail.dat (or win.dat) and contains formatting data (information about fonts and background color), objects (graphics and MS Office documents), special Outlook features (configurable forms and voting buttons), and normal file attachments added to the source message. The usage of the TNEF format depends on Outlook’s settings for RTF formatting.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language.” This mode performs an email to HTML conversion that saves a message as a text document containing HTML code. E-mails saved using this email to HTML conversion are convenient for posting on websites, since the document includes HTML markup tags for content formatting. This means that the message (or a portion of it) can be published on a web-page without needing to be touched up in an HTML editor beforehand.

MHT – HTML and embedded images.” MHT files are archived HTML pages that allow combining message text and graphics in one file. The MHT format is used primarily by website developers, since it makes it easier to work with content on the server side. For example, e-mail messages saved as MHT pages can be posted on a website, where they can be handled as a single unit, without depending on the presence of attached elements (such as audio files, graphics or animations). As with the TXT and HTML formats, the MHT format is supported by MS Outlook’s “Save as…” menu item, but Outlook Export Wizard offers more flexible features for working with large amounts of information.

VCF – Virtual Card File (vCard).” The vCard format is an electronic business card whose files have the .vcf extension and may contain a name and address, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, URL addresses, logos, photos and even audio clips. The vCard format is standard for saving and transferring contacts over the Internet. Therefore, Outlook address book contacts that have been extracted using Outlook Export Wizard into vCard format can be transferred to address books in other mail clients, attached to e-mails, or transferred to other users.

VCS – vCalendar Format.” The vCalendar format was originally thought up as a way to send meeting invites, by exchanging files ending with the .vcs extension. Thus the vCalendar format is often called the standard for meeting management. When the “Autodetect” function is used, items from the Outlook calendar and address book contacts are saved in the vCalendar and vCard formats respectively.

ICS – iCalendar Format.” The iCalendar format is an enriched version of the vCalendar format, with the .ics file extension, and services as a standard for calendar planning. Files in iCalendar format can be used to transfer information from a personal calendar to e-mail clients (as long as the clients support these functions) or planning software. Modern software and web services — Apple iCal, Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, Lotus Notes and Windows Calendar — all support data stored in either the iCalendar format or vCalendar format.

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