How to Save an Email as a File – Tips & Tricks

Admin | How to's Outlook | 9 minutes read | Last updated on February 8th, 2023,

MS Outlook and Office 365 are the registered products of Microsoft and are ruling the market, with comprising of 85% of the total market share. While working with Outlook, you must now be aware that it provides various options for saving its messages. For example, you can save the message received in Inbox as a file on your system’s hard drive or at some other folder in Outlook itself. The message that you are writing is saved in the Drafts folder by default, which you can complete later. To know how to save an email as a file in various other formats, read the following article :

How to save emails as Files in MS Outlook locally or in Cloud?

  • Open MS Outlook
  • Double click on the message to open and save, tap on File Menu and Click Save As
  • In the Save As Dialog box that appears, choose the location where you want to save the file.
  • Enter a name for the file in the File Name box
  • By default the file will be saved as Outlook Message Format – Unicode. If you want to save the file as another type, choose the file type from the Save as type list.

For Outlook 2007

Saving Outlook messages in Unicode Character Encoding by Default

Outlook 2003 and above editions support Unicode character encoding. It is a standard that allows representation of mostly written languages in the world with a common character set. Unicode Support in Outlook is beneficial for multi-national organizations having offices in different geographical areas, where you can easily share messages and other items with users who are using Outlook on systems running in different languages.

Follow these steps to set default setting for Outlook to save emails as Unicode

  • Open Outlook
  • Click Tools >> Options
  • Tap on Other tab >> Advanced Options
  • Tick on the checkbox : Use Unicode Message Format when saving message

Save Outlook Message as Word Doc

Sometimes you need to save a received message as an MS Word document. However, Outlook doesn’t provide any direct option of doing so. If you want to save Outlook message as Word doc, you need to copy its contents and paste in word document.

Copy Outlook message without header info

  1. Open the email message and select entire message body using Ctrl + A
  2. Press Ctrl + C to copy the message contents
  3. Open MS Word and press Ctrl + V to paste the message contents
  4. Click File >> Save

Copy Outlook message including header info

  1. Do any one of the below given tasks :
    • If the message is not opened in its own window : Click Home Tab >> Respond Group >> Forward.
    • If the message is opened in its own window : Click Message Tab >> Respond Group >> Forward.
  2. Select the entire message body using Ctrl + A
  3. Copy message contents using Ctrl + C
  4. Open MS Word and paste message content using Ctrl + V
  5. Click File >> Save

Save Incoming Message as PDF or XPS

Outlook 2007 doesn’t provide any direct option to save email message as PDF. But you can save an Outlook 2007 message in Word 2007 document format, as discussed in the above section How to save Outlook message as MS Word document and then further save the file as PDF or XPS.

MS Word 2007 comes with a FREE in-built add-in to save MS Word 2007 documents as PDF or XPS, but you must install and enable this add-in before using. Get complete information about how to enable support for saving MS Word 2007 document as PDF/XPS or other file formats.

Save Email as Template

Creating an email template enables users to include specific information in every message without repeating it while composing a new message. Outlook comes with a few default templates that you can use while writing messages. You can also create a customized template by saving a message as a template. You can use this template for sending messages, just insert new information that you want to add in the message and send the template as a message.

  1. To save email as template, you need to compose a new message. To do that, go to File Menu >> New >> Mail message. Or you can open a new message window using the shortcut keys Ctrl + Shift + M.
  2. Now, enter the content as per your need in the message body
  3. Now click MS Office button >> Save As
  4. A new Save As dialog box will option. Select Outlook template (.oft) from the Save As type list
  5. Next, enter a name for the template in the name field and click Save

The template will be saved at its default folder location :

  • Windows Vista   
  • Microsoft Windows XP   
    c:\documents and settings\username\application data\roaming\microsoft\templates 

Save Message as a Draft

Outlook provides you with the option to save message as a draft to finish later. While composing a message, Outlook, by default, automatically saves the message at regular intervals, without sending it to recipient. You can complete the message next time, when you again open Outlook.

To save message as draft manually

Do anyone of the below actions

  • Click Save appearing on the Quick Access Toolbar, or
  • Click MS Office button >> Save

How to open the draft to continue message composing

Open Outlook. In the Navigation pane, click on Drafts. Double click on the draft to open it in new message window.

Change the Location or Time Interval to Save Drafts

By default, Outlook saves unfinished messages at Drafts folder in every 3 minutes. You can change this location or interval or both :

  • Click Tools >> Options
  • Click Email options >> Advanced Email options
  • To change drafts saving location :
    • Under Save messages >> Save Unsent Items in list >> choose anyone option : Drafts, Inbox, Outbox, Sent Mails
  • To change frequency of saving a message :
    • Under Save messages >> type any number between 1 to 99 in the Autosave unsent in every n minutes box

Save Email Messages in Newer Outlook Versions

How to save an Outlook Email Message as a PDF Document?

Outlook doesn’t offer you any default option to save its messages as PDF. However, with Windows 10, you can directly save your Outlook messages in PDF. What if you don’t work on Windows 10 and use other Windows versions ? How will you save your Outlook messages as PDF in other Windows OS?

To know how to save Outlook emails to PDF in Windows 10, follow the below steps : 

Print Message to PDF in Windows 10

  • Open Outlook in Windows 10. Select the message that you want to save in PDF,  Click File >> Print
  • From the list of Print options, choose Microsoft Print to PDF option and click Print
  • From the new “Save Print Output as” dialog box that opens, enter the name and select the desired location to save the message as PDF. Finally click Save button.

Follow these steps to :

Save Messages as PDF in other Windows versions

  • Select and open the message. Click File >> Save As
  • A new Save As dialog box will open. Select the folder location to save the file, enter a file name in the Name field.
  • From the Save As Type list, select HTML and click Save
  • Now, open this HTML file with MS Word (select and right click the HTML file, select Open With option >> choose MS Word from the list).
  • Click File >> Save As
  • A new Save As window will open. Choose destination location, select PDF from the Save As list and click Save button.

Save Message to Another Folder in Outlook

Want to save an email message to a different Outlook folder? Just move or copy the selected message to the target folder. See how to move or copy Outlook item to another folder.

Save Email as Word document

You cannot directly save an Outlook message as a Word document. However, you can save the email message as HTML file, and then open this HTML file in Word and then save it as .doc file. Saving your Outlook messages in HTML format will retain all the header information (to, cc, bcc, from, subject etc.), formatting, images, hyperlinks etc. precisely.

Now follow these steps to save Outlook email as Word file

  • Open Outlook and select the message you wish to save in Word. Now click on File >> Save As
  • In the new Save As dialog box that appears, select the folder location in the folder pane to save the file.
  • Give a name to the file in the File name field.
  • Choose HTML from the Save As type drop down menu and click Save
  • Now open HTML File in MS Word using the two options :
    • Right click the just saved HTML file, click on Open With option, select MS Word from the list.
    • Open MS Word, click on File Menu >> Open tab. Select the just saved HTML file to open it in Word.
  • Again click File >> Save As >> choose MS Word (*.docx) from the Save As type list and finally click Save.

Save Outlook Message as Template

You can make use of email templates for sending messages that consists of same information for every message. You can also create and save email as a template for further using it to save messages. Just add the new information before sending the template as an email message.

Save email message as template in Outlook 2010

  • Open Outlook. Click Home >> Newsgroup >> New Email. (Or simply click Ctrl + Shift + M to open a new email)
  • Enter the information that you want to keep in the message body
  • In the message window, tap File >> Save As
  • Choose Outlook Template from the Save As type drop down menu shown under Save As dialog box. Type a name for the file in the Name field and click Save.

Templates are saved at following default folder location :

  • Windows 7 and Vista   
  • Windows XP   
    C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

Save a message as template in Outlook 2013 and 2016

  • Open Outlook. Click on Home >> New Email
  • Type the content that you want to add in the message body
  • Click File on Message Window >> Save As
  • In the new Save As pop-up window, enter a name for the file in Name field and select Outlook Template from the Save As type list. Finally click Save.

Change Default File Format for Saving Messages

Outlook supports Unicode character encoding standard that enables most of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set. If you work in a multinational organization or share messages and other items with people who use Outlook on PC that runs in other languages, you can take advantage of Unicode support in Outlook.

To save your message in Unicode encoding by default

  • Click File >> Options >> Mail
  • Select Use Unicode format option under Save messages

Save a Draft of Message

Any message that you write but don’t send, gets automatically saved into Drafts folder. You can later return to Outlook and find the incomplete message in this folder.

To manually save message as draft

  • Click Save on Quick Access Toolbar or Click File >> Save.

To return to the draft of the message

  • In Mail, click Drafts in the folder pane >> double click the message to open and complete it.

Change Time Interval or Location for Saving Drafts

Outlook saves incomplete messages at Drafts folder in every three minutes, by default. You can change this time interval and location as per your requirement :

  • On File Tab >> Options >> Mail
  • Under save messages,
    • To change drafts saving location, choose Drafts, Inbox, Sent Mail or Outbox in the Save to this folder list.
    • To change frequency of drafts saving, in the Automatically save items that have not been sent after this many minutes box, type any value from 1 to 99.