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How to open an Outlook Data File without using an email account

These instructions are based on the use of Outlook 2013 or 2010 only.

Normally when you start Outlook, it expects to connect you to an email account using a profile created on your computer.

You can however use Outlook without an email account.  This involves setting up a profile that does not use an e-mail account.  This will allow you to open an Outlook Data (.pst) File on a computer on which you do not have an email account profile, or in circumstances where you do not have an email account you can use with Outlook.   For example, this might be when you have left the University and your account has been closed, and you have taken an archive of email with you for use on another computer with Outlook installed on it.


To create a profile without an account in Outlook, follow these instructions:

  1. Windows 7: Click the Windows Start button, select Control Panel and then Mail (32-bit).
  2. Click the Show Profiles... button.
  3. Click Add...
  4. Enter a name for your new profile in the Profile Name box.  We suggest giving it a name that indicates that it's not associated with any email account, such as No-Account.  Then click OK.
  5. You'll be shown an Add New Account dialogue box.  Click Cancel.
  6. You'll be asked, If you want to create a profile with no e-mail accounts, click OK, so click OK at this point.
  7. The new profile name will appear in the list.
  8. Click the Prompt for a profile to be used button, so that Outlook will offer you a choice of profiles when you start it.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Now start Outlook.
    • You should see a Choose Profile box.  Select No-Account (or the name you chose for your non-account profile) from the list, then click OK.
    • A Startup wizard dialogue box should appear.  Click Next to start the wizard.
    • When you see the question Would you like to configure an E-mail account? click the No button, then click Next.
    • The wizard will confirm that you have chosen not to configure an email account. Tick the box labelled Continue with no e-mail support.
    • Click Finish.
  11. Outlook will now start, ready for you to open the required Outlook Data File.
    The next time you use Outlook with this profile, it will launch Outlook immediately without the above wizard dialogue.


  1. Click the File menu tab.
  2. Click on Open & Export (or just Open in Outlook 2010).
  3. Click on Open Outlook Data File.
  4. In the Open File dialogue box, if necessary navigate to where your Outlook Data File is stored, select the file and click on OK (Open in Outlook 2010).

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This is question number 2488, which appears in the following categories:

Created by Andy Clews on 20 June 2012 and last updated by Richard Byrom-Colburn on 20 October 2016