What’s the Difference Between OLM and PST Files – 2024 Guide

Storing data and data security are the two most usually talked about topics today, but, depending on what you precisely need, there are also many other things to keep in mind when dealing with data, especially with sensitive ones. Of course, it also depends on the type of OS you use or prefer using, as not every OS works properly with every file format. Now, here is where it gets interesting, as there are many file formats to choose from, and not every type has the same quality. Let’s take a personal information manager software system like Outlook as an example, as depending on whether you use Mac or Windows OS, this information manager will store the mail items in a different way.

Now, knowing the difference and which operating systems and software work best with which type of formats is also of great importance, as it is not the same if you use OLM or PST files. Yes, as you probably guessed, we are here to talk about how these two types of files differ, especially if you are a Mac user, just to be sure which one of them you need, and in what type of situations, so, without any further ado, let’s go through the basics of each one of them.

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One of the main differences between OLM and PST files is the way of their store, and they differ a lot. When it comes to OLM files, we need to keep in mind that they are stored just locally, and like that, they are not synched to any server. On the other side, PST files are also stored locally, and we can access them all the time, but they are also synchronized with the server and the mailbox on it, so they are a much safer option for storing our important data such as contacts, emails and calendar events. It all depends on the data you want to store and how sensitive it is, as certain things you want to keep as secure as possible. So, depending on the type of info and how sensitive the data is, you can choose between these two files, but, of course, this is just the beginning.


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Both of these types of files can be transferred between the Outlook made for different operating systems such as Mac and Windows, but there is one big difference. OLM files are most commonly seen in Mac operating system because they are created for them, while PST files have a much wider usage. Although we can usually see the OLM ones in Mac OS, it can also be transferred between various Outlooks, no matter if they use Mac or Windows, but it can never be imported into Windows Outlook. Now, this is where the main difference between these two files originates, and it is a common misconception that you can store and import any file type in Outlook.

Sometimes it is not enough to have just an option to transfer files, as we also need to import them, and luckily there is a solution even for this query. Namely, the OLM files can be converted into PST ones, and after that, we can use them like they were PST files from the very beginning. Understandably, in order to actually do that, we need to have a specifically designed program for that, and after downloading it, we can complete the conversion in a matter of seconds. But, since there are way too many options you can find online to do so, it can be pretty challenging to find a reliable one, and if you do not have enough time to do proper research or just want to go with the best, just add the process of converting the OLM file to PST with this tool https://www.stellarinfo.com/email-tools/olm-to-pst-converter.php


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PST files are always created automatically, and when we decide to export them, we can export all of them at the same time. The situation with OLM files is different, and the system does not create them automatically, so we need to generate them when we decide to export our mailboxes. It can be done by choosing the files we want to export, which can be emails but also contacts or reminders, and once we choose them, the system will do its job on its own and generate them. The great thing about that is that we can have more than one account, and when we decide to export them, it is up to us to choose one of them or all. That makes the whole process much easier and, what’s even more important, much more efficient.

Importing empty folders

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If you decide to use OLM files, keep in mind that some folders will not be imported, so if the name of the folder or folder itself means something to you, make sure to have at least one file in it. OLM does not import empty folders because it does not see them as important ones, and if you want all of them to be imported, you need to arrange the files so each of them will have at least one. So, in order to avoid losing any data, or having trouble finding one, make sure to name all folders you want to import if you choose the OLM type of files to do so.

The bottom line

From everything mentioned above, it’s pretty clear that these two types of files differ a lot, but the main thing here is the usage, as depending on for what purposes you need it, one of these two types can come in pretty handy. Of course, there are many other things that are not mentioned on this list, but the essence is here, as we have tried to explain thoroughly when and what type of files to use. Now, it’s up to you to choose the one that suits your purposes the most, and hopefully, after reading this article, that decision on which one to choose should be much easier to make.