Back up data before switching O365 for business plans

If a user will be switched to another subscription that has fewer data-related services or a user leaves the organization, a copy of their data that’s stored in Office 365 can be downloaded before they are switched to the new subscription.

In this article:

How to save a copy of Outlook information

If users have Microsoft Outlook, they can download their email, calendar, tasks, and contacts to an Outlook Data File (.pst) before their plan is switched.

Export Outlook 2013 information to an Outlook Data File (.pst)

Note: Before you begin, the account that you want to export Outlook information from must already be set up in the desktop version of Outlook. For information about how to add an account to Outlook 2013, see Add an email account.

  1. In Outlook 2013, click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    Import/Export command in the Backstage view

  2. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.

    Export to a file option in the Import and Export Wizard

  3. Click Outlook Data File (.pst), and then click Next.

  4. Select the account you want to export by clicking the name or email address, such as If you want to export everything in your account, including mail, calendar, contacts, tasks, and notes, ensure the Include subfolders box is checked.

    Note: You can export one account at a time. If you want to export multiple accounts, after one account is exported, repeat steps 1-4.

    Export Outlook Data File dialog box with top folder selected and Include subfolders checked

  5. Click Next.

  6. Click Browse to select where to save the Outlook Data File (.pst) and to enter a file name for the backup. Click OK to continue.

    Note: If you’ve used export before, the previous folder location and file name appear. Type a different file name before clicking OK.

  7. If you are exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst), under Options, specify what to do when exporting items that already exist in the file.

  8. Click Finish.

    Outlook begins the export immediately unless a new Outlook Data File (.pst) is created or a password-protected file is used.

    • If you’re creating an Outlook Data File (.pst), an optional password can help protect the file. When the Create Outlook Data File dialog box appears, enter the password in the Password and Verify Password boxes, and then click OK. In the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, enter the password, and then click OK.

    • If you’re exporting to an existing Outlook Data File (.pst) that is password protected, in the Outlook Data File Password dialog box, enter the password, and then click OK.

Accessing the Outlook information

Afterward the PST file is created, users can use Outlook to do one of the following:

Merge information in the PST file into another email account

Complete this procedure to merge the email, calendar, tasks, and contacts that are stored in the PST file into another email account.

Note: Before you can import Outlook information, you must have already exported the Outlook information from an email account to a .pst file. If you have not yet done this, see Export Outlook 2013 information to an Outlook data file earlier in this article.

  1. In Outlook 2013, click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

    This starts the Import and Export Wizard.

  2. Choose Import from another program or file, and then click Next.

    Import and Export Wizard

  3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst), and then click Next.

  4. Browse to the .pst file you want to import.

  5. Under Options, choose how you want to deal with duplicates.

  6. Click Next.

  7. If a password was assigned to the Outlook Data File (.pst), enter the password, and then click OK.

  8. Set the options for importing items. The default settings usually don’t need to be changed.

  9. Click Finish.

After you click Finish, Outlook will import the contents of the <FileName>.pst file into the local Outlook data store on your computer. After the data has been copied into the local data store, Outlook will upload the data into your mailbox. If you have lots of data in your mailbox, this may take hours. Make sure that you don't shut down Outlook, and make sure you're connected to the destination account while the upload happens.

Tip:  If you want to import or restore only a few items from an Outlook Data File (.pst), you can open the Outlook Data File, and then, in the navigation pane, drag the items from Outlook Data File folders to your existing Outlook folders.

Open the PST file to access the email

If you just want access to the email, you can open the PST file. The contents of the email in the PST file will appear in the left navigation in Outlook. From there, you can open the email or drag it into your existing Outlook folders.

Note: The following procedure assumes that you have Outlook 2013. If you have an earlier version of Outlook, use the steps in the Open, change, or close Outlook data files article instead.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click Open and Export, and then click Open Outlook Data File.

    Open an Outlook data file

    The PST file appears in the left-nav in Outlook.

How to save files stored in OneDrive for Business

Before being switched to a different subscription, users can get a copy of the files they’ve stored in OneDrive for Business by simply copying the files to a different location, such as a folder on their computer’s hard drive or a file share on the organization’s network.

Part 1: Get access to the user’s OneDrive for Business documents

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.

  3. In the lower-left navigation, expand Admin, and select SharePoint.

    Expand Admin to see the available admin centers

  4. Choose user profiles.

  5. Choose Manage User Profiles.

  6. Search for the former employee’s name (use their alias or full name).

  7. Select the drop-down menu beside their name, and choose Manage site collection owners.

    Manage personal site

  8. In the Site Collection Administrators field, add your name, the administrator’s name (see the example below), or the future employee’s name (if known).

    Add yourself to site collection administrators

  9. Scroll down, and select OK.

Part 2: Copy the user’s OneDrive for Business documents to a shared location

  1. With the user’s name selected under Manage User Profiles, select the drop-down menu again, and select Manage Personal Site.

    Manage site collections owners

    Note: This is a shortcut to the OneDrive for Business site. Alternatively, you can enter: https://<company_name><employee>_<company name>_onmicrosoft_com.

  2. Select Documents in the left navigation.

    Select documents from personal site

  3. You should see your user’s OneDrive for Business documents.

    see OneDrive for business documents

  4. From here, copy them to your own OneDrive for Business or a common location, like your team site.

There are a few ways to copy files in Office 365. See Copy files using Open with Explorer or Sync OneDrive for Business files locally, and then upload those files to your OneDrive for Business or your team site.

How to save Yammer information

Admins can export all messages, notes, files, topics, users, and groups to a .zip file. For more information, see Export data. Developers can use the Yammer API to do this as well.

How to save SharePoint information

If a user is switched from a subscription that has SharePoint Online to one that doesn’t have it, the Sites tile will no longer appear in their Office 365 menu.

Sites tile to access SharePoint sites in Office 365 for business.

However, as long as the new subscription is within the same organization as the one they are switched from, users will still be able to access the SharePoint team site. They can view and update notebooks, documents, tasks, and calendars by using the direct URL to the team site.

Tip: We recommend that users go to the team site before their subscription is switched and save the URL as a favorite or bookmark in their browser.

By default, the URL of the team website is in this form:


where <orgDomain> is the organization’s URL.

For example, if the domain of the organization is, then the direct URL to the team site would be

Of course, users can also download SharePoint Online documents from the SharePoint team site to their local computer or to another location at any time.

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Still need help? Contact support.

As an admin for Office 365 for business, you get free access to our knowledgeable support agents for pre-sales, account, and billing support, as well as for help resolving technical issues. You can also contact support on behalf of Office 365 users in your organization.

Get help from the Office 365 community forums Admins: Sign in and create a service request Admins: Call Support

Note: If you’re using Office 365 operated by 21Vianet in China, please contact the 21Vianet support team.

See Also

Install Office on your PC or Mac

Billing in Office 365 for business – Admin Help

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