How to Password-Protect Outlook PST Files

Keep your Outlook email archives private

You can password-protect your PST files, where Outlook keeps all mail, contacts, and calendar data. A password protects potentially sensitive files from access by others who share your computer.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Office 365.

Password-Protect Access to an Outlook PST File

When you apply a password to an Outlook PST file, a prompt appears when Outlook starts or when the file is initially opened in an Outlook session.

  1. Open Outlook.

  2. Go to the File tab and select Info.

    File tab in Outlook.
  3. Select Account Settings > Account Settings.

    Screenshot of Account Settings menu
  4. In the Account Settings dialog box, select the Data Files tab.

    Viewing account settings in Outlook.
  5. Choose the Outlook Data File (.pst) for which you want to create a password.

    Screenshot of Data Files tab
  6. Select Settings > Change Password.

    If you have an Exchange account, the Change Password button will not appear. Your network password is used for your .pst password.

    Choosing to change passwords on a PST file in Outlook.
  7. In the New password and Verify password text boxes, enter a password.

    The password must be between 8 and 15 characters and can include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

    Screenshot of Change Password
  8. Select OK to save the new password.

  9. Close the Account Settings dialog box.