4 Easy Ways To Convert PST Files into PDFs

13 December 2023 by Ross eDiscovery PST PDF data-conversion

Takeaway: For regular PST-to-PDF conversions, (1) Use targeted conversion tools, (2) Outsource the conversion to professionals, or (3) Manually convert emails via Outlook. But for eDiscovery PST-to-PDF conversions, (4) always use dedicated eDiscovery software.

Personal Storage Table (PST) files are a staple in the world of Microsoft Outlook, serving as a personal storage folder for users to manage their email data. One of the primary advantages of PST files is that they store a wide array of data types, including emails, calendar events, contacts, and tasks, all in one place. This grouping makes it easier for users to manage and back up their personal information. Also, PST files offer the convenience of offline access. Users can view and edit their emails and other data even without an internet connection, which is great for frequent travelers or users with limited internet access. Finally, PST files provide a simple way to transfer data between different devices – very useful when changing workstations or upgrading software.

Still, PSTs come with a bunch of drawbacks.

Despite their advantages, PST files do have their drawbacks. One significant limitation is that they get corrupted easily. As PSTs grow in size, they become more prone to errors and corruption, potentially leading to data loss. This issue is made worse because PSTs have a size limit – and once you go past this limit, the file is highly likely to get corrupted. Another limitation is compatibility. PSTs are primarily designed for Microsoft Outlook and aren’t easily accessible or compatible with other email clients or systems. This is challenging if your law firm uses multiple email clients. Also, PSTs are not inherently secure. Anyone using your computer can access them unless you take additional security measures. Most importantly, PSTs are ideal for sending and receiving email – but they aren’t ideal when sharing mailboxes for others to review.

This is why you might want to convert PSTs into PDFs.

Portable Document Format (PDF) files address many of the limitations of PST files when it comes to file sharing. Firstly, PDFs are universally compatible, meaning they can be opened and viewed on virtually any device or operating system without specific software like Microsoft Outlook. This universal compatibility ensures that the information remains accessible and shareable across different platforms. Secondly, PDFs have great security features. They can be encrypted/password-protected and have restrictions placed on editing, printing, or copying content, making them a more secure option for storing sensitive information. Another advantage of PDFs is their stability and reliability. Unlike PST files, PDFs are not prone to corruption, meaning your data stays accessible even years later. And finally, PDFs are perfect for archiving as they preserve the layout and formatting of the original document. Their content appears the same regardless of the device or software you use to view it.

So, here are some PST-to-PDF conversion options.

Here are four convenient ways of converting PSTs to PDFs.

1. Use Outlook’s ‘Print to PDF’ option.

If you’ve only got a few emails to convert, you can choose to do this manually in Microsoft Outlook. This involves opening the PST file in Outlook, accessing the specific emails or items to be converted, and then using the ‘Print’ function to save them as PDFs. This method allows you to select specific emails/items, giving you complete control over which parts of the PST file are converted. However, this method may not be practical for converting large numbers of emails.

2. Use a targeted conversion tool.

Several software tools are available that can efficiently convert PST files to PDF format. These tools typically offer a user-friendly interface, allowing users to select the PST files they wish to convert and choose the output settings for their PDFs. Many of these tools also provide additional features such as batch conversion (converting multiple PST files at once), selective conversion (choosing specific emails or folders within the PST file for conversion), and maintaining the original formatting and structure of the Outlook data. But when selecting a software tool, remember to vet it for ease of use, conversion speed, and being able to handle large PST files.

3. Ask for professional help.

If you need a more comprehensive solution, consider using a professional PST to PDF conversion service. These services are particularly useful for large-scale conversions and complex data. Professionals typically offer a higher level of expertise. And they can handle challenges like converting large PST files, keeping your data safe/uncorrupted, and ensuring that the conversion meets specific compliance or archival standards. Yes, this option may be more expensive than software tools or manual conversion, but it’s hands-off and guarantees a high-quality result.

4. Use eDiscovery software to ‘produce’ PSTs as PDFs.

When converting PST files to PDFs for eDiscovery, your best bet is to use dedicated eDiscovery software. And we designed GoldFynch for tasks like this. Top-tier eDiscovery services like GoldFynch are popular because they go beyond just converting PSTs to PDFs – offering a suite of eDiscovery review tools tailored for small and midsize law firms. For instance, GoldFynch has an advanced search engine to help find specific keywords, names, and dates in your PST files. And this is ideal when you want to pinpoint specific evidence quickly.

You’ll make the PST-to-PDF conversion via an eDiscovery ‘production’.

eDiscovery productions are a way of converting your evidence into a reader-friendly format. And as part of the process, your eDiscovery service will convert PSTs to PDFs. Best of all, a helpful ‘production wizard’ guides you through everything. And it lets you choose how you want to distribute your emails – page-by-page in one massive PDF or over multiple individual PDFs. Learn more about eDiscovery productions.

It’s an easy and secure process that preserves metadata.

Services like GoldFynch offer robust security measures. Users can password-protect their cases and control access, ensuring that sensitive information is only accessible to authorized personnel. Additionally, being a cloud-based service, GoldFynch guarantees that all files are securely backed up on multiple cloud servers, providing both safety and accessibility. Crucially, GoldFynch has a responsive support team that will help fix any technical issues that pop up. Issues such as data corruption, incomplete conversion, or formatting errors. Further, GoldFynch self-updates, ensuring it always has the latest software patches. And finally, GoldFynch preserves your PSTs’ original metadata – something that regular conversion tools often don’t do.

eDiscovery services come with a bunch of other advantages, too.

An eDiscovery subscription service like GoldFynch comes with a bunch of attractive advantages.

  • It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?