Read Outlook PST File and Get Folders and SubFolders Information

Aspose.Email for .NET provides an API for reading Microsoft Outlook PST files. You can load a PST file from disk or stream into an instance of the PersonalStorage class and get the information about its contents, for example folders, subfolders and messages. The API also provides the capability to include search folders while traversing for messages from the PST folders.

Loading a PST File

An Outlook PST file can be loaded in an instance of the PersonalStorage class. The following code snippet shows you how to load the PST file.

Displaying PST Information

After loading the PST file in the PersonalStorage class, you can get the information about the file display name, root folder, subfolders and messages count. The following code snippet shows you how to display the name of PST file, folders and number of messages in the folders.

Get user-created folders only

PST/OST files may contain folders which were created by a user, i.e. excluding all standard IPM folders. Aspose.Email provides the ability to access only user-created folders by using the only_folders_created_by_user property of the PersonalStorageQueryBuilder class. You can set the only_folders_created_by_user property to True to get only user-created folders. The following code snippet demonstrates how you can use the only_folders_created_by_user property in your project:

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

query_builder =

folders = pst.root_folder.get_sub_folders(query_builder.get_query())

for folder in folders:
    print(f"Folder: {folder.display_name}")

Checking whether the folder is in a predefined folder

The “get_predefined_type” method of the FolderInfo class allows you to find out if a folder within a PST file is a standard folder. Standard (or predefined) folders, as opposed to user-created folders, are folders that are created by Outlook when you add an email account such as Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, Deleted Items, Calendar, Tasks, Notes etc.

The code sample below demonstrates how to use this method in a project. If set to True, it returns the predefined type for the top-level parent folder. This determines whether the current folder is a subfolder of a predefined folder. If set to False, it returns the predefined type for the current folder.

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

folders = pst.root_folder.get_sub_folders()

for folder in folders:
    print(f"Folder: {folder.display_name}")
    print(f"Is predefined: {folder.get_predefined_type(False) !=}")

Getting and adding a standard RSS Feeds folder in PersonalStorage

Aspose.Email provides functionality to retrieve a reference to a RSS Feeds predefined folder, allowing developers to programmatically access and manipulate the RSS feeds stored in an Outlook PST file. By obtaining a reference to the “RSS Feeds folder,” developers can work with the RSS feed data, which may include subscribing to new feeds, updating existing feeds, or extracting information from the feeds.

The value of RssFeeds in the StandardIpmFolder enum would typically represent the predefined folder type specifically designed for storing RSS feeds within an Outlook PST file. Using this enum value, developers can target and interact with the “RSS Feeds folder” programmatically. The following code samples will demonstrate how to implement this feature into your project:

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

rss_folder = pst.get_predefined_folder(

To add an RSS Feeds folder, use the following code snippet:

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

rss_folder = pst.create_predefined_folder("RSS Feeds",

Parsing Searchable Folders

Aspose.Email provides a FolderKind enumeration to work with different kinds of PST folders. Apart from NORMAL folders, it works with SEARCH folders. A SEARCH folder is a virtual folder that provides a view of all email items that match specific search criteria. To parse SEARCH folders, use the following code snippet:

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

folders = pst.root_folder.get_sub_folders( |

# Browse through each folder to display folder name and number of messages
for folder in folders:
    print(f"Folder: {folder.display_name}")
    sub_folders = folder.get_sub_folders( |
    for sub_folder in sub_folders:
        print(f"Sub-folder: {folder.display_name}")

Retrieving Parent Folder Information from MessageInfo

The following code snippet shows you how to retrieve parent folder information from MessageInfo.

Retrieving a PST subfolder by path

To retrieve a PST subfolder by path, use the get_sub_folder method of the FolderInfo class. It retrieves a specific subfolder within a directory or file system.

The method takes the following parameters:

  • name - represents the name of the subfolder that needs to be retrieved. It is used to specify the name or identifier of the subfolder the method should search for.

  • ignore_case - is a boolean value that determines whether the method should ignore the case sensitivity when comparing the name of the subfolder. If set to True, the method will consider the name matching without considering the case (e.g., “folder” and “Folder” will be treated as the same). If set to False, the method will perform a case-sensitive comparison.

  • handle_path_separator - is a boolean value that specifies whether the method should handle the path separator when searching for the subfolder. Path separators are characters used to separate folders in a directory path (e.g., “" in Windows or “/” in Unix). If set to True, the method will handle the path separator automatically, ensuring correct folder matching. If set to False, it will treat the path separator as part of the subfolder name, resulting in a different search behavior.

The following code sample shows how to retrieve a PST subfolder by path:

import as ae

pst ="my.pst")

# In this sample, the method will return a ‘Jan’ named folder
# that is located at the Inbox\Reports\ path 
# relative to the root folder.
folder = pst.root_folder.get_sub_folder("Inbox\Reports\Jan", True, True)