outlook-vbaIntroduction Part 2: Stores and top-level folders


First part of an introduction to stores and the folders they contain. Contains macros to display (1) the names of accessible stores and (2) the names of accessible stores and the top level folders within them.

2.1 Expected prior knowledge

  • You are an Outlook user and understand terms such as “email”, “received time”, “subject” and “Folder Pane”.
  • You know how to access Outlook’s Visual Basic Editor and create a module. See Introduction Part 1 if necessary.
  • You have at least a basic knowledge of VBA. I declare Subroutines and variables without explanation. I use Withs, Ifs and Loops without explanation. I tell you something is a collection. I tell you to copy code to a module and run it. There are many online tutorials although most are for Excel VBA and concentrate more on using the language with Excel than on the language. Searching for “VBA tutorial” brings up some that concentrate on the language more than the application that look satisfactory.
  • You are not required to know the Outlook Object Model; this tutorial introduces you to a small part of it.

2.2 Stores

Outlook stores emails, calendar items, notes, tasks and so on in files known as Stores. If you look at your Folder Pane you will see something like:

  Deleted Items
  :  :

  Deleted Items
  :  :

:  :

"Aaaaaaaaaa", "Bbbbbbbbbb" and "Cccccccccc" are the user or display names of Stores. I have always accepted Outlook defaults for these names which have changed over the years. Once the default was my name now it is my email address. The filename for these stores may be the same but with an extension such as PST or OST or may be something completely different. A VBA macro needs the user name to access a store and is not concerned with the file names or the extension.

You can have as many stores as you wish. I have “Outlook data file” which was created for me when I installed Outlook. When I added accounts for my email addresses, Outlook created new stores named for the email address such as “[email protected]” and “[email protected]”. To reduce the size of my main store I save old emails in stores with names such “Archive 2015”.

If you are a business user, you may have access to shared stores or to the stores of colleagues.

The macros below show three different ways of listing the stores you can access. I suggest you create a new module to hold the code below and to use F4 to access the module’s properties so you can be name it as “ModIntro” or some other name of your choice. If you completed Part 1 of this series, you will already have such a module.

Copy these macros to a module and test that each gives the same output.

Sub ListStores1()

  Dim InxStoreCrnt As Integer
  Dim NS As NameSpace
  Dim StoresColl As Folders

  Set NS = CreateObject("Outlook.Application").GetNamespace("MAPI")
  Set StoresColl = NS.Folders

  For InxStoreCrnt = 1 To StoresColl.Count
    Debug.Print StoresColl(InxStoreCrnt).Name

End Sub
Sub ListStores2()
 Dim StoresColl As Stores
 Dim StoreCrnt As Store
 Set StoresColl = Session.Stores
 For Each StoreCrnt In StoresColl
   Debug.Print StoreCrnt.DisplayName
End Sub
Sub ListStores3()

  Dim InxStoreCrnt As Long

  With Application.Session
    For InxStoreCrnt = 1 To .Folders.Count
      Debug.Print .Folders(InxStoreCrnt).Name
  End With

End Sub

You will find with VBA that there are often several methods of achieving the same effect. Above I have shown three methods of accessing the stores. You do not need to remember them all – pick your own favourite – but you do need to be aware that there are several methods because other people, whose code you may need to study, will have different favourites.

The variables StoresColl in macros ListStores1() and ListStores2() are both collections but hold different types of object: Store and Folder. A Store object can only reference a file on your disc. A Folder can reference a file on disc but can also reference folders within a store such as “Inbox” and “Sent Items”. Stores, Folders, Store and Folder are all part of the Outlook Object Model. This tutorial series introduces you to the model but it is not a formal definition. If you want a formal definition, type “outlook vba object model” into your favourite search engine. Make sure you look at the VBA version of the model.

2.3 Top level folders

In my Folder Pane example above, I only list three standard folders: “Inbox”, “Drafts” and “Deleted Items”. There are other standard folders and you can create as many folders of your own as you wish. Some people create folders under Inbox but I prefer to create new folders at the same level as Inbox. Your folders can have sub-folders which can have their own sub-folders to any depth.

The following macro will produce a listing of the form:


where A, B and C are stores and A1, B1, C1 and so on are folders within A, B and C. If A1, B1, C1 and so on have sub-folders, they will not be listed by this macro. Accessing more deeply nested folders will be covered in the next part of this tutorial.

Sub ListStoresAndTopLevelFolders()

  Dim FldrCrnt As Folder
  Dim InxFldrCrnt As Long
  Dim InxStoreCrnt As Long
  Dim StoreCrnt As Folder

  With Application.Session
    For InxStoreCrnt = 1 To .Folders.Count
      Set StoreCrnt = .Folders(InxStoreCrnt)
      With StoreCrnt
        Debug.Print .Name
        For InxFldrCrnt = .Folders.Count To 1 Step -1
          Set FldrCrnt = .Folders(InxFldrCrnt)
          With FldrCrnt
            Debug.Print "   " & .Name
          End With
      End With
  End With

End Sub

2.4 What you should remember from this tutorial

  • A store is a file in which Outlook stores emails, calendar items, notes, tasks and so on.
  • A store may contain Outlook standard folders such as “Inbox” and “Sent Items”.
  • A store may also contain user created folders.
  • Both Outlook standard folders and user created folders may contain user created sub-folders, sub-sub-folders and so on to any depth.
  • How to list stores.
  • How to list stores and the top level folders within those stores.

Confession: I do not remember either of the “Hows”. I have subroutines and functions that remember for me.