Outlook for Mac Corruption – Identity Database and OLM to PST Conversion

There are occasions when Outlook for Mac responds abnormally. It may due to the damage of the identity database of Outlook for Mac. When the identity database is damaged, Outlook for Mac does not open, does not respond or does stop all on a sudden, and you may not be able to open Outlook items as you choose. Outlook message list, Outlook contacts and Outlook contact entries may not be displayed properly. These are all symptoms of the damage to the identity database. The identity database of Outlook for Mac contains all Outlook emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, account settings etc. (You can locate it in the Microsoft User Folder data.) So you need to rebuild the identity database using the Microsoft Database Utility when it is damaged.


Another popular method of dealing with Outlook for Mac corruption is to convert OLM to PST and access them using Outlook for Windows. Outlook for Mac saves its emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, events and other items in OLM format. Outlook for Windows cannot access these files, as it does not recognize OLM format of Outlook for Mac. On the occasions of Outlook for Mac corruption, we can think of converting these files to PST format in order to access them using Outlook for Windows. This is a popular method employed by various Outlook for Mac recovery tools. Also, OLM to PST conversion needs to be done while you are switching over from Mac environment to Windows environment.

Rebuild and Create a New Outlook for Mac 2011 Identity Database Using the Microsoft Database Utility

A damaged identity database can be rebuilt using the Microsoft Database Utility. The steps are:

  1. First, quit all applications. Also, ensure that the hard disk has enough space.
  2. Backup the current database identity.
  3. Rebuild the database.
  4. Create a new database identity.

These steps are discussed in detail below.

I.More about Quitting Applications in Mac

It is easy to quit applications in Mac. Just go to the Tool bar at the top, click the application name menu and select Quit.

Force Quit Applications

Force quitting can be done if you are not able to quit the application normally.

    1. Press Command – Option – Esc together.
    2. Select the application and click Force Quit in the Force Quit Applications window.


  1. Finally click the Close (the red) button of the Force Quit Applications window.

Before proceeding to the next step, make sure that the hard disk has enough space (3 times the current size of the Outlook identity). Follow the steps given below to check the Outlook identity size.

  1. Using the Finder, go to the Documents folder and open the Microsoft User Data folder.
  2. Open the Office 2011 Identities folder; click the Identities folder.
  3. Go the File menu, click Get Info, and then click Get Information.
  4. Now, note the database size.

II. More about Backing up the Current Database Identity
Before rebuilding the database, back up the current database identity as given below:

  1. Using the Finder, go to the Documents folder and open the Microsoft User Data folder.
  2. Right-click or Control-click the Office 2011 Identities folder, and select Duplicate.

Third party tools can use this backup to recover data while performing the OLM data recovery.

III. More about Rebuilding the Database

    1. Start the Microsoft Database Utility (keep the Option key pressed down and start the Outlook for Mac 2011 or go to Application folder, open Microsoft Office 2011 folder, open Office folder and double-click the Microsoft Database Utility.app).
    2. In the Microsoft Database Utility window, select an identity and click Rebuild.


  1. Wait for a while when the Rebuilding ……… Identity window appears.
  2. Finally, click Done when the message ‘Your database was rebuilt successfully’ appears.

IV. More about Creating a New Database Identity Using Microsoft Database Utility

Outlook for Mac can have more than one identity. Each identity separately stores its emails, contacts, calendars and other Outlook for Mac items. Sometimes, the problem you face may be limited a single identity. You can check this simply by working from a different identity. If you realize that the Outlook for Mac issue is limited to a single identity, you can create a new identity in the place of the damaged identity. Creating a new database identify can help you solve problems associated the identity.

  1. Start the Microsoft Database Utility, click the button1 at the bottom-left and give a name to the new identity.
  2. Set the new identity as the default identity (select the new identity click the Action button- button2 – and select Set as Default).
  3. Quit the Microsoft Database Utility and reopen the Outlook.

OLM Recovery and OLM to PST Conversion

Though Outlook for Mac and Outlook are from Microsoft, they use two different file formats that are not compatible with each other – OLM and PST. Therefore, OLM to PST conversion is necessary when one wants to switch over from Mac to Windows. In addition, it is logically sound to covert OLM to PST files to rescue OLM files after corruption. Some third party tools like Kernel for OLM to PST (free trial version is available) can be tried for this purpose.