How to Search and Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault

Quick and easy-to-follow guide for Google Workspace administrators

Steps to take before you can search and export Google Chat messages from Google Vault

  • Users must have a Google Vault license assigned for their chat data to appear in Google Vault
  • Once you create a matter, you can search for Google Chat direct or group messages
  • You can also export chat messages, but you must search and find what you need first. The whole process is covered step by step below.

Use cases - when to search and export Google Chat messages

  • When you need to find and access specific chat messages
  • When you need to export any user’s Google Chat data

How to search and export Google Chat messages from Google Vault step-by-step with images

Step 1

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 1

Open Vault at and click Matters.

Step 2

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 2

Click the matter you want to use to for the search.

If you’re not familiar with matters, click here.

To see how to create a matter, click here.

Step 3

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 3
  • Under the SEARCH tab, click the Service option and select Chat.

  • Under Source, choose if you want to search All data, only data on hold, or only unprocessed data.

  • Next, under Entity, choose to search for data in Specific accounts or entire OUs. Then specify the users or OUs. 

    Optionally, enable Include results from Chat spaces.

  • Select the date range for the search under Date sent and specify the Time zone if needed. The search will find chat messages sent or received in the time frame you select.

  • Fill in the Terms field to narrow down the scope of your search and find exactly what you need. You can use the following search operators: Expect our article on this soon.

    When the Terms field is left blank, you will search for all data.

  • When you’re ready, click SEARCH at the bottom.

  • Click EXPORT to skip seeing the search results and immediately export data matched by your search.

  • Click CLEAR on top if you want to clear your search settings and start over.

Step 4

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 4

While preparing this guide, we had no chat messages, so we got No matches found. However, at this point, you should see messages. 

After you click SEARCH and the search results come up, you have the option to save the search query by clicking SAVE on top. Saving it allows you to quickly repeat it in the future by accessing the Matter, then selecting the search by clicking VIEW SAVED QUERIES on the top right.

Click the Export button if you want to download the data.

Step 5

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 5

If you choose to export, first give your export a name. 

Then specify the format to download messages in. You can choose between PST or MBOX. 

You can view MBOX files in Mozilla Thunderbird and other software you can find on Google Search. A single MBOX file can be up to 10 GB in size.

You can view PST files in Outlook, and it is the better format if you want to import emails back to Gmail. A single PST file can be up to 1 GB in size – if you export over 1 GB of email data, it will get split into multiple files.

Click EXPORT to start the export.

Step 6

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 6

Click the EXPORTS tab under the matter’s name.

You’ll see that the export is being prepared.

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 7

Once it’s ready, a green checkmark icon will appear on its left, where the spinning loading circle used to be. Click Download to download the data, or Delete to delete the export. 

Clicking Delete doesn’t delete the data from Vault or users’ accounts.

Step 8

How To Search And Export Google Chat Data Using Google Vault - Step 8

After clicking Download, you’ll see a few download links.

The messages you need are in the first link: The contents and details of the exported messages are here. You might get multiple zip files if your export includes messages from more than one account or if the file size exceeds 1 GB for PST files or 10 GB for MBOX.

Export_name-metadata.xml contains metadata. 

File checksums lists the message digest 5 (MD5) hash values for all files in the export.

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