How to Search and Export Google Groups Data Using Google Vault

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

Steps to take before you can search and export Google Groups data from Google Vault

  • Users must have a Google Vault license assigned for their data to appear in Google Vault
  • Once you create a matter, you can search for group emails
  • You can also export group emails, 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 Groups data

  • When you need to find and access specific group emails
  • When you need to export any Groups data

How to search and export Google Groups data from Google Vault step-by-step with images

Step 1

Open Vault at https://vault.google.com and click Matters.

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

  • Under the SEARCH tab, click the Service option and select Groups.

  • Under Source, choose if you want to search All data, only data on hold, or only unprocessed data. Then enter the groups’ email addresses below.

  • Select the date range for the search under Date sent and specify the Time zone if needed. The search will find emails 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: https://support.google.com/vault/answer/2474474. Expect our article on this soon.

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

  • You can also click COUNT to ​see the number of messages found by the search without displaying the actual results. You can then modify the search to get different results.

  • 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

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

Step 5

​You also can click any message to read it, and it will show up on the right. You can also see the message details, print it, or get the whole message headers for troubleshooting by clicking Original.

Step 6

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

Then specify the format to download emails 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 7

Click the EXPORTS tab under the name of the matter. 

You’ll see that the export is being prepared.

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

Downloading the exported Google Groups data

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

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

export_name-group-membership.csv is a CSV file that lists this info for each group member:

-the member’s email addresses

-the email address of the group

-when the user became a member of the group

-the member’s role: MEMBER for a group member, MANAGER for a group manager, or OWNER for a group owner

-the type of account: USER for an individual user account or GROUP for a group email address

Export_name-metadata.xml contains email metadata. 

Export_name-results-count.csv is an account and message count. It’s a CSV file that lists all users included in the export and the number of emails each one owns.

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

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