Most of us use Microsoft Outlook as an email client for many years. Over years, the size of your mailbox will grow and make the app very slow. Managing old emails can be a daunting task if you are not organizing them properly. In order to have fast and smooth Outlook app, you need to cleanup your mailbox periodically. In this article, we will explain how to archive emails in Microsoft Outlook.
Why You Should Archive Emails in Outlook?
In addition to speed improvement, there are many other reasons you should do the housekeeping.
- Generally, organizations use Exchange Server to send and receive emails. When you have GBs of emails, the exchange server will become slow to synchronize the emails between the server and your computer. Therefore, you will have limited storage for emails. In this case, you should delete or archive emails to free up the space.
- You may be changing the organization and want to migrate all your old emails for reference.
- When changing the computer you may need to backup the old emails for migrating to new computer.
Viewing Storage Space Details in Outlook
Outlook has different folders like inbox, sent items, calendars, etc. Before archiving, you can view the size of these folders to get an idea of what content occupies the storage.
- Launch Outlook and navigate to “File > Info” menu.
- On the right pane, look for “Cleanup Tools” button.
- You can view the progress bar indicating the total mailbox size and the available free space.
- Click on the “Cleanup Tools” button and choose “Mailbox cleanup…” option.
- You can see different options to get the size of the email data in “Mailbox Cleanup” popup. Click on the “AutoArchive” button to open “Folder Size” pop-up.
- You can check the data size in different folders under local and server storage in “Folder Size” pop-up.
Sometimes, archiving inbox will not reduce the size of your mailbox. This is a useful tool to get an idea which folder occupies large data. For example, you may have lot of calendar items with big attachments occupying the storage space.
How to Archive Emails in Microsoft Outlook?
Outlook offers default functions to archive emails to a folder on your computer. You can use this archived file to use on any other Outlook account to view the old email date. There are two ways to archive emails in Outlook – automatically and manually.
AutoArchive Emails in Outlook
The easy solution to save time is to schedule the archiving of emails. For example, you can archive emails every 15 days automatically.
- Go to “File > Options” menu and selected “Advanced” tab.
- Click on the “AutoArchive Settings…” button under “AutoArchive” section.
- Enable the first checkbox “Run AutoArchive every — days” and select the number of days between the schedules.
You have many other options to customize the automatic archiving function.
- Get an alert before Outlook automatically runs the archiving.
- Show or hide archived items in the “Archives” section on the mailbox.
- Setup the default time for cleaning up the emails in “Clean out items older than…”. For example, you can set 3 months, so that Outlook automatically archive the items older than 3 months.
- Select the checkbox “Permanently delete old items”, if you want to permanently delete items older than the specified date.
- Change the default place on your computer to save the archived file.
After providing the details, click on save button to schedule the AutoArchive.
Manually Arching Emails in Outlook
One issue with AutoArchive is that it will start running when you open Outlook on the scheduled day. Unless you have enabled the alert, it will disturb your working schedule. The alternate option is that you can manually archive emails whenever you have free time.
- Go to “File > Info” menu.
- Click on the “Cleanup Tools” button and choose “Archive…” option.
- On the popup, select the folders you want to archive and start archiving the items.
- You can view the status bar showing the progress.
Related: How to insert emojis in Outlook?
Scheduling AutoArchive for Individual Folders
The above way of scheduling will archive all items on inbox, calendar, sent items and other folders. You can view the same folder structure under “Archives” shown generally below your inbox.
However, you can also have different AutoArchive schedule for inbox, sent items and calendar.
- Let us say you want to setup AutoArchive for “Sent Items” folder. Right click on the “Sent Items” you want to setup AutoArchive and choose “Properties”.
- Select the option “Archive this folder using these settings:” and setup the schedule.
Viewing Archived Emails
As mentioned, you can view the archived emails in the Outlook app similar to your regular inbox. Outlook will save the archived emails as .pst or .ost file. PST stands for Personal Storage Table and ost stands for Off-line Storage Table. You can find the archive file under the folder:
If you have changed the path or file name in settings then look under the selected folder. You can copy and use this PST file for using with any Outlook client. In earlier versions of Outlook, Microsoft had a size limitation of 2GB for the .pst files. However, the limit is 50GB from Outlook 2010 on Windows and 10GB in Outlook 2011 on Mac.
When changing the organization or computer, you can copy the old archive file and link to your new Outlook account. You will see the “Archives” section under your inbox in the sidebar. This will help you to view the old emails as well as continue archiving your new emails with the same old pst file.