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Archive Your Email for an Uncluttered Inbox
You might be on top of your home office mailbox and keep it well organized. Regardless, you will want to store older messages to conserve storage space. Outlook archives old items to an archive file, deletes expired items or both. A good way to go about this is to archive messages sent and received before a specific date for messages that you need to keep, but rarely review.
Outlook turns on AutoArchive by default to automatically archive old items on a set schedule. Outlook archives the following items:
- Outbox items older than three months
- Sent and Deleted items older than two months
- All other items including the Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Journals and Drafts older than six months.
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How to Archive Outlook Email
To modify AutoArchive settings, do the following:
- Click Options from the Tools menu.
- Select the Other tab.
- Click AutoArchive.
- Select and change the options you want for AutoArchive.
- Click Apply these settings to all folders now to apply the new options to all folders. This overrides any custom archive settings applied to individual folders.
Set AutoArchives for individual folders by doing the following steps:
- Right-click the folder to change its settings and click Properties.
- Select the AutoArchive tab.
- Decide whether to archive the folder. If not, select Do not archive items in this folder and click Apply. If you want to archive this folder, go to Step 4.
- Decide whether to apply the default AutoArchive settings or archive the folder using the settings you set.
- Click Apply.
- Click OK.
Manually run AutoArchive using the following steps:
- Click Archive from the File menu.
- Select to archive all folders based on AutoArchive settings or Archive a specific folder.
- Enter the date to archive items sent and received before the selected date.
- Complete the remaining settings based on your preferences.
- Click OK.
Restore archived items back to their original folders by following these steps:
- Select Import and Export from the File menu.
- Click Import from another program or file.
- Click Next.
- Select Personal Folder File (.pst) and click Next.
- Change the file name from backup.pst to the name of the archive file to import.
- Select the folder to import from and click Include subfolders, if preferred.
- Select how you want Outlook to handle duplicates.
- Click Import items into the same folder in, and click the folders with the same name as the folders from which you import.
- Click Finish.
To restore archived items to a new folder, create the new folder and follow the previously outlined steps except for Step 8. Instead, click "Import items into the current folder."
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For more tips and tricks, be sure to take a look at the other tutorials in Bright Hub's collection of Microsoft Outlook user guides and how-to articles.