Sure, deleting old messages is a great way to clean out your Inbox, but sometimes you need to hang on to your messages for posterity, or in case you need to refer to them again to recall an exchange. You can archive messages, sort of like putting them into storage, but without the mothballs or monthly rental fee.
You can archive manually or automate the task. Outlook’s AutoArchive tool is perfect for taking care of archiving tasks in the background without any help from you. You can set different archiving tasks for different folders. For example, you can instruct the tool to automatically archive messages in your Inbox that are older than 3 months and move them to a special archive folder.
By default, Outlook is set up to archive messages to a file named archive.pst. You can specify another location for your archive files as well as specify more descriptive filenames.
Manually Archive Messages
If you’re doing a little folder cleaning, you can manually archive messages. For example, you might be wrapping up a work project and need to put all the email messages associated with it into an archive file.
To manually archive messages, follow these steps:
- Click the File tab.
- Click Info.
Click Cleanup Tools (see Figure 5.16).
FIGURE 5.16 Use the Backstage view to find your way to Outlook’s cleanup tools.
Click Archive to open the Archive dialog box shown in Figure 5.17.
FIGURE 5.17 Use the Archive dialog box to manually archive old messages.
- Click the folder you want to archive.
- Choose a cutoff date, such as items older than 6 months.
- Choose an archive file location (click the Browse button, navigate to the location, and specify a more descriptive filename), or use the default filename and locations.
- Click OK, and Outlook archives the messages.
Setting Up Automatic Archiving
You can instruct Outlook to perform automatic archiving for you. You can set automatic archiving for individual folders or the Inbox in general. To set up automatic archiving, follow these steps:
- Select the folder or subfolder you want to archive, such as your Inbox or an old project folder.
- Click the Folder tab.
- Click the AutoArchive Settings button.
Outlook opens the Junk E-mail Properties dialog box to the AutoArchive tab of tools, as shown in Figure 5.18. Click Archive this folder using these settings option.
FIGURE 5.18 Use the AutoArchive feature to automatically archive old messages.
- Specify the age of the messages, such as older than 3 months.
- Specify a location for the archived file, or use the default location.
- Click OK.
Each folder can have its own archiving settings, which is handy if you don’t want some folders tampered with, but others are good to square away.