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You aren't limited to only your default Personal Folders file. You can create as many Personal Folders files as you need. You might want to create new Personal Folders files for different projects. If you have a hard time keeping your email organized, you might even want to create a new Personal Folders file for each year. You can archive your emails from each year into their own Personal Folders file.

Creating a New Personal Folders File

To create a new Personal Folders file, select File, New, Outlook Data File (see Figure 3.30).

Figure 3.30Figure 3.30 You can create two types of Personal Folders files.

Outlook 2003 can use two types of Personal Folders files. You can create a new Unicode-compatible Personal Folders file that supports the new 33TB size limit, or choose to create a Personal Folders file compatible with all previous versions of Outlook. Select the type of Personal Folders file you need to create and click OK to display Figure 3.31.


If you only need to access your Personal Folders file from Outlook 2003, you can create either type of Personal Folders file. If you need to access your Personal Folders file from previous versions of Outlook, you should never create a Unicode Personal Folders file. The new, Unicode-compatible Personal Folders file cannot be opened in previous versions of Outlook. It doesn't matter if you're importing items from older versions of Outlook, you can still use the new format as long as you no longer need to access the file with previous Outlook versions.

Outlook suggests a default location for your new Personal Folders file. The default location is C:\Documents and Settings\ProfileName\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\ Outlook. You can change this location to another folder on your hard drive or a network file share. Select a location for your Personal Folders file and enter a filename. Click OK to open the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog box shown in Figure 3.32.

Figure 3.31Figure 3.31 Select the location for your new Personal Folders file.

Figure 3.32Figure 3.32 You can enter specific details about your Personal Folders file, such as name, display name, and type of encryption.

The name you enter in the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog box is the actual filename for your Personal Folders file. You can also choose a display name that will show in Outlook's folder list. Select from three types of encryption:

  • No Encryption—This option does not encode your file. It's possible that your Personal Folders file could be read by a text editor or hex editor.

  • Compressible Encryption—This setting encodes the file in a format that allows compression, but compression occurs only if you have a compression program set up on your computer. This setting prevents your Personal Folders file from being read by a text or hex editor.

  • Best Encryption—This setting allows for the most protection. The file can be compressed by a disk compression program, although not to the degree allowed by compressible encryption.

You can also password protect your Personal Folders file when you create it. Be aware that there are many password-cracking utilities on the market today. Many are low cost or free. If you're concerned about a nosy officemate reading your email, use a Personal Folders password. If you're dealing in highly sensitive information, consider an encryption program such as PGP (http://www.pgp.com). Click OK to create your Personal Folders file. Your folder list will now include your new personal folders. If you look at Figure 3.33, you'll see my new personal folder, Meeting Minutes Archive, in my folder list.

Figure 3.33Figure 3.33 Your folder list displays all open Personal Folders files in alphabetical order.

You can create as many Personal Folders files as you need. Many people use a Personal Folders file to store all communications about a particular project or with a particular client.

After you create a Personal Folders file, you can set it as the default delivery location for your received messages. Select Tools, Email Accounts and choose to view or change existing email accounts. Use the drop-down list marked Deliver New Email to the Following Location and select the Personal Folders file you need. It's important to name your Personal Folders files when you create them so that you see something other than multiple instances of the title Personal Folders in this drop-down box.

Opening a Personal Folders File

Personal Folders files are an easy way to share information with others. If you need to transfer all of your contacts to another person, you can export those contacts to a Personal Folders file and send the entire Personal Folders file to that person. Many professional sports teams and even some Little League teams are emailing Personal Folders files to fans or parents for import into their Calendar. To open a Personal Folders file, select File, Open, Outlook Data File. Navigate to your Personal Folders file and click Open. The Personal Folders file is added to your folder list. If you receive a Personal Folders file via email, you must first save it to your hard drive, and then open it through Outlook.

Removing a Personal Folders File from the Folder List

If you create a large number of Personal Folders files, you'll probably want to remove some of them from the folder list eventually. After all, if you make heavy use of the Favorite Folders portion of the Navigation Pane or have a screen resolution of 800x600, you can't see very many folders in the folder list area. To close a Personal Folders file, right-click on the name of the Personal Folders file and select Close <filename>. The Personal Folders file then disappears from your folder list. This doesn't delete the Personal Folders file. The data is still intact and you can reopen it at any time. The only way to delete a Personal Folders file is to find the file in the file system and delete it. You cannot delete it from within Outlook.

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