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Saving Data Items

The section "How Outlook Saves Data Items" in Chapter 1, "How Outlook Works," explained that Outlook saves data items either in a Personal Folders file on a hard disk or in the Exchange store. You can control where Outlook saves data items.

If you set up Outlook for use only as a client for an Exchange server, Outlook assumes you want to save data items in a store on the Exchange server. If you prefer, you can create a Personal Folders file on your hard disk and save data items there. Although there's usually not a reason to do so, you can create several Personal Folders files and select one of them to be the place where Outlook saves data items.

If you set up Outlook for use only to send and receive e-mail from the Internet or an intranet, Outlook creates a Personal Folders file in which all data items are stored.

The next two sections explain what happens after you've set up Outlook for use as a client for an Exchange Server as well as to send and receive Internet or intranet e-mail.


If your administrator has set up Exchange Server appropriately, you can use Outlook to send and receive Internet and intranet messages by way of the server. I'm talking here, though, of sending Internet and intranet messages directly from Outlook.

Identifying the Default Storage Location

With Outlook set up for use as a client for an Exchange server and to send and receive Internet or intranet messages, you have two possible places—your Exchange store and your Personal Folders file—in which Outlook can store data items. One of these is the default in which Outlook saves all data items, not only messages, but also all calendar, contact, deleted items, drafts, journal, note, and task data items.

To see which location is the default, select View, Folder List to display the folder list, which should look similar to the one in Figure 3.11.

Figure 3.11 This is a typical folder list for Outlook set up as a client for an Exchange server and for Internet or intranet e-mail.

This folder list contains four storage locations:

  • Hotmail

  • Outlook Today - [Mailbox - Gordon Padwick]

  • Personal Folders - Gordon

  • Public Folders

The first is a Personal Folders file that was automatically created at the time a Hotmail account was created. The second is an Exchange store, identified as such by the word Mailbox. The third—Personal Folders – Gordon—is a Personal Folders file. The fourth—Public Folders—is a location you can use to share information by way of Exchange Server.

For information about public folders, see "Using Public Folders," p. 454.

The second storage location (the Exchange store) shown in Figure 3.11 is identified as the default store by the image of a house over the icon at the left of the location's name. With Outlook set up in this way, all messages you receive (whether from the Exchange Server or from the Internet) are saved in the Exchange store. Likewise, all other Outlook data items you create or receive are saved in the Exchange store.

Changing the Default Storage Location

This section assumes you have set up Outlook as a client for an Exchange server and also to send and receive Internet or intranet e-mail, so that you have an Exchange store and a Personal Folders file available as storage locations.

However many storage locations are available, it's important to understand that one of these is the default location in which Outlook saves all data items. This section explains how you can select the storage location you want Outlook to use.


If you use Outlook as a client for Exchange and are desk-bound, you normally should save all your data items on the server. By doing that, you can take full advantage of Outlook's capability to share information with other people.

Select Tools, E-mail Accounts to display the E-mail Accounts window previously shown in Figure 3.1. In that window, select View or Change Existing E-mail Accounts and click Next to display the window previously shown in Figure 3.10.

The Deliver New E-mail to the Following Location box near the bottom of the window shows the default location in which Outlook currently saves all data items, your Exchange Server store in this case. Although the name of the box seems to apply only to e-mail messages, in fact, the named location is where Outlook saves all data items.

Open the drop-down Deliver New E-mail to the Following Location list to see the names of all available storage locations.

If you want to change to a different storage location, select that location in the list, and then click Finish. Outlook displays a message stating You have changed the default delivery location for your e-mail. This will change the location of your Inbox, Calendar, and other folders. These changes will take effect the next time you start Outlook.

Click OK to accept the change. Select File, Exit to close Outlook; then restart Outlook.

When Outlook restarts, it displays a message stating that The location messages are delivered to has changed.... Read the message carefully because you might need to follow the recommendations included in it. Click Yes to continue. When an Outlook Information viewer appears, you can, if you want, select View, Folder List. Now, in the Folder List, you'll see the Personal Folders file indicated as the default storage location by the house image superimposed over that folder's icon.

After doing this, Outlook saves all the data items you create or receive in the new default location.

Creating Storage Locations

To create an additional storage location, select Tools, E-mail Accounts to display the window previously shown in Figure 3.1. Select View or Change Existing E-mail Accounts and click Next to display the window previously shown in Figure 3.10. In that window, click New Outlook Data File to display a dialog box similar to the one shown in Figure 3.12.

Figure 3.12 This dialog box offers the ability to create a Personal Folders file.

This list doesn't include storage locations not under your control, such as your account on an Exchange server. That's because you can't create storage locations on the server from within Outlook. Only the Exchange Server administrator can create storage locations within Exchange Server.

With the dialog box shown in Figure 3.12 displayed, click OK to display the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box. Here you can select the location within the Windows file structure where you want to save the file and enter a name for the file. Click OK to display the dialog box shown in Figure 3.13.

Figure 3.13 Use this dialog box to customize the new Personal Folders file.

The dimmed File box at the top of the dialog box shown in Figure 3.13 contains the path of the new file. Enter a name by which Outlook will identify the new file in the Name box. Select an encryption setting and, optionally, protect the file with a password.

Click OK to close the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog box and return to the Outlook Data Files dialog box previously shown in Figure 3.12. The list of data files in this dialog box now contains the name of the new data file. Close that dialog box to return to the E-mail Accounts dialog box previously shown in Figure 3.10. In that dialog box, you can open the Deliver New E-mail to the Following Location drop-down list and, if you want, select the new data file as the default in which Outlook saves all new items.

You can select View, Folder List to see the new data file as one of your folders. If you do this without making the new data file your default, that data file contains only a Deleted Items folder. If you do make the new data file your default and follow the instructions to close and then restart Outlook, the Folder List shows the new data file with a complete set of Outlook's standard folders.

→ For more information about working with data files and Outlook's folders, see "Managing Outlook Folders," p. 299.

Grouping E-mail Accounts

Prior to Outlook 2002, Outlook handled all accounts separately. By default, Outlook 2002 still handles all accounts separately, but it does enable you to create groups of accounts. If you have only a few accounts, as many people do, the ability to create groups of accounts is of little practical value. However, if you have a substantial number of accounts, creating groups can save you a lot of time. By grouping your accounts, you can specify settings for a group instead of having to specify settings for each account separately.

To work with groups of accounts, select Tools, Options, select the Mail Setup tab in the Options dialog box, and click Send/Receive. The Send/Receive dialog box is where you can create account groups and specify group settings.

For information about creating account groups, see "Sending and Receiving Messages," p. 555.

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