Use Autoarchive to Save Space with Email in Outlook

Archive your email in Outlook to save space. Archived email is stored on your local machine instead of on the mail servers.

NOTE: Note that archived email will only be available on that machine only. If you try to view archived email on another machine (for example, in a computer lab), then your Archive Folder will be unavailable since you are on a different machine (although you can create another archive on that machine).


Mailbox cleanup, will help you decide what email--if any--needs to be deleted.

  1. Click File, then Mailbox Cleanup.
  2. Click on Mailbox Cleanup to View Mailbox Size.
  3. You can also choose to find items that are a certain size or older than a certain time span (the default is 90 days old).
  4. You can AutoArchive your folders, which will be discussed in detail below.
  5. You can empty your Deleted Items folder by clicking the second Click Here.

NOTE: This will completely empty the folder, including any subfolders (such as Spam folder).


Archive Email

  1. Click File, then Mailbox Cleanup.
  2. Click AutoArchive. This will automatically create an Archive Folders folder in the folder list. (If you do not see the folder list, click View, then Folder List.)
  3. AutoArchive will also populate the Archive Folder with email that is old, depending on predetermined rules.
      • Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Journal, Drafts: 6 months
      • Sent Items, Deleted Items: 2 months
      • Outbox: 3 months
  4. You can also click and drag items from your Inbox folders to the Archive Folders. The Archive Folders file structure parallels your Outlook Today file structure. This process is reversible and you can move items from Archive Folders to the Inbox by clicking and dragging the desired items from Archive Folders to your Inbox.

AutoArchive, after a predetermined interval.

To change the settings for all folders:

  1. Click File, then Options, and then the Advanced tab.
  2. Click AutoArchive Settings button.
  3. With Run AutoArchive every n days selected, specify how often to run AutoArchive.
  4. Select the options that you want.
  5. For Help on an option, click the question mark and then click the option.
  6. To apply the changes to all folders that currently use the default settings, click OK. This will not override custom archive settings that you have specified on individual folders.

NOTE: If you change the archive file listed under Move Old Items To, it's changed for all folders that use the default AutoArchive settings.

To change settings for individual folders:

  1. In the Folder List, right-click the folder you want to specify settings for, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
  2. Click the AutoArchive tab.
  3. Specify whether you want to archive this folder and if so, whether to use the default AutoArchive settings or your own settings. For Help on an option, click the question mark and then click the option.
  4. To archive to a file other than the default one, specify a different file name in the Move Old Items To box. The next time AutoArchive runs on this folder, Outlook will automatically create the new archive file for items in this folder.

Archive Manually

  1. Click File, then Mailbox Cleanup, then Archive.
  2. Specify whether to archive all folders using their AutoArchive settings (that is, either the default settings, or per-folder settings you specified for individual folders) or whether to archive an individual folder using the options you specify in this dialog box. For help on an option, click the question mark and then click the option.

NOTE: To archive a file other than the default one, specify a different file name in the Archive file box. Outlook automatically creates another archive file for items in the selected folder.