How to Archive your Emails in Outlook 2010

how to archive in outlook 2010Microsoft Outlook is a part of the Microsoft Productivity suite. It’s not only a great email management application, but it also doubles as a task manager and planner. It can also be used as a contact manager, calendar, journal, note taker and a web browser. Microsoft Outlook is perfect for you if you get a lot of emails on a regular basis. Microsoft Outlook can also connect you to your favorite social media websites like Facebook and Twitter through downloadable plugins.

Archiving Emails in Outlook 2010

If you use Outlook, chances are your inbox is flooded with hundreds, if not thousands, of emails. Some of these emails are bound to be important to you- for business reasons, personal ones or both.  As the emails begin to pile up, Outlook begins to slow down. To keep your Outlook application functioning at an optimal level, it’s recommended that you clean out your inbox regularly. But what do you do with your important emails? You can preserve them through the archiving feature that is built into Outlook 2010.

Archiving will move your emails to your hard drive to a location of your choice. These emails can then be backed up to a CD or a flash-drive for added security. Please keep in mind that if you delete your archived file(s) you won’t be able to retrieve or read your old emails.

You can either choose to archive your emails manually or enable the auto-archiving option. The auto-archiving feature runs every few days, depending on the settings. It’s recommended that you set up the auto-archiving, as it’s more convenient of the two options and a timesaver.

Archiving Emails Manually

To archive your emails manually, first click on the File tab at the top left of your screen. Then select the Info option on the menu that appears. This will bring up a page with titled Account Information. Click on the Cleanup Tools option (it should be the last option on the page). On the drop down menu that appears, click on the Archive option.

This will bring up the Archiving options. You can select the “Archive this folder and all subfolders” option and then select the folder that you want to store. You can choose which emails in this folder will be archived by setting the “Archive items older than: date” option.

You can choose a storage location for these emails by clicking on the Browse button and finding a folder of your choice. Once you save your emails, it will create a Outlook Data (.pst) file.

Archiving Emails Automatically

To archive your emails automatically, click on the File tab at the top left of your screen and then click on Options (below the Help selection). A box titled Outlook Options should pop up. Click on Advanced.

This will bring up the Options for working with Outlook section. The AutoArchive settings are the third selection on the page. Clicking on it will bring up a smaller box that lets you enable AutoArchiving.

The various options here need some explanation:

Run AutoArchive every “__“ days: You can enable auto archiving by ticking this option. It’s recommended that you run AutoArchive every week if a high volume of emails find their way into your inbox. If you don’t receive many emails, you could let AutoArchive run once a month.

Prompt before AutoArchive runs: AutoArchive is likely to use a significant amount of system resources when it runs, and it may start running when you’re working. Ticking this option will let you stop AutoArchiving if it runs at an inopportune time.

Delete Expire Items: This feature will delete expired emails in your emails folder. What are expired emails? Expired emails are emails that are useless after a certain date. For example, an email might contain a coupon code that is valid for a month, after which it will expire.

Archive or Delete Old Items: Old items are emails that are older than what you specify in the “Clean out items older than x months” setting. Outlook will automatically clean these up. You can ask Outlook to permanently delete your old items as well.

Show Archive Folder in Folders List: This option is pretty self-explanatory. Tick if you want to view your archive folder in your folders list. Your archive folder will appear in the navigation pane.

AutoArchive is disabled by default. It is also set to delete your old emails as soon as it archives them (which you can change). Once you’re done customizing your settings, click on the “Apply these settings to all folders now” option.

Please take note of the fact that a single Outlook data file cannot exceed 20GB in size. You can create multiple archive files to get around this restriction.

How to Retrieve Archived Files

Now that you know how to archive your files, how do you actually read your archived email(s)? You can either open the Outlook data file (.pst) file that contains your email inside Outlook or you can transfer your archive files back into your inbox. Obviously, the first option is more efficient, especially if your .pst file is very large.

You can also read your old archived emails on another machine if you transfer your Outlook data file to it.

Opening an Outlook data file in Outlook: To read your old emails, first click on the File tab at the top-left corner of the screen. Select the Open option and then click on the Open Outlook Data File selection. Navigate to where your archive file is located it and open it.

Importing Outlook data files: You can transfer all your emails that you archived out of your mailbox back in again by importing them. To import Outlook data files, click on the File tab at the top-left corner of the screen. Select the Open option and then click on Import. Browse to where your archive file is located and open it. Please note that this option may use a lot of system resources and could take a while to work.

As you can see, Outlook has many options to enable and customize saving your emails. If you’d like to better understand other advanced options in Outlook, you can try our course. Once you get comfortable with the email management options, do try out the time management options Outlook provides.