Microsoft Outlook has always been an essential tool for me to manage my emails. If you are like me, you will probably notice that Outlook might become a bit sluggish with regular use. This is not unusual – emails have the bad habit of rapidly clogging our inbox and end up taking a considerable place on our hard disk.
This in turn make Microsoft Oulook slower to open or takes a significant amount of time to search for an email you just sent recently. Sure, you can always delete your old emails from your inbox to keep things running smoothly, but sometimes you might want to keep your old emails. You never know when you might need to sift through them again. That’s where the archiving email feature comes to the rescue!
Archive emails in Outlook 2013
You probably already know that all your emails in Outlook are stored in a special file called Outlook Data file with the extension .PST. When you archive your emails, they are not copied but MOVED to a separate, compressed .pst file (normally called archive.pst). By using the archiving feature in Outlook 2013, you are not only archiving your emails but nearly all other items such as your calendar and task data.
There are two main approaches in archiving data in Outlook 2013. You can configure it to archive your emails automatically using the AutoArchive feature, or if you want more flexibility like, for example, choosing which folder exactly to archive, you can do it manually. You may choose to use either or both methods to archive your emails.
Setting up Auto Archive
The AutoArchive feature is disabled by default in Outlook 2013. However, chances are that if you are using Microsoft Outlook 2013 at work, it might have already been enabled for you. In order to set up Outlook 2013 to archive your items automatically or change the way how it does the job for you, follow the steps below:
- Open your Outlook and click on
Filetab at the top.
- Click on
Optionsin the left pane to open the Outlook Options window.
- On the left-hand side pane, click on
Advancedand under the label AutoArchive, click the
AutoArchive Settingsbutton. The AutoArchive dialog box appears.
- While that window contains lots of check boxes, it might look scary at first and makes you want to close it as soon as possible. Fear not, this screen boils down to three tidbits as follows:
- It tells you whether the AutoArchive feature is on.
- How often Outlook should archive your emails.
- How old an email needs to be in order to be qualified for archiving.
Run AutoArchive every ... By default, Microsoft Outlook 2013 will run an archiving check every 14 days, and if it finds email older than six months, it will automatically be removed from your inbox and places it in a separate file(archive.pst).
While these default options should be fine for most people, feel free to change it according to your needs.
Manually archive emails
In situations where you see that outlook is running slower than normal, it is a good idea to archive your emails manually. Manual archiving also have slightly more flexibility as compared to auto-archiving. For example:
- You can specify a cutoff date to archive your emails. For example, you can choose to archive all emails received before a specific date.
To perform a manual archive of your emails, follow these steps:
- Click on the
Filetab in the ribbon menu at the top and choose
Infoin the left pane.
- Click on the
Cleanup Toolsand pick up
Archive..from the list.
- From the Archive window, choose which folder you want to archive and pick up a cutoff date. By default, it will archive items older than three months. Feel free to change it according to your needs. Optionally, you can also change the default name and location of the archived file.
- Click on
Open & Exportoption in the left pane.
Open Outlook Data File
- Navigate to the directory where you have saved your archive.pst file. Normally, you can find this in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Outlook Files folder. Once you have located your archive file, click
Searching email in archive
As soon as Outlook archive your emails, you will see a new label called Archives in the left page of your
HOME tab. Depending on what you have chosen to archive, you should see the corresponding folder (Inbox, Sent Items, etc.) under this label.
In case you cannot find the Archive section in Outlook, you probably need to import your archive.pst file first.
You should now see all your archived emails within Outlook.