Outlook 2016 Archive Button—Can’t Change Target Folder Now

Nov 27, 2017

In my June 6, 2017 newsletter I discussed using the Archive folder and button that Microsoft added to some releases of Outlook 2016. I also wrote about it in the 5th Edition of my Outlook book. In both places I stated that you could change the target folder that the Archive button points to. And I suggested pointing it to the Processed Mail folder.

Well, in a new build of Outlook 2016 this last fall Microsoft removed the ability to change the target folder for that button. The button can now only be pointed at the Archive folder.

I think Microsoft removed the ability to choose your own target folder because Microsoft is adding the Archive button to all its mail products, including their phone apps, and they probably found that it’s too hard to support it if people keep moving the target folder around. So I guess I don’t blame them.

If you like the one-click approach for filing into the Processed Mail folder, then using a Quick Step to do the same thing is not a bad workaround and more flexible. (Watch free Video #24 at this link for more info on Quick Steps).

However there are some advantages to the Archive button. First is it’s Backspace key shortcut—that’s pretty handy. Next is that Microsoft added it to its smartphone Outlook app, and if you use that app having that button there is also pretty handy.

So my suggestion is this: some MYN users might consider using the Archive folder instead of the Processed Mail folder, so you can get those benefits. You’d use it in exactly the same way as the Processed Mail folder, and simply move all mail there. As far as I can see, there are no downsides to making that change.


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7 Responses to Outlook 2016 Archive Button—Can’t Change Target Folder Now

  1. Great update. I’ve felt using Archive folder makes things simpler for Processed Mail. Thx.

  2. Jon says:


    I take it I cannot just rename my “Processed mail” folder “Archive” for this to work?

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      That’s correct. You can rename it, but it won’t become the target for the Archive button. Plus, Archive is terrible name for the Processed Mail folder. Archive implies you are completely done with mail. The name “Processed mail” simply states that you took one pass at processing and extracted any important tasks, but you might still come back to the Processed Mail folder and study some of this mail some more. Michael

  3. Harry C Spinks says:

    There’s one downside of the Archive folder. I use an ISP for my email service provider and Outlook on my desktop. IMAP linking keeps the folders synchronized between the ISP and my desktop. Well, all folders except the Archive folder. It’s on “This computer only” by default. So, I don’t have access to the folder from other computers.
    I created a Quick Step to move email to the “Processed Mail” folder and have the Quick Step shortcut in my Quick Access Toolbar. I still use the Archive folder, but not for email that I may want to access from another computer.

  4. Steve Deal says:

    Is there a workaround to rename the folder? If a user set it up last year named ‘2017’ — is the Archive folder doomed to be named that forever?

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