The 4 ways to Archive your Outlook E-mail

July 10, 2018

At some point you may need to archive your Outlook email. Here are the four main ways you can archive your email using Outlook. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and not all are available to all people or all versions. They are: 1) the new Archive button; 2) using local storage; 3) using Exchange’s Archive Mailbox; and 4) saving mail in other formats. Let’s go over each of these.  

#1 Use the new Archive Button in the latest versions of Outlook, Windows, Mac, Online. This is not true archiving because it does not make room on your server, but it gets the mail out of your Inbox, which is good. I write about the Archive Button here.

#2 Use local storage in Outlook in Windows and Mac. Local storage in Outlook Mac means using it’s On My Computer folders. In Windows Outlook that means creating a PST file group (the latter I show how to do in Lesson 7.2 of the Outlook Inbox Ninja course). These methods display the local-storage folders right in Outlook, which is good. This is true archiving—it does remove mail from your server and make room there. And you are only limited by hard drive space. But you will then need ways to back up those local files to avoid losing your old mail if your hard drive crashes. And you can’t get at the mail from mobile devices. In Windows Outlook you can automate PST use with AutoArchive, (which I show how to do in Lesson 7.3 of the Outlook Inbox Ninja course). Note many companies forbid their employees from using local storage for email due to email discovery policies. For example, the PST file creation process might be turned off in Outlook in your company.

#3 Use an Online Archive Mailbox (also called In-Place Archive) in Exchange. Windows and Mac. Few companies have adopted this yet, but it’s a way to remove mail from your main Exchange Server account, thus making more room there—so it is true archiving. It stores the old mail on slower and less expensive disk drives on the Exchange Server (so there are storage limits). Companies like this because they have control over your old retained mail. And it’s convenient to you because it will work from any computer, perhaps even mobile devices. You should ask your IT department if this is available to you. More info here.

#4 Saving mail in other formats (and then deleting it from your server). This is my least-recommended method as it’s slow to do and requires extra work. And it does not display the mail in Outlook. Here’s how to do this: in Windows Outlook if you fully open an email in a new window, if you then choose File, Save As… you can choose the .msg file format and save the message as an individual file on your hard drive. Then delete the original. You must do this one message at a time, so it’s really slow. Another way is to use OneNote’s email import function, and it has good potential. A much faster method is to save entire Outlook folders in one step using the Adobe Acrobat application. However, this requires you own the full Adobe Acrobat application (not Adobe Acrobat Reader, nor Adobe Reader). This is a good solution if your company blocks PSTs and if they will allow you to install the Acrobat application. Scroll down to free Video 7.4 at my Outlook Inbox Ninja video course page for more information.

Comprehensive Strategy for Archiving

Section 7 of my Outlook Inbox Ninja video course provides you with an overview and a deeper dive on all these archive approaches. I suggest you give that a look before committing to any one solution.


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2 Responses to The 4 ways to Archive your Outlook E-mail

  1. Michael Linenberger says:

    To add to my article above, a reader mentioned that there are 3rd-party products out there to help with archiving. He mentioned this one:
    I have no experience with them, but it makes sense for a product like this to exist, moving your mail to other servers. Don’t know if it can be installed in a corporate environment.
    Another less-automated solution is to link another email account you own into your Outlook, one that has lots of servers space, so that its folders show up on the left side of Outlook. Then you can simply drag mail to it in Outlook. Michael

  2. Henry Larry says:

    The Archive Button offers quick relief for inbox clutter but falls short on server space. Local storage though effective poses challenges like data loss and mobile accessibility limits.
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