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This article presents a summary of the Microsoft Outlook AutoArchive feature and how to use it.
Your Outlook mailbox grows as items are created, in the same way that papers pile up on your desk. In the paper-based world, you can occasionally shuffle through your documents and store those that are important but not frequently used. Documents that are less important, such as newspapers and magazines, you can discard based on their age.
You can quickly complete the same process in Outlook. You can manually transfer old items to a storage file by clicking Archive on the File menu, or you can have old items automatically transferred by using AutoArchive. Items are considered old when they reach the age you specify. With AutoArchive, you can either delete or move old items. Outlook can archive all types of items, but it can only locate files that are stored in a e-mail folder, such as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or Word document attached to an e-mail message. A file that is not stored in a e-mail folder cannot be archived.
AutoArchive is a two-step process. First, you turn on AutoArchive. Second, you set the AutoArchive properties for each folder that you want archived.
At the folder level, you can determine which items are archived, and how often they are archived. You can automatically archive individual folders, groups of folders, or all Outlook folders. The process runs automatically whenever you start Outlook. The AutoArchive properties of each folder are checked by date, and old items are moved to your archive file. Items in the Deleted Items folder are deleted.
Several Outlook folders are set up with AutoArchive turned on. These folders and their default aging periods are Calendar (6 months), Tasks (6 months), Journal (6 months), Sent Items (2 months), and Deleted Items (2 months). The Inbox, Notes, Contacts, and Drafts folders do not have AutoArchive activated automatically.
Archiving vs. ExportingWhen you archive, the original items are copied to the archive file, and then removed from the current folder. Your existing folder structure is maintained in your new archive file. If there is a parent folder above the folder you chose to archive, the parent folder is created in the archive file, but items within the parent folder are not archived. In this way, an identical folder structure exists between the archive file and your mailbox. Folders are left in place after being archived, even if they are empty.
When you export, the original items are copied to the export file, but are not removed from the current folder. In addition, you can only archive one file type, a personal folder file, but you can export many file types.
To Turn on AutoArchive
To Set AutoArchive Properties for a Folder
For more information about AutoArchive, click Microsoft Outlook Help on the Help menu, type How do I archive in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics.
Article ID: 239702 - Last Review: October 21, 2013 - Revision: 1.0