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How to add or create an archive file to manage Inbox size in Microsoft Outlook

Updated on November 2, 2013

Understanding The Archive File

If you are using Microsoft Outlook for work, your system administrator would be the person who maintains the, well, the systems in your office. Part of their job would be to ensure that the network chugs along without incident. For email accounts, that would mean not allowing anyone to have unlimited storage, which means limiting the amount of storage each individual can use. Usually, individuals over the limit would have their sending privilege revoked, then their receiving privilege revoked, and if they still do not clear their Inbox, perhaps both privilege revoked, thus effectively blocking out their account.

They limit the storage on the system end of things; however you can save emails over to your hard disk and remove them from the system, thus reducing your 'load' on the system. An analogue analogy would be to print out emails and delete them from your Gmail (or any other webmail) account, thus ensuring you do not reach the storage limit set for you.

Outlook has a built-in method to create an archive file that you can save all your emails from the system to your own hard disk. This Hub will show you how to create an archive file, so you can drag-and-drop emails easily from the system to your very own local archive file; both to save storage as well as safe-keeping.

Creating An Archive File

To create an archive file in Outlook 2007 or 2010, go to the 'File' tab.

Click on 'Cleanup Tools' then 'Archive'.

A dialogue box will open. This dialogue box will allow you to set up auto-archiving instructions as well. However, for this Hub we will just create a local archive file to save emails into.

Go to 'Archive' and click 'Browse'.

The usual 'Create File' dialogue box will now open. Here you can choose where you want to save your archive file too.

It is important to remember that when you drag an email from the system to your local hard disk, the email will be MOVED over to your local hard disk; i.e. the system will not have a copy of that email anymore. Therefore it is important to ensure that this archive file, which will contain your emails, is in a location that you will not accidentally delete.

Once you have decided where to save the file, type the name of the file you want and click 'Ok'.

And Your Archive File Is Created

That is all there is to it. You will now have an archive file that resides on your local hard disk and you can drag-and-drop emails from your Inbox (which resides on your company's system) to your own archive file (which resides on your own hard disk), thus ensuring you will never hit your system-administered limit.


You can also create named folders in your archive file, exactly like how you would with your Inbox. To create folders, just right-click on the archive file (in the image above, right-click on 'Items') and select 'New Folder'.

Now you can drag-and-drop emails - both from your Inbox and archive file - into folders to sort your emails properly.


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