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Understanding Email Archiving

Understanding Email Archiving

There comes a time in every email account when your mailbox storage reaches it's limit. In the case of Office 365, used in conjunction with Outlook 2016, the standard threshold is 50 gigabytes. If you've reached the standard threshold and your mail is no longer sending or receiving, you can quickly free up some space by clearing out your deleted items folder. Simply right click over the folder and select the option "Empty Folder". This should free up some initial space, but it is advisable at this point to setup and enable the Auto Archive tool within Outlook.

Setting up Automatic Email Archiving:

For the purposes of this example, we will be using Outlook 2016:

  • Launch Outlook and select File, then select Options
  • In the Options window, select Advanced, then click on AutoArchive Settings

  • Check off the interval for running the auto Archive (default is 14 days)
  • If you wish to designate a special folder on your local PC or network location, you may do this by selecting the option "Move Old Items to." (It is advisable to place the archive in an environment where your files are backed up, such as a network location.)
  • Press OK when complete.

  • Once these settings have been saved, they can be run immediately (prior to the schedule) by selecting File / Tools / Clean up Old Items
  • Select “Archive All folders according to their Auto-Archive settings," then OK


  • The mail status on the bottom of your Outlook window will indicate that Archiving is in progress.
  • As the archiving progresses, a new Folder will be posted in your Mail view called “Archives”

The above procedure will reduce the size of your mailbox immediately when run.

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