How-To

How to Configure and Manage AutoArchive in Microsoft Outlook

For an easy way to keep your inbox and folders clean, you can automatically remove older items using AutoArchive in Outlook.

If you want to clean up your folders and inbox but don’t want to spend the time to manually do this, consider using the AutoArchive feature in Microsoft Outlook. Using AutoArchive, you can tuck away older emails and items you no longer need but don’t necessarily want to delete.

You can decide when to archive your items, which ones to archive, and where they should be sent. With the overarching AutoArchive setting for Outlook, you can set up AutoArchive for specific folders or completely remove folders from the archive process.

Let’s walk through your options to configure and manage AutoArchive in Outlook.

Set Up AutoArchive in Outlook

To set up a schedule and select the items and location for AutoArchive in Outlook, follow these steps.

  1. Open Outlook on Windows and click File > Options.
  2. Select Advanced on the left.
  3. Click the AutoArchive Settings button on the right.

Advanced, AutoArchive Settings in Outlook

When the AutoArchive window opens, check the box at the top to Run AutoArchive every X days and pick the number of days. Optionally, you can check the next box to be notified before the AutoArchive runs.

Enable AutoArchive

Next, decide how to manage items during AutoArchive. You can delete expired items in email folders, archive or delete old items, and show the archive folder in your folder list. If you decide to show that folder, you’ll be able to access an archived item if needed quickly.

Items to manage during AutoArchive

Now you’ll choose the age of the items you want to include. Enter a number and then pick Months, Weeks, or Days.

Age of the items to archive

Finally, pick where to send the archived items. You can browse for a folder or permanently delete them if you prefer.

Archive location in Outlook

If you want to apply these AutoArchive settings to all of your Outlook folders, click the button to do so. And if you’re finished, click OK to apply the settings.

Note: When you have more than one email account set up in Outlook, the above settings apply to all accounts. If this is a concern, you can configure AutoArchive settings for particular folders, which we’ll explain next.

Configure AutoArchive for a Folder

You can use different age and location settings for specific folders or exclude certain folders from the AutoArchive process altogether.

  1. Select a folder that you want to adjust the settings for, right-click, and pick Properties.
  2. Open the AutoArchive tab.
  3. Choose not to archive items in the folder, use the default archive settings, or archive the folder items with alternative settings you can configure.
    • If you pick the last option, select the age of the items. Then choose the location for the archived items or if you prefer to delete them permanently.
  4. Click Apply and then OK.

AutoArchive settings for a folder

Run an AutoArchive Outside of a Schedule

If there comes a time when you’d like to run the AutoArchive process outside of the timeframe you’ve set up, you can do this as well.

Click File and select Tools > Mailbox Cleanup.

File, Tools, Mailbox Cleanup

Hit the button for AutoArchive.

Cleanup, AutoArchive

AutoArchive for a Cleaner Outlook

AutoArchive is a handy and beneficial feature to take advantage of in Outlook. You can keep your inbox and your folders cleaner by removing old items. If you’re using an older version such as Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, check out our how-to for using AutoArchive in those versions.

And to work on your mailbox storage, take a look at how to manage your Outlook mailbox size.

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