How To Clean Up Outlook 2010 Folders And Conversations

Clean Up Outlook 2010 MessagesCleaning up your inbox can at times be a really long process.  Especially for those of us in the Corporate environment where a single issue can turn into a few dozen emails while we talk about the issue and possible solutions.  Trying to wade through which email is a reply in the chain or a separate discussion we should keep can be time consuming and fill up the inbox since my day is spent reading emails not deleting them…  Good news with Outlook 2010 is the ability to actually auto-clean conversations for you.  It’s very groovy and it works really well.  Let’s take a look and put it to work!

Step 1

Under the Home ribbon Click the Clean Up tool and you’ll have three options.

  • Clean Up Conversation – just one chain of emails
  • Clean Up Folder – entire inbox or other folder
  • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders

clean up your folder or conversations in outlook 2010

Select the option that suits your needs, if you are new to Outlook 2010 I suggest you start with cleaning conversations to avoid accidentally erasing the wrong emails from your inbox.  With either option, be sure to Select which folder or conversation you would like to clean up.

outlook 2010 conversations and folders

Step 2

After Clicking a Clean Up option a small dialog box will appear.  In this box Click the Settings button.

clean up folders and subfolders settings outlook 2010

Step 3

The Outlook Options window should automatically open up to the Mail tab.  Scroll-down to the Conversation Clean Up section and here you can completely customize the Clean Up tool.  Most of the settings are straight-forward but keep in mind that cleaned up emails will by default go to the Deleted Items (Trash) folder, but you can change that if you Click Browse and Select a different folder.  Click OK to save any changes you make.

mail options outlook 2010 conversation clean up

Step 4

Now that we have things set up the way we want, Click Clean Up on that dialog box that had first appeared.

outlook 2010 clean up


Outlook will go through your folder or conversation and clean out all of the conversations that it considers useless according to the settings you entered in Step 3.

If you were successful at cleaning out some emails, you won’t see any notification.  Instead the cleaned up emails will be moved to your Deleted Items folder or wherever you specified they should go.

If there was nothing to clean you’ll see a dialog box appear alerting you that “No messages were cleaned up.”

outlook 2010 deleted items folderimageoutlook 2010 no emails to clean up

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