Best Way to Archive Outlook Emails to Declutter Your Inbox


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Has your Microsoft Outlook account slowed to a crawl? Are your basic email functions acting a little funny? It is possible that your Outlook inbox is overloaded with emails. To improve performance, you can archive your emails. But, do you know the best way to archive your Outlook emails? If you don’t, this blog can help you out.

However, before we proceed to the best way to archive Outlook emails, we are going to tell you why archiving is important.

Email archiving is a systematic approach to save and preserve your emails for future use. It is crucial for regulatory compliance and can protect against litigation. This is particularly important in industries that are strictly regulated.

Sure, archiving can improve your Outlook performance, but you must make sure you are doing it the right way. Archiving an email will move it from your inbox to a particular folder you create. By doing this, it is out of sight, but you can easily access it if you want. The archive feature lets you save messages you require without having to choose between clogged inboxes or putting them in the trash can.

Not let’s get on with the best way to archive emails in Outlook.

#1 Archiving Emails in Outlook Automatically

If you are using Outlook for desktop, you have the option to archive your emails automatically, using the Auto Archive Feature. With this feature, your emails are automatically archived in Outlook.

However, you must be careful about auto-archiving your emails, and here is why:

  • For starters, your emails will be archived into the folders of your laptop or PC. So, it might clog up the device and hamper its performance in the future.
  • In case the industry you are working in needs you to adhere to the email compliance laws, you might be breaking them if you begin storing the archived emails on a local device.
  • Archiving your Outlook emails on your personal computer or laptop might be a little risky. In case someone steals or hacks into your laptop, you will lose all archived emails.  

If you are ready to archive your emails automatically, here is what you must do.

  1. Open Outlook and click on ‘File’ to choose ‘Options’
  2. Next choose ‘Advanced’.
  3. On the right pane, you will find the option ‘Auto Archive’. So, click on the button ‘AutoArchiveSettings’.
  4. Check the box for the ‘Run AutoArchive Every’ option given at the top and mention when this feature should run for Outlook.
  5. In the ‘Default Folder Settings for Archiving’ category, choose an item that must be archived. You are basically specifying the age of the Outlook content.
  6. Click on ‘Browse’ to choose the destined folder for the archived file. But this step is only necessary if you do not prefer the default Outlook PST directory.
  7. Finally, click on OK given at the bottom of the page to save the changes you made.

In case you ever want to stop archiving emails automatically, disable the feature.  

#2 Archiving Emails Manually

Many prefer having more control over their email archives. In case you are one of them, archive your emails in outlook manually. By choosing this method, you can archive your emails as and when you require.

To archive your emails manually, here are the steps you must follow.

  1. Launch Outlook on your laptop or computer and click on ‘File’.
  2. Click on the ‘Info’ tab.
  3. From the tab, click on the down arrow icon to select ‘Tool’ and then ‘Clean Up Old Items’.
  4. You will notice a pop-up dialogue box that allows you to configure the manual email archive.
  5. It gives you two options to let you decide what to include in the archive. Opt for the one that you would like to use.
  6. Choose the folders that you want to add to the archive.
  7. Select the age of the items with the help of the calendar option.
  8. Click on Browse and select the folder where you would like to save the archived email.
  9. To start archiving, click on ‘OK’.

Email Archiving vs. Email Backup

The two are not the same. Email archiving lets you minimize the inbox size by archiving emails you don’t need. Moreover, it gives quick access to business information, which is important for all regulated industries.

However, this is different than email backup. With an email backup solution, you can recover emails that aren’t readily available because of some unexpected data loss. A ransomware attack, accidental deletion of emails, sabotage, or theft can lead to data loss. With the right email backup solution, you can protect your email files against malicious and accidental deletion.


In case you are feeling overwhelmed with the number of emails in your Outlook inbox, it is high time you get rid of them. You can archive it manually or automatically. To know what’s the best way to archive Outlook emails follow the methods we have listed. Work on the ones that must be managed immediately.


Can I Use Outlook Archive for All My Email Accounts?

In two instances you cannot use the Outlook Archive feature. Firstly, if your organization uses Microsoft Exchange Server Online Archive but you use an Exchange Server email account, you will not be able to use the archive feature in Outlook. Secondly, if the network administrator disables the archive feature, you will not be able to archive your emails.

Does Outlook Archive Delete Emails?

An archived message defaults to your Outlook’s Archive folder. So, your archived emails are not automatically emptied. Emails in the archive folder can be moved back to your inbox if you need them.

Is It Better to Delete or Archive Emails?

Deleting emails permanently from your inbox will save up space. However, you will not be able to access them ever again. By archiving emails, you can save storage space and still get access to the emails whenever you want.  

Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.


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