Starting with Archive in Microsoft Outlook


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It’s too easy to start using the Archive folder in Outlook.  Most likely all the setup is done, so you can start using it. If not, the setup is just a few clicks.

Archive is a way to set aside selected messages away from the main Inbox or other folders.  It’s not necessary to use Archive. Some people prefer to leave everything in the Inbox and Sent Items folders then using Search to find what they need.

There’s nothing too special about the Outlook Archive folder. It’s just another folder that you can use to organize emails.  Outlook has some special Archive menu items and shortcuts but otherwise it can be (mis)treated like any Outlook folder.

Here’s how to setup Archive in Outlook, assuming any setup is necessary at all.

Find the Archive folder

Look for the Archive folder in the full Outlook folder tree. On Exchange Server, Outlook.com/Office 365 hosted mailboxes, Archive is a default folder much like Inbox and Sent Items. It will be there automatically and you’re ready to go.

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Modern Archive keeps messages in the same mailbox and local Outlook PST/OST data file. The folder is usually synced automatically with the main/cloud server and available on any connected device. It’s counted as part of your mailbox storage quota.

POP/IMAP accounts

Non-Microsoft mailboxes connected via POP or IMAP can have their own Archive folder and it doesn’t have to be that name.

If there’s no Archive folder already you have two choices:

  • Create an Archive folder
  • Choose an existing folder as the archive folder.

To create an Archive folder. Select the top of the mailbox tree (the email address), right-click and choose ‘New Folder …’.  Give the folder the name: Archive   the folder can be any name but it might be easier to call it the standard name.

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To choose an existing folder or the one you just created … go to File | Info | choose the mailbox/account at the top then Tools | Set Archive folder.

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Set up One-Click Archive

If Archive isn’t setup properly, never fear, Outlook will prompt you when there’s an attempt to move a message to Archive.

“We didn’t find an existing archive folder. Create a new folder called ‘Archive’?

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  • Create archive folder
  • Choose existing folder

Your first archived message

Now you can Archive messages which simply means moving a message from the Inbox (or other folder) to the Archive folder.

The simple way is from Home | Delete section of the ribbon which has a big, obvious button called Archive.

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While there are some special Archive features, the main advantage of Archive is that all the usual Outlook features can be used to move messages.  Move, Quick Steps and Rules can be used to move messages from your Inbox (or other folder) to the Archive folder.

About Outlook Archive, Online Archive and AutoArchive

Manually moving Outlook messages to Archive

Rename the Outlook Archive folder

Archive in Outlook 365 and Outlook 2016/2019 for Windows

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