Archiving Outlook Items; Recommended Process

Too many agencies do not have in place any type of process for archiving Outlook items and maintaining a reasonable size on their Outlook data files.  Here are some thoughts on this issue.

If you file all relevant e-mail into InStar, you may not need to keep a copy of the e-mail in Outlook. We find however, more and more agencies wish to keep e-mail in Outlook as well as InStar.  Whether you keep all correspondence in Outlook, as well as InStar, the following process will still work to keep your Outlook data files a reasonable size and allow you to store previous Outlook data.  The following process also dovetails with our EDI Enhanced E-mail inbox regarding the use of a Read Items Folder.  Of course it is good practice to discuss changes with your local IT people.

We recommend adding a Read Items folder to your primary Outlook mailbox.  Items from your inbox, that have been handled, should be moved to this folder. The EDI Enhanced E-mail inbox will do this automatically when filing an e-mail as well as create the Read Items folder. This process keeps the inbox cleaned out and allows InStar to handle e-mail more efficiently.

We also recommend that you should archive your Outlook items weekly or monthly to an Outlook data file that is named for the year and replaced annually.  The most simple way to do this is to create an archive Outlook data file by simply specifying the archive location during setup of the Outlook archiving process. The settings from my Outlook are included in the image below. To setup archiving in Outlook go to the menu File >> Options and in the resulting window select the Advanced option. (this may vary with different versions of Outlook.  Search the Internet and you will find much information on this subject)  Outlook will automatically create the Outlook data file specified in the “Move old items to:” location.  This means you only need select a place to keep the archive data file, type the name of the data file for archive and Outlook with do the rest.  This further makes it easy to change the archive to 2021 by simply changing the name of the data file at the beginning of the year.  Make sure your backups are including the Outlook archive data files. 

You can further right-click each Outlook folder and override the default archive settings.  For instance I always keep my calendar items for a full year before archiving.  That is achieved by over-riding the archive setting for my calendar folder.  To override the archive settings on a specific folder, right click the folder and access the properties in the pop-up menu.  The image below shows that I have over-ridden the timeframe, changing it to 12 months, before items from my calendar folder are archived.  Note that I am still sending those items to the default archive folder.  You can specify different Outlook data files for different folders but we believe this becomes very confusing.  Simply keep an archive datafile for each year, for each user.

Lastly; if you need to find any items from one of your archive data files, simply open the datafile in Outlook and you will be able to browse through the folders just like your default location.  In my experience, the archiving process will keep my archive datafile open in Outlook.  If you need to open the datafile manually, go to the Outlook File menu and select Open & Export then Open Outlook Data File and browse for your Archive Data File.

Please let us know if you have questions relative to InStar and Outlook, we are happy to answer questions.  support@ediconcepts.net 

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