Rules and Tools to Manage your Outlook Mail

Question: I am getting a message that my email is full and I need to delete things.  I usually delete 80% of all email I receive. Some things, however, I have to keep regarding funding, etc. from other colleagues, etc.  Is there a way I can get more space in my email, or can you help me with reorganizing things.  I would appreciate any help/suggestions regarding this matter.

Answer: There are a number of things you can do to manage your mail and clear space.

  1. First, check what part of your mail is taking up the most space. In Outlook 2010 you can go to File > Info > Mailbox Cleanup and click View Mailbox size. You’ll see the various parts of your email to determine which folder is taking up the most space. In most cases it is the inbox or sent folders.
  2. Then go to those folders and sort by size. You’ll see the largest messages (usually with attachments) listed at the top. To get the most space quickly, you can delete those messages, or just remove the attachments from the message if the attachment is no longer needed, or you can save the attachment first into a folder on your computer and then delete the message or attachment. Doing this for very large messages will save you much space.
  3. You can also move messages to a computer network folder and then delete the messages from your email. You are unable to move folders to the network, but you can create a folder on the network drive and then move several messages to it (by selecting messages using Shift or Ctrl when clicking). If you need to refer to the message at a later time, you would need to have the Outlook client on your computer in order to open those messages from the network drive. After deleting those “enormous” messages from your Mail, it can significantly reduce the size of your mailbox. (Gotcha: when you move messages to the network drive, the dates associated with the file is the date you moved the messages, so you won’t be able to sort by date of the message). You can, however, still search for dates or other text in the messages.
  4. An even better option is to convert messages to PDF. This saves messages on individual pages of a PDF, along with any attachments. It does not require the Outlook client to open the messages. You must have Adobe Acrobat X installed (not Adobe Reader). Once the messages are converted to PDF, you can delete the messages from your email.

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