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Over time, your mail file can get pretty large and unruly. Fortunately, Outlook has supplied us with some great tools to automate the Clean Up process. The first tool I want to show you is something called Conversation Clean Up. Now here's a conversation I have, I'm in Conversation View right now. If I click the triangle to expand the conversation, I'm sure you've all seen this. This is a pretty lengthy conversation in which people have quoted replies over time and started new threads. So we might not actually need to keep all these emails, because I'm sure the full conversation is already somewhere in this thread.
So Outlook gives us something called the Conversation Clean Up tool. I can collapse my thread and go to the Home Tab and choose Clean Up. Now I have a choice here, I can choose Clean Up conversation, which will only clean up the selected conversation I had or if I want to do this for my entire Inbox, I can choose Clean Up Folder. It's actually not just my Inbox; it's whatever folder I happen to be in at the time. I can also choose Clean Up Folder and Subfolders, this way I could clean up my Inbox and any other folders I have created to clean up all the redundant conversations at once.
For example, in this email, you can see that there's a bunch of quoted text in here. In this email that came in before it, the same exact conversation is here. Now the nice thing about Conversation Clean Up is it will only delete redundant texts, you never have to worry about missing an email, because if the email is not included in any other emails, it won't delete that text; you'll never miss anything. So I'm going to choose Clean Up, Clean Up Conversation, it's reminding me that all redundant messages are going to be moved to the Deleted Items Folder.
I know, so I'm going to choose Clean Up. It's reminding me again that it's going to apply to all the items in that selected conversation and I can click OK. Now if I expand this view, this conversation is much smaller, because all the text that has already been quoted is all included in this email and the one below it. In my Deleted Items, it's removed a lot of those same messages with redundant text. So that's Conversation Clean Up.
The next thing I want to show is how to empty your Deleted Items in one go, and we can do that backstage. I'm going to click File from the Ribbon and choose Cleanup Tools. The first thing I want to do is Empty my Deleted Items Folder. This is going to permanently purge everything. I can click Continue if I'm ready to go or if I want to go back and make sure that I know exactly what's in there, I can choose No, if I want. The next thing I'm going to show you is to see how big just all my folders are, so I know which ones I need to clean out and which ones are okay.
I'm going to go back to Cleanup Tools and choose Mailbox Cleanup. I can click View Mailbox Size and it's going to show me a listing of all the items in my Outlook File. Now it's important to note that these aren't just folders, these are things like my Calendar and my Contacts and any subfolders that I've made in there. Here's my Deleted Items, here's all my Inbox Folders. I can see here that file size is okay. The biggest folder I have is my Inbox. So I know that if I'm going to start cleaning up any folders that's definitely the place where I need to start. I can hit Close to get out of this dialog.
The last thing I'm going to show you is how to Archive your Mail File. This means it's actually going to take messages from my Exchange Server or my Outlook Data File and actually archive them to a completely new Outlook file. It's going to make sure that it moves it to a file that's on my computer. I'm going to go back to Cleanup Tools and choose Archive. Here's where I specify the criteria of the things that I want to Archive. I can either choose the folders that I want to Archive or Archive everything.
In this case, I'm only going to Archive my Inbox and all the folders that are underneath it. Here's where I choose the date for what I want to Archive. I can pick my own criteria whether I want to Archive things that are three months old or a year old. Here's where I specify the actual file that it's going to Archive to. Now this is important to note, because what's going to happen now, is all these emails are going to be moved off my Exchange Server and on to my local computer in this file that's on the computer.
So I'll need to make sure that this file is part of my local backup strategy, because if I ever move my computer or something happens to it, my Archive is going to be gone unless I back it up. When I'm all set, I can choose OK and all my files are going to be archived. I can just click the Back button to get back to my Inbox. So make a note of how big all your files are, when it gets a little too big and a little too unruly, you have lots of Clean Up Options to get it lean and mean again.
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