How to Manage Email Retention


Outlook allows a user to assign "tags" for automatic retention and archival of email based on the age of the email.  Tags may be assigned to individual emails, or to a folder.  If a tag is assigned to a folder, all of the emails in that folder follow the rule for retention or archival specified by the folder's tags.  Following are instructions for individual activities associated with retention and archival tags in Outlook.

Steps to Tag Email for Automatic Retention in Outlook

Tagging a mail message in Windows

  1. Right-click on the message for which you want to set an archive or retention policy
  2. In the list of action items that displays, click on "Assign Policy"
  3. Choose a specific archive policy or a retention policy by clicking on the appropriate length-of-time choice from the list

       Note:  Setting a retention or archive tag on an individual email message overrides/replaces the default tag and any tags set at the folder level

Tagging a folder in Windows

  1. Right click on the folder
  2. Click on Properties
  3. Click on the Policy tab
  4. Under the top section – Retention Policy – click on Folder Policy to bring up the list of tags available to you; choose the time period to apply for default/automatic retention of messages stored to this folder
  5. Under the bottom section – Archive Policy – click on Folder policy to bring up the list of tags available to you; choose the time period for archiving message stored to this folder
  6. Click Okay or Apply

Steps to Save Electronic Mail Outside the Outlook Mailbox 

  1. Open Outlook and Windows File Explorer so that both are in partial-screen mode and you can see them both (neither is in full-screen mode)
  2. In File Explorer, work down through your folder structure to the point where you can see the folder you would like to store a message or messages
  3. Click on a message you want to move to the folder, then drag and drop it to the folder you want to use for storage


  1. Use Ctl-Click or Shift-Click as you usually do to select a group of messages,then drag and drop them as noted above
  2. In your folder, these messages will be saved in .MSG format, so that when you are in your folder and you open then, they will call Outlook and open in typical message format
  3. You can easily move an individual message or groups of messages to a folder in OneDrive or to a departmental (L: drive) file share.  The steps are:
    1. Search for Messages Set for Deletion in a Specific Period
    2. Click in the Search box and the Search toolbar tab will display at the top.
    3. Select “Current Mailbox” or “Current Folder” (or where else you want to search)
    4. Drop down the “More” option and select Expiration Date
    5. Select the drop-down under the search field and then select the timeframe that you want to look for the expired messages

Steps to Restore a Deleted Message

Deleted messages are saved in ‘Deleted Item Recovery’, and can be restored within 14 days of deletion by following these steps:

  1. Right-click on the ‘Deleted Items’ folder in Outlook or Webmail
  2. Select ‘Recover Deleted Items’.
  3. A window will open up where you can select the messages that you want to recover; select ‘Restore’ in the webmail interface or in Outlook
  4. Select the radio button for ‘Restore Selected Items’
  5. Click ‘OK’.
  6. Once it is deleted from ‘Deleted Item Recovery’ after 14 days, it cannot be recovered.


Article ID: 46435
Wed 1/17/18 3:06 PM
Thu 7/6/23 10:33 AM

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