Alabama's Public Liberal Arts University

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Tips for Managing Your Outlook Email
for PC Users


Managing the Size of Your Outlook 2003 Mailbox

By default, most of the email you receive in your University of Montevallo email account is stored on the University’s email server.  Since the server can only hold a limited amount of email, it stops working when it gets too full.  Therefore, it is imperative that all University of Montevallo faculty and staff take steps to limit the amount of email they store on the email server.

Important Note:  In Windows XP, infrequently used menu choices are not always visible.  You may have to click on the two down-arrows at the bottom of a menu to see all the choices.


Brief Description of How Outlook Stores Email

All faculty and staff who have a University of Montevallo email account have a Mailbox which is stored on the server.  No one has more than one Mailbox.  However, depending on how your account is configured, you may have more than one Inbox, more than one Sent Items folder, and so on.  In such cases, there will typically be an Inbox on the server, and another stored locally on your computer.  The same applies to Sent Items, Deleted Items, and so forth.  For the purposes of this exercise, however, we are only concerned with cleaning out the contents of folders that are stored on the server.


How to Tell Where Your Email is Stored

  1. Open your Outlook Folder List.  (In Outlook, click Go on the menu at the top, then choose Folder List.)
  2. You will see something similar to this:

    Here you see an example of an Outlook Folder List.  At the very top is the Mailbox itself.  Note that the Mailbox has a minus sign (-) next to it.  The minus sign indicates that all subfolders contained within the Mailbox are in view, indented beneath it.  If no subfolders are visible in your Folder List, look for a plus sign (+) next to your Mailbox and click it.  This will display your subfolders.

    Outlook users need to regularly clean out the subfolders indented under Mailbox because these are the places that store your email on the server.

Two Ways to Reduce the Amount of Email Stored on the Server

There are two ways you can reduce the amount of email you have stored on the server:

  • Deleting email
  • Moving email

Deleting Email

Your Mailbox has three subfolders that tend to accumulate email:

  1. Your Inbox.  Obviously, this is where your email is delivered, and it stays here until you move it or delete it (or auto-archive it).  Go through your Inbox regularly to see if there is anything you can delete.  One effective way to achieve this task is to order the emails in your inbox by subject or by sender.  This method will allow you to consider how you wish to deal with related emails by viewing them together.

    Tip: To sort your email by sender, or subject, simply click From or Subject in your Inbox.  Clicking Received will return your email to received order.  This method also works in any of the subfolders of your Mailbox.
  2. Your Deleted Items.  When you delete an email, it goes here.  Depending on how your account is configured, deleted items can stay here quite a while.  It is therefore a good idea to empty your Deleted Items regularly.  Just right-click the Deleted Items folder in the Folder List and select Empty “Deleted Items” Folder.
  3. Your Sent Items.  Many people aren’t aware that when they send an email, a copy is saved in their Sent Items folder.  After a while, a lot of email can get saved here.  Periodically, go through this folder and clear out items you don’t need.

Moving Email

Many of us have email that we want to save, rather than delete.  The best way to reduce the amount of email you have saved on the server without deleting it is to save old email to a Personal Folder on your hard drive.

Creating a Personal Folder

  1. With Outlook open, click File on the menu at the top.
  2. Choose New then Outlook Data File.
  3. You will see the New Outlook Data File box:

  4. Highlight Office Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst), then click OK.
  5. You will then see this window:

  6. Here you can either accept the default name, or give your Personal Folder whatever name you want.  Click OK when you’re done.
  7. In the next window, you can customize the name the folder will be displayed with in Outlook.  You can also alter the security settings.

    Just accept the defaults if you aren't sure what to do here.
  8. Click OK when you’re ready to proceed.
  9. Now your Personal Folder will appear in your Outlook Folder List, using whatever name you gave it in Step 7.

  10. You can move your email here from your Inbox, just by dragging and dropping.
  11. Don’t forget to backup your Personal Folder regularly.  Just have Windows search for any file that ends in pst, and burn those files to a CD.  (Tell Windows to search for files named *.pst.  (The * functions as a wild-card.)