How To Archive Outlook Messages

Dear Computer Lady,

I’m a recruiter and maintain client/candidate folders in Outlook 2007 (v12).

I keep all correspondence, which over the years has built into hundreds of folders and thousands of messages. I have searched for ways to move this info for storage but the only solution to date would be to open each message and copy/paste into a Word doc — which could take weeks.

Is there any other way to move folders/messages from outlook to a retrievable storage space?
Thank you, Lisa

Dear Lisa,

It depends on how you want to be able to access the messages in the future.

Outlook (which is part of Microsoft Office) has an archive feature that allows you to archive messages. When you do this, they are moved into a new file that you could copy to a disk and move to another computer.

The only catch is that you would need to have Outlook installed on any computer that you wanted to access the messages from.

To archive messages, click on the “File” tab in Outlook, then point to “Mailbox Cleanup” and click, “Archive”.

Select the folder you want to archive, then click the “Browse..” button to select the location for your archive file. (It might be useful to create a folder in your Documents folder so it will be easy to find later) then click the “OK” button.

Copy the file you created to a removable storage device like a USB data stick, or CD and bring it to the computer you want to view them on.

Copy the file to the new computer, open Outlook, then click “File” and “Open” then “Open Outlook Data File”. Find your file and open it. The messages will show up in your Outlook window just like they did on the old computer.


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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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    • Linda4433
    • December 23, 2012

    Dear Computer Lady,
    I archived my emails from Outlook not realizing that all emails prior to August of this year would go into the archive file and be deleted from my Outlook. I need to get many of those back. If I go to the archive document and open it, what will happen? I’m concerned that I may totally wipe out my Outlook folders or possibly overwrite the existing folders. Have you recovered archived Outlook docs before? Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much for your columns.

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