Office365 Outlook Archiving

When your Outlook mailbox gets full, it is a problem. I will show you how to fix this issue in this guide. 

Table of Contents


This is an archive mailbox. It is designed to automatically place older emails into a container where it can be retrieved at a later date. It is an online mailbox, so it is only accessible with a network connection. None of this data is stored on your computer. This helps with the loading time of Outlook on the user’s machine. This makes the searching of email quicker as Outlook looks to the main mailbox by default. 


Archive Folder

There is an archive folder with every installation. However, this is just a separate folder within the main mailbox. It helps with organization, but that is it. Since it is in the main mailbox, it does not speed up email search. 



The online archive is available on most plans. If you do have it, I would recommend that you useI it. The higher level plan you have, the morse space and resources you have available to use. 


Enabling Through Exchange

Depending on your plan, the archive mailbox could be enabled for all of your users at once. If it is not, then you can enable it through the Office365 compliance manager, Exchange Online, or through Powershell. To enable using Exchange Online:


  • Open Exchange Admin
  • Select recipients
  • Select mailboxes
  • Select users
  • Select others
  • Select manage mailbox archive
  • Enable mailbox archive


Enabling Through Powershell

If you have a lot of people to turn this feature on for, Powershell makes it much easier. Powershell requires the Exchange Online Module for this method to work. While it still turns the feature on for one user at a time, a simple script can do it for a department or all users at a time. Powershell does the hard work for you. 


  • Connect to Exchange Online

Connect-Exchange-Online -UserPrincipalName “UserName”

  • Enable the archive mailbox

Enable-Mailbox -identity “UserName” -Archive

  • Restart Outlook

Using the Archive

You will notice that the new Archive has the same folder structure as your regular mailbox. This is a nice feature. Items will be automatically moved after two years to the folder in your Archive section. However, you can move them manually at any time. The time policy can be adjusted as well. So, look into that if two years does not work for your organization. 


Common Issues

I hate to say it, but, many users will forget this is enabled and complain they cannot find an email. I have seen it many times, so be prepared. The other, less common, issue I have seen is that a user will move an email manually. They will  put it in a different archive folder than in their main mailbox. Depending on the size of the main mailbox, this will require a mailbox search. So, when searching, make sure and check the box next to the “Archive” mailbox when using the search function.