Do you use either Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Entourage as your email application? Do you store thousands and thousands of email messages? Do you infrequently access many of these messages? If so, you could consider archiving these messages. Once the message has been archived then you can delete them from Outlook which will remove them from Outlook’s or Entourage’s mail database. This makes the database smaller, faster and less prone to having problems. The messages can still be accessed, typically from within the archiving application.
There are a handful of applications that you let you archive (copy) messages out of Outlook or Outlook’s predecessor, Entourage. I’ve only used EagleFiler, but I’ll list the alternatives and my quick assessment of each of them.
Note: If you’re still using Entourage, I strongly encourage you to consider upgrading to Outlook since it’s mail database has proven to have fewer problems than Entourage’s mail database.
Free Method – I should start by outlining a manual, but free ways to archive email from Outlook. You can select a folder containing messages and drag this folder out of Outlook and either onto your Desktop or some other folder in your Finder. ForgetComputers has an article with step-by-step instructions. You could even combine this method with setting up a Rule in Outlook that automatically moves messages that are older than, for example, 180 days, out of your Inbox (or any folder) and into another folder. Then you only have to drag this other folder to your Desktop. Intermedia wrote an article about how to set up a Rule to automatically move email messages if you use an Exchange email account but these instructions work if you have a POP or IMAP account, as well.
EagleFiler ($40, free demo) is a well-respected application that can be used to organize email messages, web pages, files and miscellaneous pieces of information. I mentioned it in a previous Tech Tip about archiving email messages if you use Apple’s Mail application. EagleFiler is well supported and updated often. EagleFiler can’t easily be scheduled to archive messages. Instead, archiving is a manual process, but EagleFiler offers an easy to use capture command that lets you select one or many messages and easily copy them from Outlook and into its Library file. EagleFile stores the email messages as either mailbox (.mbox) files or email (.eml) files which are common file types that can be easily viewed or imported into other applications, if you ever want to do this. I heartily recommend EagleFiler since it’s such a versatile application. I use it to manually archive my mail messages from Apple Mail. I typically spend about 15 minutes 3 times each year, archiving my older sent messages. EagleFiler’s current version, 1.6.3, requires OS X 10.6.8 or higher. EagleFiler can be used to archive messages out of most major email applications.
Mail Archiver ($35, free demo) can be scheduled to automatically archive messages from selected folders within Outlook. The archives messages are stored in Mail Archiver’s own database. If necessary, you can later export mail from its database in any of the following file formats: pdf, text, rtf, mbox, xml or into Evernote or FileMaker. Briefly comparing MailArchiver to EagleFiler, EagleFiler lets you store a wide variety of file types while Mail Archiver only lets you store email messages. Mail Archiver’s web site offers a good overview of its interface and options. MailArchiver’s current version, 3.2, requires OS X 10.7 or higher. MailArchiver can be used to archive messages out of most major email applications.
MailSteward ($25, $50, or$100, free demo) Just like Mail Archiver, MailSteward lets you schedule your archiving and stores the messages in its own database. Note, only the $50 and $100 versions support scheduling. The least expensive ($25) Lite version also has limited export and search capabilities. MailSteward’s interface is very utilitarian, in my opinion and was slow to get set up when I ran tests on my Outlook mail database. MailSteward’s current version, 10, requires OS X 10.8 or higher. MailSteward can be used to archive messages out of most major email applications.
Outlook Email Archive X ($30, free demo) is a simply archiving tool. It apparently can’t be scheduled. It doesn’t store messages in its own database. Instead, it stores messages as individual files or as mailboxes (.mbox) files inside of folders on your Mac. This could make searching for and viewing archived messages more difficult to do than if you were using any of the other applications listed. It only works with Outlook–that is, it doesn’t work with any other major email applications. The company sells a separate version of their product if you use Entourage. If you have multiple email accounts set up in Outlook (or Entouage) this application can apparently only archive messages from one account at a time. This would simply mean that you need to run the archive process once for each account.
If you use Outlook and want to archive your messages, hopefully one of options described above will meet your needs.