Why (and How) you should split your Outlook data file into 2

By standss Friday, July 15th, 2011

Outlook by default saves all its e-mails into one file. Prior to Outlook 2003, there was a limitation of 2 GB to your Outlook data file. Although 2 GB seems like a lot, this space can be filled quickly particularly if you receive a lot of attachments.

Once you reach that limit, there is no real warning. Outlook just slows down, e-mails start getting lost and in some cases Outlook just stops opening altogether. Retrieving your e-mails from this corrupt PST is a nightmare.

In Outlook 2003, you have the option of using the new Unicode format of Outlook data file which can hold much more data. However if you upgraded Outlook from an earlier version then chances are that you are still using the older format with the 2 GB limitation.

Irrespective of whether you are using the new or old format data file, you should split your Outlook data into at least 2 files. Your main PST file should not be used like a filing cabinet for old e-mails. Create a separate PST file to save e-mails that you want to keep for future reference. This leaves your main Outlook data file lean and mean so that Outlook is able to open up quickly. To create a new Outlook data file:

For Outlook 2010:

  1. Click on Home tab
  2. Select New Items > More ItemsĀ > Outlook Data File…
  3. Outlook suggests a default location for the file. I recommend that you change this to a folder that you backup regularly, possible a sub-folder in your My Documents.
  4. Enter a filename and click OK to create the file.

For Outlook 2003/2007:

  1. Click File > New > Outlook Data File
  2. Outlook 2003 Only: Outlook 2003 uses two types of Outlook data files. If you will be using the data only in Outlook 2003 or later, choose MS Outlook Personal Folders File. Otherwise choose the Outlook 97-2002 option.
  3. Outlook suggests a default location for the file. I recommend that you change this to a folder that you backup regularly, possible a sub-folder in your My Documents.
  4. Enter a filename and click OK to create the file.

You can create as many Personal Folder files as you need. Most users only need to create one in addition to the one that Outlook creates by default.

PST 1: Default Folder created by Outlook
PST 2: Use to store Project E-mails

If you have a very high volume of e-mails (particularly with large attachments) you may want to have 2 PST files for your Project E-mails, one for Active projects and one for Completed projects.

How to Move Emails from One PST to another (Using Drag and Drop)

One simple way of moving your emails from one PST to another is to Drag and Down the email to the appropriate folder. This method is simple and it works but:

  1. It can be time-consuming to find the right folder if you have a lot of folders
  2. It is easy to accidentally drop the email into the wrong folder

Using QuickFile to move your emails

Our Outlook addin QuickFile has the ability to remember where you commonly file emails related to a project/case/person and it will provide you with a list of recently used folders. You can simply:

  1. Select the email that you wish to move
  2. On the QuickFile toolbar/Ribbon, click the QuickFile button. This will display the QuickFile screen.
  3. You can select the appropriate folder from the recommended list(based on your previous filing)
  4. Click Move

The email will now be moved to the appropriate folder.

QuickFile is the Fastest, Easiest and Error-Free way to file emails in Outlook. Users tell us that they can file as much as 90% of their emails at the click of one button.

Click here to learn more about QuickFile for Outlook.

Categories : Outlook Email Filing & Management Tip, Outlook Email Tips, QuickFile for Outlook

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