Email overload is a very real problem. According to Inc.comover 140,000emails are sent every minute. And the number of emails each of usreceives is increasing. A recent study from the Radicati Group projects thatthe averageworker will receive nearly 129 emails a day in 2019—up from 112emails per day in 2015.
One problem with having too much email in yourinbox is that processing it can eat up a lot of time, causing you to be less productive. Astudy of a thousand workers from Adobe shows that most people spendbetween two and three hours a day on email-related tasks. That’s abig chunk of every day!
Yes, a cluttered email inbox can be a realnuisance. Yet, when your inbox is too full deleting or moving individual emails canseem like a daunting task. Fortunately,you can quickly remove more than one unwanted email at a time using MS Outlook.Deleting unwanted emails can help you to quickly gain control of your inbox.
When removing emails from Microsoft Outlook, you have a few choices:
- Delete the emails.
- Archive the emails.
- Use the Clean Up tool.
In this tutorial you'll learn how to do both.First, I'll explain how to delete emails in Outlook including how to delete all emails in afolder. I’ll also talk about how to permanently delete emails, which can increase the amount of available storage for your email inbox. Next, we'll examine how to archive in Outlook.Finally, I’ll touch upon the Outlook Clean Up tool, which can also help you tomanage your inbox.
Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery (Free eBook Download)
In this tutorial you'll be learning how to archive and delete emails in Outlook in order to make your inbox less cluttered. But before we go any further in the tutorial, I wanted to make you aware of another great resource we've got that can help you to declutter your inbox. Our Free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery is packed with inboxorganization strategies and killer tips for managing all your incoming emailmore efficiently.
Now let's dive into learning how to archive and delete emails in Outlook.
How to Delete & Archive Emails in Outlook
Learn how to quickly delete and archive Outlook emails inthis short video:
For more detailed instructions on how to remove messagesfrom your Outlook email inbox, followthe written tutorial steps below:
How to Mass Delete Emails in Outlook
If you've got a lot of email messages, you probably want tomass delete them to save time. Mass deleting messages means you're deletingseveral email messages at once.
Note: If you're using Outlook with a Microsoft Exchange server you may have different options for deleting messages.
1. How to Delete Multiple Emails in Your Outlook Inbox
You can delete multiple emails right from your Outlookinbox. Start with an open inbox:
Notice that I’ve got 16 messages in my inbox. It’s time todeclutter my inbox and remove some of those messages.
Hold down the CTRLkey and click on each message you want to delete to select it. Each selectedmessage will be highlighted in gray:
Once you’ve selected all the messages you wantto delete, simply press the Deletekey on your keyboard. The messages you selected are removed from your inbox andmoved to the Deleted Items folder.
Another way to mass delete the selected emailmessages is to use the Delete icon(it looks like a trash can) in the ribbon at the top of screen:
2. How to Delete All Emails in an Outlook Folder at Once
Another way to mass delete Outlook emailmessages is by deleting all the messages in a folder. To do this, again startwith your Outlook inbox open:
Notice that I’ve got a lot of email messages in mySubscriptions folder. This would be a good folder to empty out.
Click on the folder you want to delete all messages from toselect it:
The folder you’ve selected will be highlightedin gray. The first message in the folder is also automatically selected and theReading Pane appears to the farright.
Right-click on the folder you’ve selected. A drop-down menuappears:
Select the Delete Alloption from the drop-down menu. The messages in your selected folder areremoved to the Deleted Items folder.Your selected folder is now empty:
3. How to Permanently Delete Your Emails in Outlook
Deleting a message using any of the methods abovedoesn't automatically mean the message is gone. Rather, the deleted messagewill be moved to a Deleted Itemsfolder where it can be recovered. To learn more about how to find and restoreemail messages from the Deleted Itemsfolder, review this tutorial:
- How to Find Missing Emails in MS Outlook (Where Is My Email?)Laura Spencer16 Apr 2018
The previous tutorial also explains how to create an archive folder in Outlook.
To make sure your deleted messages are truly gone you needto empty the Deleted Items folder.Start with your MS Outlook inbox open:
Click on the DeletedItems folder to select it. Then, right-click to bring up the drop-downmenu:
From the drop-down menu, click the Empty Folder selection. You'll see theprompt:
Everything in the"Deleted Items" folder will be permanently deleted. Continue?
Click the Yesbutton to continue. A prompt displays showing that the items are being deleted.When the deletion is complete, your DeletedItems folder will be empty.
Permanently deleting email messages also has theadded benefit of reducing the amount of used storage in your email system.
How to Archive Emails in Outlook
What if you don’t want to delete a message, butyou also don’t want it cluttering up your inbox or your email folders? Archivingthe message is the best solution.
When you move a message to the Deleted Items folder,it’s a preliminary step you take before permanently removing it from youremail. Once you permanently delete an email message you can no longer access it. Archiving, on the other hand, allows you to store a messageindefinitely.
Note: Messages stored in an Archive folder will take up storagespace.
To archive an email message or messages, start with an openinbox. Open the folder that contains the message or messages that you want toarchive. In this example, I’ve opened the FromMy New Boss folder:
Click on the message you wish to archive to select it. Toselect multiple messages, use CTRL +click. When you’ve finished selecting the messages you want to archive,right-click to display the drop-down menu:
Select the Archiveoption to send your selected messages to the archive.
Another way to archive your email messages is to use the Archive icon (it looks like a file box)in the ribbon at the top of the screen:
For more detailed information on Outlook’s Archive and Deletefeatures, review the following tutorial:
- How to Retrieve Your Deleted or Archived MS Outlook EmailsLaura Spencer09 May 2018
Use the Clean Up Option to Declutter Your Outlook Inbox
Another way to de-clutter your MS Outlook inbox is by using Clean Up tool to removeredundant messages—especially in email conversations. Unless youspecify otherwise, when you use the CleanUp tool redundant messages are automatically sent to the Deleted Items folder.
An email conversation is all the related messageswith the same subject line. For example, if you create a new email message, twopeople reply to it, and a third person replies to one of the replies—all thosemessages make up an email conversation. (If you’ve worked with other email tools, youmay refer to email conversations as email threads.)
Redundant emails in Outlook are messages thatare completely contained within another message. For example, if I send you an email and you reply to it including my original message in your reply, thenmy original message would be considered redundant. In long email conversations,there can be quite a few redundant messages and they can take up quite a bit ofspace.
Here’s how to use the Clean Up tool to delete redundant emails:
1. How to Clean Up a Conversation
Start with your inbox open. Select aconversation thread that's got multiple replies:
In the ribbon, click the Clean Up icon. A drop-down menu appears:
From the drop-down menu, select Clean Up Conversation. The Clean Up Conversation prompt appears:
If you’ve never defined your Clean Up settings before, click the Settings option. The Outlook Options window appears:
Scroll down to the Conversation Clean Up section. To change the folder where they go,select a destination folder at the top of this section.
Use the checkboxes in this section to further define whattypes of messages should be cleaned up and what types should be saved.
When you’ve made your selections, click OK. To clean up a selected conversation, click the Clean Up button on the Clean Up Conversation prompt.
2. How to Clean Up a Folder (& Subfolders)
You can also clean up the contents of an entirefolder (including your Outlook inbox). You can also choose to include messagesin any subfolders of that folder.
Start with your inbox open. Click on a folder to select it.Click the Clean Up icon. A drop-downmenu displays:
Choose one of the following options:
- To clean up the contents of the selected folderand the contents of any subfolders of that folder, choose the Clean Up Folder & Subfoldersoption.
- To clean up just the contents of the selected folder, selectthe Clean Up Folder option.
Learn More About How to Optimize Your OutlookInbox
For even more tips on how to organize yourOutlook inbox efficiently, study this tutorial:
- How to Organize Your Outlook Email Inbox EfficientlyLaura Spencer19 Jan 2018
For a complete guide on how to organize your email inboxsign up for the Tuts+ Business newsletter and grab our free eBook: TheUltimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. It's packed with inbox organization strategiesand killer tips for managing all your incoming email more efficiently.
Keep Your Email Inbox Uncluttered
Now that you know how to delete and archivemultiple emails in Outlook, you’re ready to regain control of your Outlookemail inbox. You can easily get started today. Also, don’t forget to downloadyour free copy of our free email eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery.