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Archive Your Data

An Archive contains copies of your files as they appeared at multiple points in time. This is not the same as backing up your current Identity.

  • Entourage:
  • Outlook
    • a separate Identity
    • as an Outlook archive (.olm)
    • Time Machine (Outlook works with Time Machine)

If you want quick access to your archived mail, creating a new Identity will allow you to quickly "Switch Identities" to view old mail. Some users do this yearly.


  • One drawback to this option is you must quit all Microsoft applications to switch Identities in Entourage. Outlook users have to launch the Database Utility in order to switch Identities.
  • You can use Spotlight search in the Finder to view the archive messages, but it will ask you to switch Identities to view unless you have the QuickLook plugin for Entourage installed. (there is no QuickLook plugin for Outlook at this time)
  • Entourage users: Once you export data to archive, you will need to reclaim the 'wasted space'. Using the Database Utility, Compress your data.
    • Tip: to see how much actual space is being used as compared to the size of the database, export everything as Entourage archive (.rge) file under File --> Export. Now compare the size of the .rge file to the size of your database. The difference is 'wasted space'.

If you simply wish to have snapshots of your data to use in case of database failure, archive your Entourage Identity as an Entourage archive (.rge) or as an MBOX file. Outlook only offers export as Outlook archive (.olm) at this time.

  • Organize your archives using FolderOrgX.
  • Download this script to Export folders as MBOX files (includes subfolders) Currently .mbox is only available for Entourage users.
  • View pros and cons of .rge and MBOX files in this blog article: Backup individual items. It's important to understand file types. If you need to recover at a later date in time, you want to be sure the file type can be used by a future version or platform.

Use a third party application to store your emails.

Exchange Users:

If you have a quota on your server, you can archive your mail from the server to folders "On My Computer" . Entourage users, see this page for scripts and third party options to automate this for you.

For Outlook users check out Archive your Outlook 2011 Exchange messages using OEAO

Options to Create an Archive Identity

1) Duplicate your current Identity in the Finder and rename it. Now, you have a duplicate Identity folder structure with your old mail that you can quickly switch to for easy searching. Remove Old messages from current Identity using a Custom View. Leave at least 60 days of old mail. You will have some duplicates but this is preferable to switching Identities constantly to find recent mail.

2) Create a new Identity and import mail from an Entourage archive (.rge) or Outlook archive (.olm). Another option for Entourage is to drag an MBOX file into the folder window.

You can also use a custom view to create an .mbox, .rge and .olm file.

Create Outlook smart folder

Create Entourage custom view

Outlook users can do an advanced search to create a smart folder.

This view will get all mail that is older than 60 days. Set date according to YOUR needs.

Select all messages in this view and assign a category that is descriptive like "archive".

Under File > Export select "Items that are in the category "archive"

You can select to keep or delete after exporting.

Entourage Custom View to remove old mail (Learn about Entourage Custom Views)

Step 1. This view will get all mail that is older than 60 days. Set date according to YOUR needs.

Step 2. Select the new mail view

To save as .mbox file go to step 3.

To export as .rge file:

You can assign a category "archive" to messages. Now you can export your messages as .rge file and select category "archive."
See movie on using Entourage Archive files.

Step 3. Drag it to the desktop to create .mbox file

Step 4. An MBOX file is created.

Step 5. Select all of the messages in custom view and delete.

See movie on using MBOX files.