Archive old emails in Outlook to reduce size of Profile (Identity) using EagleFiler

As the years go buy a user’s Profile (Identity) gets larger and larger. I often see users with huge Profiles (Identities) 50GB and larger. Outlook has become sluggish under the weight of many GB of data. Not only is Outlook affected but on a small SSD drive, Outlook could be taking up the majority of space used. Consider this like a visit to your doctor. You can ignore the advice or wait until your Outlook Profile (Identity) has a fatal heart attack and you lose data.

EagleFiler will import all types of data, but we are going to focus on archiving your mail.

Download the demo for Eaglefiler

Let’s do some test imports so you can easily understand how to use EagleFiler before you make the plunge and start archiving.

Before we get started, let’s verify you have enough space on your drive to archive your data. The process will create duplicates during the process. If you are low on disk space, save to an external drive.

  • Use Disk Utility to find available space on your drive.
  • Do a Get Info on your Profile (Identity) to find size.

Outlook 2011 saves your Identity in the ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities folder. Select your Identity and do a Get Info.

Outlook 2016 saves your Profile in the ~/Library/Group Containers more info

After installing EagleFiler, it will ask you to save the EagleFiler Library. You can save to Documents or to an external drive if you are low on disk space. I suggest you create a folder in Documents named EagleFiler. Save the library in this folder. Name the library “Test Outlook Demo”.

You can use any folder in Outlook, but start with something small to make testing easier. I suggest creating a folder in Outlook with no more than 20 emails for testing. Be sure to include attachments, images and replies. Remember if you import thousands of messages you will need to give Spotlight time to index the files before search will work in EagleFiler.

There are several options to import Outlook messages into your EagleFiler library. Let’s look at using F1 and MBOX files.

Use F1

The recommended way to import from Microsoft Outlook 2011 or Outlook 2016 is to select some messages (or a folder and no messages) and press the capture key (F1 or fn-F1).

If you aren’t familiar with the F keys, see these links. Often to get the F1 key to work for importing you first have to select the Fn key to toggle between functions.

How to change the behavior of function keys on your Mac

How to Use Your Mac’s Function Keys

Select the folder with test messages in Outlook then press the F1 key. Look in the top right of your window and you should see a notification that EagleFiler has completed your import.

Test all the features (search, view attachment, reply) To reply just double click on the message and it will open in Outlook.

Use MBOX files 

You can drag a folder to the Desktop from Outlook and it will create a .mbox file. For this test, drag the folder you created for the test to the Desktop.


Open the EagleFiler Library you created. Inside you’ll find a folder named To Import(Test Outlook Demo EF)


Drop the mbox file into the To Import folder.  If you want to save the .mbox file for archiving hold Option key and drag to copy file.

Select EagleFiler Library and your data will be imported.

More info on importing mbox files

Note if you have a lots of folders and subfolders, you might want to use Emailchemy to create the mbox files. If the folder is large, Outlook will not export the entire folder. Outlook only exports one folder at a time. If you have subfolders you will have to drag each individual subfolder to create .mbox file. Use Emailchemy to get large folders exported as .mbox file. Emailchemy will also export all subfolders and keep them organized correctly.

The manual for EagleFiler covers in detail how to Import mail from Outlook.

Start Importing…

Once you have explored EagleFiler and are comfortable with storing your messages outside of Outlook, let’s look at moving your data over to EagleFiler. If you have created folders like Inbox 2011, Inbox 2010, Sent 2011, Sent 2010 etc, these are easy to archive. However if you have a custom folders that have messages going back years, how do you archive these folders?

I suggest you create a search using Date Sent > Before > enter date. This example will get all messages before 01.01.2014. This would leave all 2015 and 2016 emails in Outlook.

This option will keep all messages in the folders where you currently have them saved.

Search all mail.

Wait until the search has found all messages. This could take a while. You can see the number of items in the bottom left of the Outlook window. Make sure it has completely stopped updating.


Select All messages in the search. Under Categories in the Menu bar, select Edit Categories. Create a new category named *Export Year 2014 and older. The * will make the category sort to the top. Wait until the category has been added to all messages.

edit categories

Next, under File in the Menu bar select Export…

Select Items in the Category. Select the category you created under the popup.



In order to import these into EagleFiler, you will need to import the .olm file into a new Outlook Profile (Identity). Once you import you can select all folders for import into EagleFiler.

How to create a new Profile (Identity)

  • Outlook 2011, hold down Option key when launching Outlook. This bring up the Database Utility. Click on + to add a new Identity. Set as default.
  • Create new Profile in Outlook 2016.

Once you are satisfied that all messages are safely stored in Eaglefiler,  switch back to your Main Identity in the Database Utility by selecting Main Identity as Default. Delete messags from Outlook Profile (Identity).

Enter Search again, but this time use set up the search and sort on category rather than date. After this finishes populating the search, select all and delete. Empty the trash.



Share this:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • PDF
  • Print

3 comments to Archive old emails in Outlook to reduce size of Profile (Identity) using EagleFiler

  • Robert F

    “loose data” -> “lose data”

  • Gordon Crenshaw

    Hi Diane,

    I’m at a point where I need to archive the items in my Profile because it is too big and I need to free up diskspace on my hard drive. There are times when I need to search through my old emails. At first I was thinking I had to create a second Profile for archiving messages and I could switch back and forth between the profiles. However, I wasn’t certain how to move emails from one profile to another.

    Eagle filer may work. Once I have archived the emails through Eaglefiler, how can I search back through them if needed?