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Mailbox Maintenance – Keeping Your Mail Application Running Quickly

The Count Counts

Did you know that when it comes to slowness with your email program, it is usually not because of the size of your mailbox but because of the number of emails you have?

It’s true; it isn’t the size of the mailbox that impacts performance, it is the number of items in the folder or folders that are being accessed on the server.

In Outlook and Mac Mail, performance is largely influenced by the number of items in the “critical path” folders: Calendar, Contacts, Inbox, and Sent Items. Other folders you’ve created outside the critical path folders will not effect your mailbox performance in the same way, but subfolders within those critical path folders will cause the same type of slowness.

Here are some recommendations to streamline your mailbox.

Delete and Empty

  • Empty out your Deleted Items folder often, and avoid using it as a repository for emails that need to referenced. Deleted items is a trash bin for emails you no longer need and should be emptied on a regular basis.

Use Workflows

  • Create a workflow that allows you to delete any unnecessary mail and file away emails in a folder other than your critical path folders. Generally, we recommend users create a folder called “Saved Mail” where they can keep folders and subfolders of saved email.

Use the Inbox as an Inbox and File the Rest

  • Keep no more than 2500 emails in any of the critical path folders other than Inbox. In the inbox you should have no more than 1000. Both Outlook and Mac Mail will display the number of messages in a folder in the lower left hand corner of the program.
  • If you have subfolders in your “Inbox” move them all into another folder that you’ve created (i.e. “Saved Mail”).

Being diligent about keeping the critical path folders clean, and remembering to clean out your deleted items regularly will result in dramatic increases in speed when sending, receiving, and even doing basic searches within the application itself.