Email Best Practices

mark bering's picture


Most email storage is used up by attachments. For example, sending multiple versions of a presentation you may be working on with others can add up quickly. Sorting your Inbox by File Size can help identify large files to store in an alternate – and secure – location.

Folder Limits:

Improve Outlook desktop performance by managing the number of items in folders; especially the Inbox, Sent Items, and Deleted Items, because these are the first to be downloaded and are re-indexed every time they are changed. We recommend maintaining a range of 2,500 to 5,000 items in a folder. Create top-level folders or subfolders under Inbox, Sent Items, and Deleted Items to reduce the impact of index creation. This standard should be applied to all folders that are heavily used.

  • Use folder hierarchies to help keep the number of items in a folder within the recommended range
  • Use no more than three levels of folders (for example; the Inbox is the top level, then set up a subfolder labeled "2010" for all email messages that were received in 2010, and then a subfolder inside of the 2010 folder named "January" for the January email messages. This folder named January is the third level.)

Long Threads:

Sorting by Subject also helps identify multiple messages on the same topic. Usually the last one provides sufficient information for the thread and the others can be deleted.

Deleted Messages:

The [email protected] system is very cautious – it saves copies of messages you delete, and the messages in the Deleted folder have to be removed. It’s good practice to purge deleted messages at least once a day.

Graphic Backgrounds and Signatures:

We pay a price for self-expression in email because background graphics and animated signatures require more storage. Be aware of the storage needed to keep messages with these elements.

Desktop Clients and Archiving: Configuring your desktop client to save your messages in local archive files is a recommended practice for retaining mail that you perodically need to refer to while freeing up space in your mailbox on the UCSF email system.

The desktop client you use will determine the archiving options available to you.
Outlook 2013, 2016 (PC)
  • Outlook default is to archive every two weeks
    (frequency can be changed to suit customer needs)

  • By default messages are moved to a folder called “Archive Folders” in the
    Outlook folder list and “archive.pst” in the hard drive folder system.

  • Renaming archive folders in quarterly files to:
    (use the naming format: "YYYY QX Archive Folders")

  • Keep folders at the optimum size (2 GB max)
    For easy and expedient access
    To prevent corruption of the archive data files

  • Store archive folders on Local C: drive

  • Include folder in local backup plan
    (ask your desktop support tech about CrashPlan)

Outlook 2016 (Mac) &
Apple Mail (Mac)
  • The auto-archiving function is NOT supported in Outlook 2011

  • You can move messages from your UCSF account to an "archive" folder under "On My Computer"

  • Name the archive folder in in quarterly files to:
    (use the naming format: "YYYY QX Archive Folders")

  • By default the archive folder will be on the "Local" drive

  • Include folder in local backup plan
    (ask your desktop support tech about CrashPlan)