Some people like to keep their Outlook folders perfectly controlled, with emails neatly categorized and stored in a logical, minimal folder structure. Most of us aren’t like that, so Microsoft has provided tools to help. One of these tools is the little-known Conversation Cleanup tool, which deletes or moves redundant emails from a conversation. Here’s how it works.
You can run the Conversation Clean Up tool against a single conversation, a folder, or a folder and all of its sub-folders. It looks for emails that are redundant, which mean those that are included in full in another message in the conversation. It then deletes (by default) or moves these emails to another folder, depending on how you’ve set it up. This helps keep your mailbox from being filled with multiple copies of the same message.
First, you need to set the Conversation Clean Up parameters. Head to File > Options > Mail and then scroll down to the “Conversation Clean Up” section.
By default, Conversation Cleanup deletes items, but if you want to move redundant items to a folder instead, you can click “Browse” and choose the folder to which you want to move them. This is handy if you want to double-check for yourself that the messages the tool finds really are redundant. The Conversation Cleanup tool is reliable in our experience, but sometimes there’s no substitute for checking things yourself.
You can probably leave the other default options as they are because they make a lot of sense, but if your situation or preferences are different, go ahead and switch the parameters on or off as you see fit. Once you’ve got the settings the way you want, click “OK” to go back to Outlook.
Now, you need to open the tool. On the “Home” tab, click the “Clean Up” button. The drop-down menu gives you the option to clean up the conversation that’s currently selected in the folder, the whole folder, or the whole folder and all of the sub-folders.