Archiving CMS or Exchange email to CS IMAP folders

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Revision as of 15:41, 11 November 2013 by Bjd5v (Talk | contribs) (Overview)

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Overview

The recommended process for archiving old email is to move it to your CS IMAP folders. There is no hard size limit on that storage and it is then available to any modern email client simply by setting up the account. Unfortunately the built-in archiving functions of the current popular email clients do not support auto-archiving to folders in a different account. While it is possible to manually move mail, automating the process is pretty straightforward and cuts down the number of manual steps considerably.

To move email between accounts both accounts do need to be set up in the same client. The process for setting up filters/rules to sort into CMS folders will depend on the client being used, as well. (See below.) For simplicity automated rules should only be set up on one client to avoid interference and possible recursion.

Your CS IMAP archives can be organized however you like. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that email clients will not perform well with large amounts of data in a single folder. To reduce the chance of problems you may want to set up a separate archive folder for each year (or another date range). This also serves to simplify rule creation.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird uses 'Message Filters' to sort and move mail. The filters can be set to run automatically when new mail comes in or manually against a specific mail folder. Unfortunately, when filters are set to run automatically, they only work on mail items flagged as unread. For archiving old, read, emails manually running filters is necessary, we can’t fully automate that process.

Before running filters you may want to enable the filter log. This can be done by opening Tools->Message Filters, clicking on the ‘Filter Log’ button, and checking the ‘Enable the Filter Log’ check box. This will give you a record of which filter moved which mail item in case a malformed filter misdirects mail.

These instructions are using unmodified Thunderbird. There are many options for filter criteria and there are also extensions and add-ons that can aid in creating filters, most notably Filta-Quilla. There are no add-ons currently available, however, that will allow for fully automating the archiving of mail that has been flagged as read.

Creating Thunderbird Message Filters

For archiving purposes the options Thunderbird gives to filter mail based on a specific date sent or received, or on the items age in days are very useful. We can write filters that move mail after it reaches a specific age, or move an entire time span’s email at once.

To create a manually run filter for mail older than six months:

  1. In Thunderbird open Tools->Message Filters
  2. In the Message Filters dialog click the ‘New’ button
  3. Give the filter a name such as ‘Move mail older than six months’
  4. Set the ‘Apply filter’ rule to ‘Manually Run’
  5. Set the match rules to ‘Match all of the following’
  6. Set the filter criteria to ‘Age in Days’ change the qualifier to ‘is greater than’ and enter ‘180’ as the value
  7. Under ‘Perform these actions:’ set the action to ‘Move Message to’ and select the desired destination folder
  8. Click ‘OK’ to save the new filter

To create a date range filter for email that was received in 2012:

  1. In Thunderbird open Tools->Message Filters
  2. In the Message Filters dialog click the ‘New’ button
  3. Give the filter a name such as ‘Move 2012 mail’
  4. Set the ‘Apply filter’ rule to ‘Manually Run’
  5. Set the match rules to ‘Match all of the following’
  6. Set the filter criteria to ‘Date’, change the qualifier to ‘is before’ and set the value to 1/1/2013
  7. Click the plus sign at the end of the line to add a second match rule
  8. Set the second filter criteria to ‘Date’, as well, change its qualifier to ‘is after’ and set the value to 12/31/2011
  9. Under ‘Perform these actions:’ set the action to ‘Move Message to’ and select the desired destination folder
  10. Click ‘OK’ to save the new filter

To manually run a filter:

In order to filter mail that has already been flagged as read the filter needs to be run manually against the desired folder. Unfortunately Thunderbird does not give you the ability to run a filter against multiple folders at once, so you will have to repeat as needed for each folder to filter.

  1. Open Tools->Message Filters
  2. Highlight the desired filter
  3. In the ‘Run selected filters on’ list, select the folder to run the filter against.
  4. Click the 'Run Now' button

Apple Mail

Apple Mail uses ‘Rules’ to sort and move mail. The rules work on the currently selected folder automatically when first created and applied, and on incoming mail automatically thereafter, as long as it is flagged as ‘new’. They can be invoked to run on individual mails as well, either individually or in a multiple selection group. Like Thunderbird there is no native functionality to scan and filter all mail periodically.

Creating Apple Mail Rules

For filtering email by age Apple mail does not allow you to build a rule that addresses a date range. The ‘Date Sent’ and ‘Date Received’ criteria only reference elapsed days, not the actual date stamp. This precludes you from being able to write a static rule to archive an entire year’s worth of mail at once.

To create a rule to move mail older than six months:

  1. With Mail open go to Mail->Preferences and select the ‘Rules’ tab
  2. Click the ‘Add Rule’ button
  3. Give the rule a name such as ‘Move mail older than six months’
  4. Set the rule criteria to ‘Date Sent’, change the qualifier to ‘Is Greater Than’ and set the value to ‘180’
  5. Under ‘Perform the following actions’ select ‘Move Message’ and then selected the desired destination folder
  6. Click ‘OK’ and then, IF you want to apply the new rule immediately to the current folder, click ‘Apply’; otherwise click ‘Don’t Apply’

To manually run rules against all items in a specific folder:

  1. In the selected folder highlight a message and click Command+A to select all
  2. Click Message->Apply Rules

Microsoft Outlook

Outlook uses ‘Rules’ to sort and move mail. The rules are enabled once created and work automatically on incoming, new, mail items. The rules can optionally be applied to the current folder after it is initially created, if the ‘Run this rule now on messages already in the current folder’ check box is checked. Once the rules have been created they can also be invoked manually on individual folders.

Creating Outlook Rules

Outlook rules do not have an option to filter based on age, just by specific date. This prevents you from being able to write static rules that archive mail once it has reached a specific age. (Microsoft VBA macros can perform age-based filtering, and other, more complex, tasks, but they are outside the scope of this wiki.)

To create a rule that moves mail from a specific year:

  1. In Outlook 2007 open Tools->Rules and Alerts then click the ‘New Rule’ button
  2. In Outlook 2010, in the ‘Home’ tab’s ‘Move’ section, click Rules->Create Rule, then, in the ‘Create Rule’ dialog, click the ‘Advanced Options’ button
  3. In the ‘Rules Wizard’ click the ‘Check messages when they arrive’ option, then the ‘Next>’ button
  4. Click the check box next to ‘received in a specific date span’, then click on the ‘in a specific date span’ link in the rule description text box
  5. In the ‘Date Received’ dialog box set the ‘After’ value to December 31, 2011 and set the ‘Before’ value to January 1, 2013, then click OK
  6. Click the ‘Next>’ button
  7. In the next window select the ‘move it to the specified folder’ option, then click on the ‘specified’ link in the rule description text box
  8. In the ‘Rules and Alerts’ dialog box select the desired destination folder and click ‘OK’
  9. Click the ‘Next>’ button twice, skipping the exceptions criteria page
  10. Give the rule a name such as ‘Move 2012 mail’
  11. If desired enable the check box to run the rule on the current folder, then click ‘Finish’

To manually run a rule:

Outlook 2007
  1. Open Tools->Rules and Alerts then click the ‘Run Rules Now...’ button
  2. Select the rule to run
  3. Select the folders/subfolders to run against
  4. Select whether to apply to read/unread/all messages
  5. Click the 'Run Now' button
Outlook 2010
  1. In the ‘Home’ tab’s ‘Move’ section, click Rules->Manage Rules and Alerts then click the 'Run Rules Now...' button
  2. Select the rule or rules to run
  3. Select the folders to run against
  4. Click the 'Include subfolders' check box if the rule should be applied to all subfolders
  5. Select whether to apply to read/unread/all messages
  6. Click the 'Run Now' button