Office of Information Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about Managing Your E-mail


The Office of Information Technology needs your assistance in starting to perform better space management on our e-mail servers to improve system performance and reliability. To do this, please clean up your mail inbox and move messages to folders that you need to retain. Please also go back to any folders and delete any old e-mail that you no longer need to retain. It is recommended that mail files be a maximum of two GBs in size, with less than 1,000 messages in the INBOX view.

We recognize that everyone may not know how to perform the necessary steps, so we have put together this compilation of frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your questions, please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp.







Why should I clean-up my mail file?

Reducing the size of your mail file can have tremendous benefits for both you and AU's e-mail servers. You can dramatically improve the performance of your e-mail client by regularly:

  • Filing your e-mail messages into folders
  • Archiving messages over a year old
  • Deleting large attachments

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How do I create folders in Lotus Notes?

  1. Open your MAIL database in Lotus Notes.
  2. Click CREATE from the top menu bar. Then, select FOLDER.
  3. Enter a FOLDER NAME for the new folder.
  4. Select a location for the folder.
    • If you want it to be a top level folder, just click OK.
    • If you want it to be a subfolder, select the parent folder and click OK.

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Can you recommend ways to organize my folders so they are easy to manage?

Each person has their own organizational method that works for them, but here are a few ideas to keep your folders manageable:

  • Create a CURRENT PROJECTS top level folder, and then create sub-folders for each INDIVIDUAL PROJECT.
  • Create a COMPLETED PROJECTS top level folder, then project sub-folders can be moved from Current Projects to Completed Projects.
  • Create an AU PEOPLE top level folder, and then create sub-folders by NAME.
  • Use Mail rules for listserve mail that you might want to read at a future time. This can keep your Inbox uncluttered and save you the trouble of moving them to a folder.

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How do I move mail to a folder in Lotus Notes?

  1. You can sort your Inbox by clicking on the WHO column to quickly find all messages from a particular sender.
  2. Select multiple messages at a time by holding the SHIFT key (to select a range of messages) or the CTRL key (to select multiple individual messages).
  3. Drag the selected messages to the appropriate folder.

Tip: Lotus Notes will still allow you to search for a message in all folders by searching the ALL DOCUMENTS view.

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How do I delete an entire mail folder and all of its contents in Lotus Notes?

  1. From your inbox, click on the folder you want to remove.
  2. Then, press the CTRL key and the letter A simultaneously to select all of the messages in that folder.
  3. Press the DELETE key.
  4. Click YES, when prompted.
  5. Select ACTIONS, FOLDER OPTIONS, and REMOVE FOLDER from the menu bar at the top of the screen.
  6. It will ask you to confirm the deletion of the folder and its contents.

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How can I recover a message that I accidentally deleted?

  1. Within Lotus Notes, click the TRASH folder.
  2. Click on the message that you would like to recover.
  3. Then, click the RESTORE button.

Contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, helpdesk@american.edu, or AskAmericanUHelp, if the message that you want to recover does not appear in your Trash folder. It may be able to be restored from back-up.

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How do I empty my Trash folder?

It is a best practice to empty your TRASH folder on a regular basis.

  1. Within Lotus Notes, click the TRASH folder.
  2. Then, click the EMPTY TRASH button to delete all messages.
  3. It will ask you to confirm the deletion of the folder and its contents.

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How can I sort my mail by size to simplify deleting the messages with the largest attachments?

  1. Open your MAIL database in Lotus Notes.
  2. Click on the ALL DOCUMENTS view from the Navigation Pane on the left.
  3. Click the label for the SIZE column to sort messages by size. The messages with the largest attachments will appear at the top.
  4. Locate the largest attachments. Then, either delete the messages or open each message and manually remove the attachments.
    • To do this, right-click on the attachment.
    • Select SAVE AND DELETE, if you want to keep the message in your mail file without the attachment.
  5. Select and delete unwanted messages with large attachments.
  6. When finished, you can click on the DATE column again to sort by date. Clicking twice on a column toggles between ascending and descending order.

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Should I be concerned about messages in my Sent folder?

Most e-mail clients automatically save copies of every message you send, so the SENT folder is often the largest folder. Follow the steps above to locate and delete large attachments that you have sent, but are also stored elsewhere.

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Where can I access all of my mail?

From the Lotus Notes client or WebMail, click on the ALL DOCUMENTS view from the left navigation bar.

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How can I tell how much storage space my mail file is consuming?

Lotus Notes Instructions

  1. Open your MAIL database in Lotus Notes.
  2. Then, click the FILE menu.
  3. Select APPLICATION and PROPERTIES. The Properties window will appear.
  4. Click the INFORMATION tab, which is labeled with an i icon.
  5. The mail file size will be shown.

AU WebMail Instructions

  1. Login to mail.american.edu.
  2. Click the IBM LOTUS INOTES logo in the top left corner of the screen.
  3. The mail file size will be shown.

IMAP Instructions

If you use an IMAP client (like Mac Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, or Microsoft Outlook), you will need to log into AU WebMail through mail.american.edu to check your file size in the Preferences window as described above.

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How can I archive my mail?

The Office of Information Technology has implemented a server-based archiving solution for Lotus Notes. Scheduled archiving will automatically run on our mail servers to move documents that have not been accessed in the past two years from your active mail file into an archive mail file on a dedicated archive server. This helps to keep your active mail file smaller, which improves the overall health and efficacy of the AU e-mail system.

Please review the online information on archiving.

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How long am I required to keep my AU e-mail?

AU policy required that mail be retained for 36 months.

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