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Best Practice Advice for Managing Your AU E-mail

E-mail has become a critical part of how we communicate every day—it facilitates teaching, learning, and research activities—and how we each conduct our daily business. 

AU’s recent e-mail challenges served as a learning opportunity and encouraged us to adapt our e-mail management practices. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) wants to raise awareness and provide instruction on best practices that we can all follow to help improve system performance and reliability.

Any adjustments we make will benefit AU in the future. For example, many AU users are not aware of, or do not employ best practices related to e-mail management.

What are those best practices?

  • Regularly clean out your e-mail inbox.
  • Move inbox messages that you need to retain to personal mail folders. A best practice is to keep fewer than 1,000 messages in the Inbox view.
  • Sort mail by size and delete unnecessary attachments. Save and store attachments you need to keep on network drives rather than in your mail file.
  • Delete or archive any older e-mail that you no longer need. A best practice is to keep a maximum of two GBs in mail files.

To help individuals who may not know how to perform these steps, OIT staff have compiled frequently asked questions that are available online.

If you don’t find the answer to your questions, contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550,, or IM AskAmericanUHelp.

Next steps for OIT

  • We will reach out to the individuals with the largest mail files to help with archiving or deleting older, excess mail.
  • We will work to define and test automated rules for Inbox management. Our likely approach will be to age Inbox messages at a certain point and move them to the ‘All Documents’ view. We will contact all affected users before making any automated changes to user Inbox rules.
  • We will work with interested faculty this summer to coordinate a limited Google Mail Premiere pilot for select faculty with a list of acceptance criteria.