Last reviewed on April 22, 2015   —  55 Comments

Lotus Notes can prompt the sender to specify what folder a message should be saved in. Outlook doesn’t have the feature built in, although you can select the folder to save the message to before sending. Outlook has an option to save replies with the original when its not in the Inbox. If you want to be prompted each time, you’ll need to use VBA or an add-in.

You can also use Rules to move sent messages to other folders. This works well if you need to move all messages sent to specific people or with specific words in the subject but won’t work for one-off messages.

Select the folder when sending the message | Use VBA to display a dialog
Save Replies with the Original | Using Rules to file Sent items

Select the folder when sending the message

You can select a different sent items folder for each message by selecting the folder from the Options dialog before sending the message.

Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2013

Outlook's Save sent items iconIn Outlook 2007, 2010, or 2013, you can select a different Sent folder using the Save Sent Item to Command on the Options ribbon.


Outlook 2003, 2002, or 2000

In Outlook 2003 and older (using either email editor), click the Options button to dialog the Options dialog, where you’ll select the Sent folder.


Use VBA to display a dialog

Get the VBA from To set the storage folder for an outgoing Outlook message. Also see this code sample.

Note: VBA does not work on messages created with File, Send commands in other applications or the Send to command in Windows Explorer. Send to commands use Simple MAPI, which bypasses Outlook functionality.

Use VBA to move sent items

You can use a macro to move all items sent by a specific email account. See Use a macro to move sent items for the VBA code sample. This macro will work with messages created using the File, Send commands in other applications since it processes the message after it’s sent.


Save Replies with the original

If you move messages out of the Inbox, you can configure Outlook (all versions) to save replies with the original.


In older versions of Outlook, go to Tools, Options, Email options, Advanced Email options button. (right)

In Outlook 2010 and 2013, go to File, Options, Mail – about halfway down, in the Save section, is the option to save replies with the original when its not in the Inbox. (below)


Using Rules to file Sent items

You can create an After Sending rule to copy messages meeting specific conditions or to specific persons to a different sent folder, however, this copies the sent message. The only way to avoid saving a message in the Sent folder as well as in another folder is by disabling the option to Save all sent messages and use rules to save messages. If you use this method, your first rule(s) will save messages meeting specific conditions in the desired folders, with each rule containing the Stop processing action. The final rule applies to all messages and saves them in the Sent folder, catching all messages not processed by previous After sending Rules.

Step 1: Begin by creating a rule “from scratch”, choosing a blank rule, applied on messages you send:

Step 2: Add your conditions and Actions, remembering to select Stop processing on each rule.

Step 3: The final Rule will have no conditions; the Action will copy messages to the Sent folder:

Note that when you use a rule to move a copy of the sent item, its marked as unread. You will need to use VBA to mark the copied sent message read. See Mark Sent Items “Read” after Moving to a New Folder for the necessary code.


Tools in the Spotlight

QuickFile for Outlook

File 90% of your emails at the click of a button. Manage your Inbox and Sent Items folders. Move emails out of the Inbox to the correct folder at the click of a button. QuickFile remembers the folders used for each person and presents a short customized list each time. Use the same list to Send&File in one step instead of having to go back to your Sent Items folder. Plus many more email management features such as one-click creation of task/appointments from emails, newsletter processing, deferred non-urgent emails and much more.

Sent Items Organizer

Sent Items Organizer version 3.2 has been released. With its Send And File button, this version now allows you to type the first few characters of the folder you're interested in to quickly find the folder you need. In addition, it allows you to override your regular Send button so you don't have to change your current send habits. Finally, this version has improved shared mailbox handling to automatically file emails from shared mailboxes into their respective Sent Items folders. Enter code WD9BHK53 during checkout.


Tagwolf helps people save time while filing their email messages to folders in Microsoft Outlook. Tagwolf speeds up this task by intelligently suggesting the best folder for each email message. Instead of having to drag and drop emails to a large folder structure, users can simply accept this suggestion and file a message with one click. Works as an add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013.



Auto-Mate is an Outlook utility that allows you use define rules to move mail from your Inbox (or other folders) based on several criteria, including the age of the message. While Outlook rules only run as messages are downloaded or when you click Run Rules now, Auto-Mate rules run on a schedule, enabling you to apply rules to messages that have been in your Inbox for a given number of hours, days or weeks. Available in Standard or Pro Version. Supports Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013. Now available for Outlook 2010/2013 64-bit.


File emails from Outlook into project or client folders automatically by specifying the project number or client name in the subject of an email. FileChimp matches this data to a folder name located anywhere on your network! Watch as the bulk of your emails are automatically filed and finish the task with manual filing for emails that do not fall within the scope or a project or client folder.Save time and effort and ensure relevant emails are correctly filed throughout the office. Most emails are filed with ZERO clicks!

SimplyFile for Microsoft Outlook

SimplyFile helps you file incoming and outgoing messages to the right Outlook folder with one click of a mouse. SimplyFile's state of the art algorithm learns as you file messages and suggests destination folders for filing. All you have to do to send a message to the right folder is click a button. SimplyFile also includes buttons for turning messages into Tasks and Appointments. Compatible with Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Version

Single Click Filing for Outlook

Use Single Click Filing for Outlook to file your messages in Outlook. You can define up to 10 filing folders each with its own toolbar button and use the corresponding shortcuts (Alt+1, Alt+2, ... , Alt+0) to quickly and easily file messages. Free trial.

Track Your Sent for Outlook

Track Your Sent for Outlook gives you four easy ways to track your sent items using Filing, Categories, Calendar, Tasks. Re-attach your category with a reply/forward to the sent item and keep your categories local (and not expose them to the recipient). Define a default action or action(s) for just a single sent item.

TuckAway Intelligent Email Organizer

TuckAway Intelligent Email Organizer is an Add-in for Microsoft Outlook that helps you file messages into folders and keep the Inbox neat. TuckAway uses advanced prediction algorithms which adapts to your filing preferences and will suggest the right folder to store the messages. Free trial available.

VBOffice SAM

SAM automatically sets the sender, signature, and folder for sent items based on several criteria. Use SAM to assign a sending account or SendOnBehalf address and signature to contacts, folders, or categories. Works with Outlook 2007, 2010 and Outlook 2013.


  1. hussein says


    Thanks for th tip above. I tried to apply it based on Category (assigining a category to my sent message so it will be moved to a specific folder once it s sent). I could not see the Category button on my open new message!

    Only when I get into properties of the message (file, properties) I could see an option for categories but this is not the same list of categories I typially use for example for incoming emails!


    • Diane Poremsky says

      What version of Outlook? What type of email account? If you have multiple accounts the list of categories could be restricted based on where the message is stored. Otherwise, they should be the same.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I was working on one and it was cancelled by the publisher. I need to into self-publishing it or posting the chapters online.

  2. Miles Barry says

    I use Quickfile from AddIns for Outlook. Quite simply, I can now no longer use Outlook efficiently without it.

  3. Jake1947 says

    Diane, I found the 'rules' system tedious for my type of filing. Since your Tip for Dec 20 I've been using the Save Sent Item option.The list in the drop down menu is growing alarmingly. How can I delete the little used folders from this menu? And, is there a manner in which I can re-arrange them, at least?

  4. Luis says


    I have the VBA code to prompt in which folder I want to save the email. However, any time I close Outlook, the script stops working and it only works if I start the VBA editor.

    I have the VBA (ThisOutlookSession) digitally signed and I have tried all macro setting (from low to high). In all instances, after I change the settings I do restart outlook and I do check that it has stopped running (using Task manager).

    The code never works when I start outlook, but once open VBA, it works until the end of the Outlook session. It will work even if I close the VBA. In a sense, it seems that it dos not activate whatever is in "ThisOutlookSession" until I open VBA.

    Any ideas?

  5. mostafa says

    great article,

    When you click the "Save Sent Items To", you have the option to "Use default Folder" or "Do Not Save".

    How do you modify these properties through VBA?

  6. DJ says

    I am often baffled at the choices made by Microsoft with regard to the options available to users. I would like to use Outlook rules to do two extremely simple things. First, to move certain messages to a folder *after* reading them; and second, to move certain sent messages to a specified folder. While one can set up rules that are almost absurdly esoteric (How many users have ever set up a rule looking for a particular "Form Name," or created a rule exception for particular RSS feeds?), one cannot, so far as I know, set up either of the basic rules I described above. I am aware that incoming mail moved to a particular folder on arrival (as opposed to after reading) will still appear as "unread" in the "Unread Mail" folder; if, however, like 99.9% of Outlook users, you are used to reading your mail in your Inbox first, this is a rather klutzy workaround. Similarly, one could set up a rule to *copy* designated "Sent" items to a specified folder, and then manually delete the messages from the Sent folder later, but that defeats the purpose of having a rule in the first place. Am I missing something here?


    • Diane Poremsky says

      I don't see the unread folder as a klutzy workaround - it works very well if you get in the habit of using it instead of the inbox. You can even set it as your startup folder so its the first folder you see when you start outlook. The problem with "after reading" rules is that outlook doesn't have a timer and moving a message as soon as its marked read would be worse than not moving it at all. The 'hide read messages' view got a lot of complaints and support calls because messages disappeared - a rule that moved read messages could be just as problematic.

      The sent rule is a problem unless you set outlook to not save sent messages and use rules to save all sent messages. Or, if you are replying to mail already in another folder, set outlook to move the replies into the folder with the original.

  7. DJ says

    Thanks for the prompt response.

    With regard to the read/unread issue, what would be ideal would be a rule that would permit items to be moved to a folder some set interval after being read, in the same way that items can be deleted from an e-mail server after x days. As for the Sent items issue, I suppose this falls into the category of "it is what it is." However, it is one of those aspects of Outlook that border on stupefying. In effect, one has to organize one's Sent folder manually.


  8. Martha Harris says

    I think I have tried everything, and I can't get Outlook 2010 to save my sent messages. Any suggestions?

  9. says

    Do you ha any experiences that the save function when you send emails this way doesn't work sometimes. The sent email is not saved in requested folder or even in sent folder. Thank you.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Are you using an IMAP account? I've seen issues where using rules to move sent mail to an imap folder fails.

  10. Ros Christopoulos says

    Microsoft Outlook 2010 - I am simply trying to save an email to a folder when I have sent it to retain it for my records. Using the 'help' system it advised me to in the options tab click on save sent item to... seemed simple enough so I named a folder and sent my message of now I have no record of it being sent or can't find the folder???? any help appreciated

  11. RJ says

    Diane- I am moving under protest at work from Thunderbird to Outlook 2010. In Tbird, I can save replies with the original even in the Inbox, so I can move the whole conversation together to the appropriate folder. Is there ANY way to save replies TO the Inbox?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      No, not using native Outlook options. VBA can do it. Are you using Exchange 2010? If so, conversation view works good and displays sent items with the replies. They aren't actually moved to the inbox though. It works with all account types but Exchange 2007 and 2003 don't always do a good job at identifying conversations.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      That is just a temp file and is not recoverable. You should have a matching pst file (called backup.pst) that holds your data and would be recoverable/repairable.

  12. Fraser says


    Thanks for the excellent tips and the continued support. Not sure that Outlook has my solution but you have given some more tools to look at.


  13. Nakadaca says

    Hi Diane, I have successfully used the VBA script option for years with Outlook 2003. I was recently upgraded to Outlook 2010 and the script no longer works. What, if any, are the necessary code edits to the VBA script to allow it to function with Outlook 2010?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Which script were you using? If it uses Application.Session.PickFolder, it should work. The folder picker code here works in 2010 and 2013, but the Inspector code to delete the message does not work.

  14. Nakadaca says

    Hi Diane, Thanks for the response. I should have been more specific. The code/script I've been using is the exact one linked in your blog post on OutlookCode com.

  15. Nakadaca says

    It seems the fix to get the code to run was to check the "Apply macro security settings to installed add-ins" box under Trust Center > Macro Settings > Add-Ins. Thanks so much for your assistance with this!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Weird. It should have worked as long as macro security was set to allow it. Oh well, Outlook is sometimes weird. :)

  16. Karl Russell says

    Hi Diane, this worked great thank you. Saved me lots of time and allowed me to track emails I was not tracking before.

    However, I have another query. We receive enquiries from our website in an email form and they always contain the same subject line. When received I need to send them on to the correct salesman and then file the original email (not sent item) in the same folder each time. Basically, a folder containing all web enquiries.

    How would you go about this? I dont want it to auto send upon receiving because I may miss them and forget to send on. I need it to go in there once I have forwarded it on.


    • Diane Poremsky says

      Do you use 2010 or 2013? If so, you can use Quick Steps to open a message for forwarding (leave the To field blank in the QS), mark as read, move it. That would be the easiest IMHO. If you use an older version, you can do the same with a macro.

  17. Karl Russell says

    Hi Diane, thanks for the quick response. Either I am missing the point here or it is no quicker than what I do now.
    1. Email enquiry comes into my inbox
    2. I press 'Forward' then type in the correct salesmen's name (address)
    3. I send the email to them without needing to type anything myself
    4. I go to the email in my inbox and drag and drop into an enquiries folder
    How can I make this more automatic? i.e. once I have replied/forwarded a message it disappears from my inbox straight into the enquiries folder. Not before I have forwarded it and not the sent message, although thinking about it the sent message would be fine. Would still mean me deleting the original though which is as much effort as moving it.
    No worries if it cannot be done. I just thought it would and that I would not be the first to want this function.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      You can save the drag step by using Quick Steps (or a macro). If you want to make multiple quick steps (or macros) you can make one for each salesman which would save the addressing part & send part too.

      Instead of hit forward, address message, hit send, drag original to new folder, you'd hit the quickstep (or macro button).

  18. Roy Colbran says

    I can't get the list of e-mails in my Sent Folder to show either "To" or "Subject". It did show "from" which was useless as it was always me until I eliminated that. I know there are ways of grouping them but they don't achieve what I want. I just want them all in date order as they were under Outlook Express but showing "to" and Subject but this seems impossible

  19. Robert Moore says

    I went into the Outlook 2003 Mail Options and the section you've highlighted with the red frame just doesn't exist!

    This Outlook has 2 accounts with 2 different sets of incoming/outgoing servers (comcast, GoDaddy). The comcast account was set up first and is the default account.

    Email from the godaddy-based account goes to the Sent folder under the comcast account. Incoming email does go to the correct accounts, at least.

  20. Gary says

    When did finding your "sent Items" become such a mystery. I just started using outlook 2010 for my email a week ago and this seems a lot harder.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It's usually not a problem, unless you use IMAP - then you have choices, which may be different choices than you had before.

  21. Keith says


    I am using office 2007 and using the save sent item option to directly save the email in my folder of choice. The problem is every time I select a different folder it keeps growing the list. I am at 5, but with time it could be 100. I am not using it till I can figure out how to remove previously chosen folders. Do you know how to do this and/or do you know the max it will put in this list?

  22. Jason Lecker says


    I'm using Outlook 2003. At my company, we use public folders hosted on a server to organize emails based on the project the email pertains to. Each project has its own folder, so we've ended up with hundreds of these different folders. The folders themselves are organized by year and named with the following convention: 2XXYYY, where XX is the last two digits of the year and YYY is the number of the overall project for that year (e.g. 212005 would be the fifth project we worked on in 2012).

    In order to better track project emails, I've started including the project number in the subject line when I send out emails. That way, when it comes time to file the emails, I can just search for the project number and move everything it finds into the proper folder. However, with so many projects, this is still a pretty manually-intensive task. I was wondering, do you think there's a way to automate this for my outgoing mail?

    What I have in mind is some sort of macro or script that searches the subject line of sent mail for a six-digit number, say 212005, and automatically files a copy in the proper folder. The sequence of events would look something like this:

    --I send email with subject line like "Response to inquiry (proj. # 212005)"
    --Script recognizes "212005" as a project number
    --"212" means project folder is in Public Folders -> Project Emails -> 2012
    --Script finds folder starting with "212005", copies email into it

    Although I'm sure such a script would be technically possible, do you think it would be prohibitively complicated to actually create? I know I am able to create a rule to do this, but once again, it would have to be on a project-by-project basis.

    Sorry for the wall of text, and thank you for your time!

  23. Annabel says

    Diane, my company uses gmail and most of us work through Outlook instead of directly on Gmail. Yesterday all my sent items over the past 3 years started appearing in my outlook sent items folder even though I had moved majority of them into sub folders or deleted. I haven't made any changes to my settings. I usually only have items I am still working on in my sent items hence moving them into a subfolder of the inbox once completed. Any ideas?

  24. akasper says

    Hi Diane,

    is there a way for me to set up a rule where if the recipient doesn't reply by a certain time, the sent email goes to a certain folder?
    this is the easiest way for me to be on top of what I still have not completed. until now I have to manually go to the sent box and drop it into my "waiting on" folder. therefore if there is a way to have outlook automatically place any unanswered emails by the next day, into a specific folder it would simplify a lot of things.


  25. JP says

    There's an easier way than setting mail rules. I customize my quick access toolbar to include a button for sending and filing to whatever folder you want. To do this, use the drop down arrow to “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” > select “More Commands”.. Select “Choose Commands from” > “All Commands”. Search for the "Save Sent Item To" button and add it to your toolbar. Now, when you send an email, you can select the new icon in your quick access toolbar and ‘send and file to’ whatever folder you want. In most cases, I send and file to INBOX. You can also select another folder. The most commonly used folders will stay at the top for easy access. Once you select this, you will still have the option to do it again and set it to file to another folder (i.e. if you selected the wrong folder), and it won’t do anything until you actually press the “send” button. The sent note will now show in your inbox or your other selected destination folder.

  26. Paul Belton says

    Did the question below of how to delete folders in the Options/Save Sent Item To question get answered - I'm stuggling with this and folder list has become an annoyance!

    "Diane, I found the 'rules' system tedious for my type of filing. Since your Tip for Dec 20 I've been using the Save Sent Item option.The list in the drop down menu is growing alarmingly. How can I delete the little used folders from this menu? And, is there a manner in which I can re-arrange them, at least?"

  27. Caperana says


    do you know how to make the "save sent items to" mandatory? I've seen some persons in my office that each time they send an email it apears that dialog box so you are forced to save the sent items somewere.


  28. Anthony Walker says

    The send-and-file VBA code which works perfectly on Outlook 2013 does not seem to work on Outlook 2016 Preview. I've also been unable to get Tagwolf to work on Outlook 2016 Preview. ANy ideas?

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      Are you using 32 or 64bit Office? I don't know about tagwolf, but if it supports 2013, it should work with 2016... the macro should work too. What is the macro security set to?

  29. Anthony Walker says

    64 bit - however, I found the source of the problem, I'd neglected to add the DelegateSentItemsStyle DWORD in the registry. Once I did that, the VBA worked fine (didn't need to test Tagwolf as the VBA is all I need).

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