How (and why) to copy (instead of move) emails from Sent Items

By: standss , Jul 28th, 2015

The easiest way to keep emails organized is to create folders inside Outlook for each client (or project or matter) and then move both sent and received emails to those folders… or so we thought.

A recent survey that we carried out of professionals (lawyers, architects, engineers etc) who use Outlook revealed that most users prefer to move emails out of the Inbox BUT not from the Sent Items folder.

Instead they prefer to copy emails out of the Sent Items folder and leave the original in Sent Items. In this article we look at why… and how you can copy emails instead of moving them.

Why you need a copy in the Sent Items folder

There are two main reasons that professional using Outlook prefer to keep a copy of all emails sent in the Sent Items folder.

1. Filling in Timesheets: Professional often bill clients for time. While timesheets should be filled as the work is done, this doesn’t always happen. Timesheets are often filled at the end of the day. The Sent Items folder often provides a good reminder about the work that we did on a particular day.

2. Finding emails quickly: You will probably need to refer to at least some of the emails you sent today in the next few days (probably to answer questions on a phone call, to clarify what you said etc) While Outlook’s search is pretty good even if you have emails filed away in folders, the easiest way to find a recently sent email is to quickly scan your Sent Items folder!

How to copy emails from the Sent Items folder

I am going to give you a more automated solution at the end of this post but the two manual ways of doing this in Outlook are:

Manual Method 1: The Move Command

Go to your Sent Items folder.

Right-click over the email that you want to move.

Click Move and then click Copy to Folder to display the Copy Items screen.


Select the folder and then click OK.

Method 2: Drag and Drop

The other way of copying a email is to drag and drop the email BUT do the drag and drop using the Right mouse button instead of the normal left.

When you drop the email (by releasing the right mouse button), you will see a small pop-up.

Click Copy and the email will be copied to your chosen folder.

An automated option for busy people

If keeping emails organized is important to your business, then you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook. QuickFile will save you hours of valuable time by learning and recommending where to file your emails. You will be able to file 90% of emails at the click of one button.

Best of all QuickFile can prompt you (with the recommended folder), whenever you click Send… and automatically file a copy of the email to your chosen folder and still leave a copy in the Sent Items folder.

You can download a fully functional trial version of QuickFile from here.

3 Replies to “How (and why) to copy (instead of move) emails from Sent Items”

  1. Quickfile is a great tool. It’s folder classification system is much better than the one used by EmailTags (which I also use). The two programs could integrate much better. I have been asking for this for some time. In particular, EmailTags should check if Quickfile is installed and open it to select the folder to save an email rather than using the list EmailTags list format. The list format works ok for a few cases, but I have a lot of folders and the history is now so long that it takes me a long time to find the folder in the history (where I want to save the file). The QuickFile search is much quicker but excludes the use of EmailTags.

  2. I use Quickfile pro to file emails as I send them to clear the sent items list. If I wish to know what I have sent or received over the past week or month I just used the search folders and create a customised one for the last 7 days etc. That way you can capture all emails, not just the sent ones.

  3. We use iManage FileSite as our document management system. I downloaded QuickFile to test filing emails from the Inbox to FileSite folders and it works. Is there anyway not to have the folder list refresh every time the user opens Outlook as this takes a long time?

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