Category Archives: Microsoft Office

Mailbox filling up harddisk? Turn Off Cached Exchange Mode

Microsoft OutlookThis came up in conversation at work earlier today- a user has connected to their own mailbox and those of other staff. They now have a whopping 35GB of Outlook files on their workstation. They are having performance issues. Here’s a 30-second highlight of the solution.

Solution: Turn off Cached Exchange Mode in Outlook, reduce the timespan mail is retained locally, or choose not to cache the shared mailboxes.

What is Cached Exchange Mode?
Cached Exchange Mode is used in Outlook to download a local copy of a mailbox on the workstation to allow for offline use. This is the default behaviour when connecting to Exchange and is great for most users, and in particular if you have a poor or intermittent network connection. However when used by people using massive mailboxes it can take up a lot of local hard drive space- you’ll spot some large “.OST” files in the users profile-  and Microsoft advise that performance can become an issue on large (>25GB) mailboxes.

My (default) settings on a workstation look like the screenshot below- Cached Exchange Mode is turned on and set to download the last 12 months of data from all mailboxes I connect to with that account and also the GAL. If I look in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook I see that I have an OST file weighing in just under 1.5GB however my mailbox on the Exchange Server (Office365) is 10GB in size. With these settings I can access all the mail I need to, and if I need to look up anything earlier it goes off to the server to retrieve it- this process is barely noticable if I’m connected to the internet.

If I need to reclaim some local disk space, or hit performance issues, I can reduce this local retention time or disable Cached Exchange Mode altogether.

Cached Exchange Mode Settings

Out of Office Mail Tips- A great feature

Our corporate email recently upgraded to Office365 and one of the many benefits which has come with this is the ability to preview an Out of Office message from a colleague before sending them a mail from Outlook.  I think this is great.

Media Tip in Outlook 2013

Now I can tell the recipient is on holiday before hitting send.

Whilst the feature has been available since Exchange Server 2010, it’s only recently come into play in my environment.

Only today I was talking to a colleague who was complaining that when they went on holiday they’d receive lots of messages from colleagues asking for information or requesting work to be done and on their return from leave they didn’t know what had been dealt with.

Traditionally you may only find out a colleague is away after the email has been sent and the Out-of-Office has bounced back.  Now it’s possible to find out before hitting send and (if appropriate) send the email to someone else instead. Not only does the request stand more chance of being dealt with promptly but also the person on leave comes back to a shorter inbox.

Removing Attachments to Save Space

If, like me, you use your email archive as a record of what’s happened and if, like mine, this means your email box is approaching capacity, here’s a trick that might free up some space.

In Microsoft Outlook (with an Exchange/ Office365 back end) the attachments are stored in your mailbox. Quite often I find I want to keep the content of the mail for posterity, but I don’t need the attachment- for example when I email a document to someone and have the original stored safely elsewhere.

In Outlook 2013 it’s possible to remove just the attachment, leaving the mailbox intact. To do this, locate the email in your mailbox, right-click on the attachment and choose “Remove Attachment” from the context menu.


You will be prompted to confirm this, and doing so will remove the attachment but keep the message.


Fahrenheit vs Celsius in Outlook 2013

imageWhen using Outlook 2013, the Calendar conveniently displays the current weather and temperature at the top of the pane. The location can be switched using the drop down on the weather itself (for some reason my English-UK Office setup decided that I was most likely a New Yorker following installation) but changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius is not as obvious.

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Functional Dependency Symbol in Word

imageIf you’re writing functional dependencies in a Microsoft Word 2010 document and want to insert the “Long Rightwards Arrow From Bar” symbol you should select “Symbol” from the Insert Ribbon (in Word 2010), and then on the Symbol dialog window select the “Segoe UI Symbol” font and you will find the symbol in the “Supplemental Arrows-A” subset. Then just click the “Insert” button.