How to Remove Attachments From Messages in Outlook

How to keep your Outlook inbox clean from attachments

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Attachments can be the most important part of incoming emails, but they are also frequently what makes your email archive grow big quickly. While a typical email message is maybe 10 KB to 20 KB, attached files are often in the MB range.

If you use Outlook with an Exchange server or an IMAP account that imposes mailbox size quota, getting the attachments out of the emails and then deleting them on the server should be a top priority. But if you use Outlook to access a POP account and store all mail on your computer anyway, saving the attachments to a folder and removing them from the emails can make things cleaner, clearer and speedier.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, and 2007.

Saving Attachments to Your Hard Drive

If you think you will need the attached files later, save them to a folder outside your mailbox first:

  1. Go to the desired email in Outlook.

  2. Select File > Save Attachments from the menu.

    • Outlook 2010: Under Attachments select Save All Attachments.
    • Outlook 2007: Message > Actions > Other Actions > Save Attachments.
    File options for saving attachments in Outlook.
  3. Highlight the attached files you want to save.

    • Use Ctrl + left-click to select individual files.
    Selecting all attachments to save in Outlook.
  4. Click OK.

  5. Go to a convenient location on your hard disk.

    Picking a locations to save attachments in Outlook.
  6. Click OK to save the attachments.

Delete Attachments From Messages in Outlook

Now that the attached files are saved, you can remove them from the messages in Outlook.

To delete attachments from messages in Outlook:

  1. Double-click on the desired message to open it in its own window.

  2. Right-click on the attachment you want to remove.

  3. Select Remove Attachment from the menu.

    Selecting to remove an attachment in Outlook.
  4. Confirm you want to Remove Attachment.

    Confirming the removal of an attachment in Outlook.
  5. Close the message.

  6. Select Yes when Outlook asks if you Want to save your changes to this message?

    Confirmation of saving changes to an email in Outlook.

Of course, you can also delete the complete message after you have saved the attachment to your hard disk.