Both Microsoft Entourage and Apple’s Mail application retain attachments even if you have saved them to another location on your hard drive. Plus, these mail programs keep copies of all the attachments that you’ve SENT to other people.

You can slim down your mail archives by removing old attachments you no longer need. Seperate instructions are included for both mail programs.

Removing Attachments in Apple Mail (Mac OS X 10.4)

To find all your messages with attachments in Mac OS X 10.4’s Mail, create a Smart
Mailbox to easily group them into a single window.

Chose Mailbox > New Smart Mailbox.


Choose Contains Attachments from the conditions pop-up menu (circled above). Give the new mailbox a name (such as “Contains Attachments”) and click OK.

Tip: Want to limit the emails presented to you? Click the plus sign and add another condition, such as only showing email received before January 1, 2007 (shown below).


The new Smart Mailbox appears on the left under your other mail folders.


Finally, to delete an attachment without losing the message it is attached to, just select your email messages one at a time, or in groups and choose Message > Remove Attachment.

Warning: This command takes effect immediately, with no dialog box to warn you — make sure you are only removing attachments you no longer need, or have saved elsewhere.

Removing Attachments in Microsoft Entourage

Entourage doesn’t have Smart Mailboxes, but if you can sort your mail lists to display emails with attachments at the top by clicking on the attachment icon at the top of any mail list.


Tip: If this icon is not available at the top of your mail list, tell Entourage to display the attachments column by checking View > Columns > Attachments.

Once you’ve identified a number of emails with attachments, select one or more messages, and choose Message> Remove All Attachments. This is especially useful for the Sent Mail folder.

When are done removing unwanted attachments, the disk space is not reclaimed until you compact the Entourage database:

Quit Entourage and then relaunch it while holding down the Option key. This tells Entourage to display a maintenance dialog that includes an option to rebuild its database. Choose Compact Database or Rebuild Database.


Source: This tip comes from the June 2007 issue of Design Tools Monthly. Members of a Creativetechs support plan receive a complimentary subscription to Design Tools Monthly in their monthly care package.