How to Purge Deleted Emails from IMAP in Outlook?

Summary: In this post, you will learn how to purge emails in Outlook and instructions on how you can create a menu ribbon to delete emails. The steps are relevant to Outlook versions 2019, 2016 and 2013, as well as versions 2010 2007 and 2003.

What is IMAP?

IMAP (Internet message access protocol) is a protocol used by email clients such as Outlook to open messages in emails stored on the mail server. It permits users to access their mail from multiple devices, while keeping messages on all devices synchronized.

Why Purge Deleted Messages is Important in Outlook?

The process of purge emails in Outlook or purge deleted messages in Outlook is essential for a variety of reasons. In the first place, it allows you to reduce the storage area in an email address. If a huge number deletions build up in the account this can be a drain on storage space, making it difficult to get new messages.

The second reason is that deleting deleted messages can help prevent over the storage limit set by the email service provider. The majority of email providers place limits on storage for their customers, and overstepping the limit can cause issues like bounced emails or inability to receive messages.

In addition, regular purging of deleted messages can enhance the performance of your email service. If there are numerous delete messages in the account the account can cause a slowdown in the server’s performance and cause delays in sending and receiving messages.

Recover deleted emails in Outlook using these simple steps.

purge emails in outlook

How to Clear Deleted Messages in Outlook

If you purge emails in Outlook or delete a message in the IMAP account accessed through Outlook The message is not deleted immediately and isn’t transferred into the Deleted Items folder. Instead the message is marked to be deleted and may be deliberately hidden since it’s not necessary to read. Therefore, in order to delete the emails that have been removed partially from your server, you need to perform an erase.

Below are the steps to configure Outlook to permanently delete messages that are marked for extinguishing in IMAP accounts for email:

This applies to Outlook versions 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010

  1. Navigate to the Folder tab.
  2. Then choose Purge from the Clean Up group.
  3. You can choose to either select “Purge Marked Items in All Accounts” to remove deleted messages from all IMAP accounts or select a specific folder or email account to purge messages from.
  4. Choose “Yes” to confirm that you want to permanently delete the emails.
  5. Once the process is complete, the messages will be permanently deleted from Outlook.

These instructions are specifically for Outlook 2007

  1. Navigate to the Edit tab.
  2. Choose Purge.
  3. You can either choose “Purge Marked Items in All Accounts” or select a specific folder or email account to purge items from.
  4. Verify that you wish to delete the emails.

Recall Message in Outlook allows users to retrieve and delete an email that was accidentally sent or contained errors.

These instructions are intended for Outlook 2003

  1. Choose the Edit option.
  2. Choose “Purge Deleted Messages” to eliminate deleted items from the present folder.
  3. Click on the Yes button.

What are the steps to create a ribbon menu option for deleting emails?

Customize the ribbon menu by adding a personalized button as an alternative to using the menu for deleting messages.

  1. To customize the Ribbon, perform a right-click and select “Customize the Ribbon.”
  2. Choose the desired menu tab from the Main Tabs section to specify where the new command should be displayed.
  3. By choosing “New Group,” a listing titled “New Group (Custom)” will be displayed.
  4. Choose the “Rename” option to assign a personalized name to the group.
  5. Enter a new Display Name and select a Symbol for the personalized button.
  6. Hit the OK.
  7. Click on the dropdown arrow for “Choose commands from” and choose “All Commands.”
  8. Scroll through the options until you find “Purge” and then choose either “Purge,” “Purge Marked Items in All Accounts,” “Purge Marked Items in Current Account,” “Purge Marked Items in Current Folder,” or “Purge Options.”
  9. Choose the Add button.
  10. The customized command will be displayed within the new group you created.
  11. Select the OK button.
  12. The newly created shortcut will now be visible on the Ribbon.
  13. Click on the shortcut to delete email messages permanently.

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What are the consequences of not deleting these emails?

Failing to delete these messages on a regular basis could lead to accumulation of a large number of undeleted messages in your online email account, eventually filling up the storage space. The email server will still consider these messages as existing in your account.

Certain email accounts have limited storage capacity. If you do not delete the purged emails, you could exceed your allotted storage capacity, resulting in an inability to receive new emails.

Outlook not archiving emails correctly can lead to cluttered inboxes, slower performance, and the risk of losing important emails.


In the end, removing the deleted emails in Outlook or purge emails in Outlook is a crucial task. It can help maximize the performance of the email account, save storage space, and stop exceeding the storage. When regularly purging deleted messages, users can keep their email accounts clean and organized. It will make sure they receive important messages in an efficient and timely way. The steps in this article are simple, users can easily alter their Outlook ribbon menu to make an individual button to purge deleted messages.

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Sofia Smith is a technical content writer who has followed her passion for technology by authoring tech content at Sysvpro. Follow her on Twitter