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Reduce Outlook PST File By Replacing Downloaded Attachments With Shortcuts

Even though Outlook 2010 offers a simple way to let users manipulate mail attachments, there are two problems regarding maintaining the size of Outlook mailbox, firstly, when you export/save an attachment, it doesn’t get deleted from the email, thus taking same disk space, secondly, when you delete the attachment after saving it on disk, the mail item will stop showing paperclip-imaged icon which indicates that message contain attachments, hence you cannot list down all the mails which had attachments.

Considering this very problem, Phil Holmes offers a simple solution through his product called Outlook Attachment Exporter. It is a small application which can export or delete attachments in specified mail item without removing paperclip-imaged icon, letting user visually find out ‘mails with attachments’. Using the application, even if you’ve deleted an attachment, it can replace the file with a small-sized icon file (having same file name) to reduce the overall size of Outlook message store.

The application runs only in company with Outlook, so launch Outlook and let it complete the Sent/Receive process. Now launch the application, you will see two big buttons to navigate through the messages. All the respective mail-related information can be seen alongside. To let application consider only messages with attachments, enable Ignore messages with no attachments option. You can also view the original message in Outlook by clicking Show Message button. In center pane, you can see all the attachments contained in selected message.

outlook attach

From the lower part, you have options to Delete Attachment and replace with either icon & filename or shortcut file which will refer to exported file. Finally, a click on Go button will process the attachments as defined by user. As you can seen in the screenshot below that it has deleted the original attachment file and added an icon file with same filename.

outllok attach- new-1

The application proves to be useful in controlling Outlook mailbox size while mitigating the probable of having duplicates. It works with Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, our testing was done with Outlook 2010 running on Windows 7 x86 system.

Download Outlook Attachment Exporter


  1. I think this is a extremely useful function — anybody know of a 64-bit Windows 7, outlook 2010 ‘free’ solution?

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