What is a Retention Tag?

This FAQ was last modified on: Monday, September 12, 2016 12:45pm

What is a retention tag?

A retention tag is a preset definition of a time limit and action to be taken once that limit is reached.The time limit, also known as retention period, is the length of time after an item arrives or is created before an action is taken. The action is either to move the item to archive or delete the item.The tags can be applied to folders and items in a mailbox.  

What are the types of Retention Tags?

There are three types of retention tags:

  • Default policy tags (DPT) - DPTs apply to untagged mailbox items in the entire mailbox. Untagged items are mailbox items that don't already have a retention tag applied.
  • Retention policy tags (RPT) - RPTs apply retention settings to default folders such as the Inbox, Deleted Items, and Sent Items. Mailbox items (in a default folder that have an RPT applied) inherit the folder's tag. Users cannot apply or change an RPT applied to a default folder. However, a different tag can be applied to the items in a default folder.
  • Personal tags - Personal tags are available to Outlook and OWA users as part of their retention policy. Users can apply personal tags to folders they create or to individual items, even if those items already have a different tag applied.

    Note: In Outlook 2013/2010 and Outlook Web App, personal tags with the Move to Archive action appear as Archive Policy, and personal tags with the Delete and Allow Recovery or Permanently Delete actions appear as Retention Policy.

For more information on specific folders/items, please visit the following references:

What Retention Tags exist?

Retention Name Type Period Action
1 Month Delete Personal 30 days Delete
1 Week Delete Personal 7 days  Delete
1 Year Delete Personal 365 days Delete
5 Year Delete Personal 1825 days Delete
6 Month Delete Personal 180 days Delete
Default 2 year move to archive Default 730 days Archive
Deleted Items Deleted Items 30 days Delete
Junk Email Junk Email 30 days Delete
Never Delete Personal Unlimited Delete
Personal 1 year move to archive Personal 365 days Archive
Personal 5 year move to archive Personal 1825 days Archive
Personal never move to archive Personal Unlimited Archive

Can I make my own Retention Tag?

No; you can only use pre-existing retention policies. You cannot create your own.

What happens to messages that are removed?

A retention policy may permanently delete messages, or it may move them to your Deleted Items folder. If the retention policy description says Delete (Temporarily recoverable) you can use Recover deleted items to recover the messages. The default period is 30 days for Office 365 accounts.

When you recover an item that was removed by a retention or archive policy, you have to either put it in a folder that doesn’t have a policy associated with it, or remove the policy from that item after you recover it; otherwise, the item may be removed again.

What else do I need to know?

  • You can not manage retention policies for your Calendar.
  • Junk Mail and Deleted Item policies are enforced globally and cannot be changed. 
  • Retention policies are created and managed by the Office 365 support staff.
  • Retention and archive policies run daily.
  • You can learn more about managing folders in Outlook Web App in Working with mail folders.