I seem to recall being able to create custom 'Smart Folders' when I used Outlook on Windows, but can't seem to find a way to do it in Outlook 2011 on Mac. The closest I've seen was to use Filters on a folder, but that doesn't seem to include sub-folders, and I can't find a way to save it to come back to later. When I have created a new folder the system does not ask or show where the folder is located and I can not get the properties open for First go to Outlook>Preferences and ensure that 'Hide On My Computer folders' is NOT checked. If it is, you won't be able to.
I'm a Windows admin and I have to say that I loathe Outlook for Mac. I run Exchange and how can an application that's named 'Outlook' not have basic functions such as 'archive' or 'export to PST'? It connects to an Exchange server, but bless you if you don't run into syncing issues at some point, which leads me into the reason for this post (besides the rant - sorry!). I have a user that dragged folders from their inbox (exchange account) to a folder 'on my mac'. This person now wants to have access to their mail in a Windows PC instead of the Mac due to their frustration with Outlook.
I don't know how I can get the mail into PST form without dragging them back up to 'inbox' and syncing to exchange and using a PC with Outlook 2010. He's got too much mail to take the time to do that route so I'm looking at how I can best take the files and folders 'on the mac' and create a PST out of them - is there a way to do that that I am missing? If I export from Outlook for Mac what format would I choose so that on Outlook 2010 (PC) where I could import? Why isn't there PST functionality built into a product called Outlook (sorry. Ranting again!). Just move the mail in Mac Outlook and allow it to sync. I have users with 40GB mailboxes and they move huge swaths of messages (and their large attachments) all the time.
Yes, this may temporarily slow down Outlook, but OWA works fine for the interim. Mac Outlook 2011 does export to.olm if that helps. But your users should be able to shuffle mail folders around for organization's sake, including what you are describing. Just educate them as to what the difference is between using 'On My Computer' and 'Exchange' folders.
If people think they need to save 10GB+ of email from years and years ago then user education is in order. If you are in a business where email retention is a requirement then PSTs aren't sufficient anyways and there are plenty of real, hosted solutions that will archive all your email for a few dollars a month. Do you want to come and educate my users? I even get requests from people to restore files from 10 years ago. And paying a monthly fee for email storage? Hah, that won't fly here. I feel your pain.
Been their myself plenty of times. But not doing things the right way can be just as painful only in other ways as your OP points out. Also, if users' company can't pay.