Retention Policies in Office 365 

I had a requirement to configure a mechanism within Office 365 to allow pages on an intranet to expire after a set amount of time.  When a page has expired the content owner is alerted and a task is assigned to review the page content. 

A number of content types have been designed and each content type can have an information management policy assigned to indicate the retention period. 

To configure retention in Office 365: 

  1. Create a content type the usual way
  2. Connect to the site using SharePoint Designer and create a workflow.  Select the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine as this will allow you to connect the workflow to a content type.
  3. Modify the content type through SharePoint (Site Settings –> Content Types) and select ‘Workflow Settings’
  4. This should allow you to select the workflow created in step 2.


Now the content type is ready, and the workflow is assigned to the content type – we now need to configure the retention policy:

  1. Select ‘Information Management Policies Settings’ from the content type page
  2. Configure a retention policy
  3. Configure the expiration policy
  4. Configure the action to start a workflow and select the workflow created earlier.

retention overview


Note: After testing in Office 365, we cannot manually start the retention timer job to iterate through the expired items – the timer job runs every Sunday at around 08:30 (in my tenant at least) – makes testing quite difficult, so any testing should be completed in an on-prem environment so the timer job can be manually executed.


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