In previous posts, I have discussed retention labels and record labels in Office 365.  Once the labels have been published many times they have to be set manually in the different locations within your tenant.  It is possible to automatically set retention, record and sensitivity labels, but I am going to cover that in a future post.  The purpose today is to provide you with an overview of using retention labels in the different aspects of Office 365.  This post will highlight setting retention labels in SharePoint, OneDrive and O365 Groups.

Using Retention Labels

SharePoint Online

You will find the labels of a document within the properties of the SharePoint object in the library (like Windows Explorer you can set the properties or metadata of a file in SharePoint).  To set the label of a document the user must have contribute access to the document.

  1. Select a file in SharePoint and open the properties pane

Using Retention Labels - Opening File Properties Pane SPO

  1. At the bottom of the properties pane you will see the property: Apply Retention Label.  Select the appropriate label from the list of available items.  Note: if you hover over a label the description will be displayed.

Using Retention Labels - Setting Document Retention Label

Note: if the label is a record label (meaning it can’t be modified once applied) no warning will be given and only a site collection administrator can remove the label after being applied.


  1. Select the email (or emails) you wish to apply the label to.
  2. Click on Assign Policy
  3. Select the retention label to apply.

Using Retention Labels - Outlook Set Retention

Outlook Web Access/Outlook Online

  1. Right-click on the file
  2. Select Assign Policy
  3. Click on the policy to apply

Using Retention Labels - Outlook Online Set Retention

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Team is a little bit different.  The interface doesn’t currently allow for the assigning of retention labels, however, the group behind does.  So while you aren’t actually assigning the retention label in a Team, you are assigning it in the group behind.  To set the retention label in a team

  1. Access the Files tab of the team
  2. Click on Open in SharePoint

Using Retention Labels - Microsoft Teams Set Retention Label Open in SharePoint

Once the SharePoint library has opened you can follow the same steps as you do for setting retention labels in SharePoint.


Thanks for reading!!