Difference between Labels & Retention Policies.

Labels & Retention Policies are quite similar. Let’s find out the main difference between them.

a) Labels: In Labels, the retention period starts from that date from which the label was applied to the document. Retention Policy (in itself) says to delete content after a certain period, however, while creating Labels (using Retention Policy) provides an additional option Trigger the Reviewer which states that the Reviewer can only decide whether content should be deleted after Retention Age or Retained. That Reviewer Option can be seen here:

Security & Compliance – Data Governance – Dispositions (Labeled Document will be auto shown after Retention age expires for Reviewer – he will get 3 options: Apply Different Label, Extend Retention Period & Delete Permanently).

If you have to create a label on any document for retaining it for a certain time, It can’t be applied directly. You need to create a policy to apply this label. If the correct label is not applied to a document, the correct Retention Policies will not be applied.

b) Retention Policies: In Retention Policies, there are 2 options to select from when retention period will start – 1) When the document was created, 2) When the last it was modified. There is no option of Disposition (Reviewer) and the content will be deleted after that without reviewing. 


a) http://outlook.office365.com/owa

b) Select Email – Right-click – Assign Policy – Select particular Label you want to apply to particular Email to set the Retention Policy (having retention period) defined in that Label.

c) Applying label to One Drive docs – Select Doc – Properties – Labels.

d) Label Policy – Create New – choose a Label. It will take somewhere around 5 to 10 minutes maximum to appear in Outlook or OWA. Also, make sure the user who is trying to apply Label should not have mailbox less than 10 Mb.

I hope by now it would be clear what’s the difference between Labels & Retention Policies.

I thank you by heart for reading my above blog. Do post your comments below in case you have any queries related to the topic. In case something is not clear, kindly post it in the comment and I will try to respond asap.

Ajey Kumar Gupta
(Microsoft Exchange Admin)

Next Blog: What Microsoft is doing under the Sea?

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