Outlook 2007 - IMAP accounts - is using one inbox possible?


M

MikeT

I just installed Outlook 2007 and have a couple of internet IMAP email
accounts set up. Each seems to use it's own inbox in Outlook 2007 (and it's
own PST file). I have not been able to figure out if I can have all incoming
email from all of the accounts be received into the same default outlook
inbox. When I select account properties for example there is no 'change
folder' option for these accounts.
In reading all the various other threads in here about multiple inboxes I
seem to be seeing that when the email accounts are configured as IMAP they
automatically have their own distinct inbox in Outlook. It believe I read
that if they were configured as POP3 (or Exchange) instead of IMAP then they
would/could use the main inbox. (I chose IMAP because I wanted to use some of
the features that IMAP offers for synchronization.)
Is this correct or is there a way to have 2 IMAP email accounts share the
same Outlook 2007 inbox?
Thanks for any/all replies
Mike
 
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B

Brian Tillman

MikeT said:
I just installed Outlook 2007 and have a couple of internet IMAP email
accounts set up. Each seems to use it's own inbox in Outlook 2007
(and it's own PST file).
That's how IMAP in Outlook works, not only for Outlook 2007, but for every
other Outlook version allowing IMAP accounts.
I have not been able to figure out if I can
have all incoming email from all of the accounts be received into the
same default outlook inbox.
That's because, for IMAP, you can't.
When I select account properties for
example there is no 'change folder' option for these accounts.
In reading all the various other threads in here about multiple
inboxes I seem to be seeing that when the email accounts are
configured as IMAP they automatically have their own distinct inbox
in Outlook.
Correct,

It believe I read that if they were configured as POP3
(or Exchange) instead of IMAP then they would/could use the main
inbox. (I chose IMAP because I wanted to use some of the features
that IMAP offers for synchronization.)
This is correct. Multiple POP accounts (or Exchange and POP accounts) share
a common Inbox, although with Outlook 2007, you can have separate Inboxes if
you want. But you can't simply change an IMAP account to an Exchange or POP
account. The server must support those account types.
Is this correct or is there a way to have 2 IMAP email accounts share
the same Outlook 2007 inbox?
It's possible you could use a rule to move messages that arrive in one IMAP
account to a separate folder, perhaps even the other IMAP account's Inbox,
but I haven't tried it.
 
M

MikeT

Thank You Brian. Much appreciated.
I was getting a bit confused reading some of the other threads as some
seemed to indicate you could share an inbox. Then I ran across a thread from
2005 that specifically mentionned IMAP and POP3/Exchange accounts and it
indicated that, as you confirmed, only POP3/Exchange accounts can share
inboxes and that IMAP can not.
I was also sure I had seen somewhere in the outlook settings as I was poking
around yesterday, an option/checkbox for sharing of inboxes, but for the life
of me I could not find it again so I figured a question to this forum would
be in order.
I was thinking, as you also suggest, that a rule might also work for this. I
will investigate that option as well.
The accounts I am using happen to be GMAIL accounts, and they do support
both POP3 and IMAP access. I chose IMAP because I need to access these
accounts from a couple of different machines (home and office and a
Blackberry) and IMAP offers (as I understand it) the best options for keeping
all 3 access points in sync.

Thanks again for the quick and informative reply to my origianl post.

Mike
 
R

Reichling

This option is native for Apple Mail and most other mail clients. This is
almost a must have for email clients. Why is Microsoft so behind on this and
when will it be fixed?

By the way don't get me wrong I am a Windows user but things like this drive
me crazy when microsoft drops the ball like this.
 
B

Brian Tillman [MVP - Outlook]

This option is native for Apple Mail and most other mail clients. This is
almost a must have for email clients. Why is Microsoft so behind on this and
when will it be fixed?

By the way don't get me wrong I am a Windows user but things like this drive
me crazy when microsoft drops the ball like this.
I don't see any way for any mail client that also allows calendaring,
contacts, tasks, and so on (i.e., any functions in addition to mail) to be
able to do this because IMAP protocols are mail-only. You'd have to prove
that a Mac handles things any differently.
 
J

Jim K

This is a feature that is currently holding me back from using Outlook daily
- I actually have to login remotely to my mac using Logmein in order to get
the experience i want with mail, so I STRONGLY recommend that Microsoft
consider future development or even an extension that would support this
behavior. There are a number of other people that feel the same way I do -
as can be represented by a websearch on "unified inbox for IMAP".

Your statement about IMAP being only for mail does not do justice to the
protocol. Several groups have found ways to create IMAP based sharing
solutions, integrating with open technologies such as LDAP for contacts and
iCal for Calendars. Content in the IMAP message can be used to automatically
add to calendars, and LDAP can be used to synchronize contact information
between IMAP accounts. This appears to be partially what Kolab does very
successfully, and/or may be what Bynari does in it's Insight Connector
product.

However, what remains for all mail clients other than OSX's Mail app is a
"unified inbox for IMAP", and furthermore Mail app has unified "Sent",
"Trash" and "Drafts" box as well.

They do this by simply consolidating the results from all the other key
folders into a single "virtual" directory that exists locally. Users
interacting with an individual piece of mail in the virtual directory do not
need to know where the original message was sent, as the message has such
information in it's headers, so replying to a message automatically
associates it to the given account, and stores it accordingly.

This is actually not an uncommon use of IMAP, as IMAP supports hierarchical
folders - so that clients can be at the top level of a folder and grab
everything below in one single list, or can choose specific folders within
the hierarchy and only see the specific data they want. So while the virtual
folder just aggregates the content from the other folders, it acts in much
the same way that IMAP already does. The "virtual" inbox is even a feature
of Horde's IMP email client, though it is limited to only showing unread
messages from all mailboxes.

That's actually one thing Mail app fails to do but Outlook did so well with
POP3 and unified inbox, having a single place to look for ALL unread mail
that was isolated from read mail - an awesome feature. But, it doesn't work
anymore when using IMAP folders.

The fact is that like anything, until you've had it, you wouldn't miss it -
but as a PC user who was essentially forced to use Mac for a job, and now
forced again to use PC for lack of one - I can say that I don't want to lose
this functionality.

Before using OS X Mail, I used POP3 Accounts on all my mail, and actually
wrote rules that would send outgoing mail to a separate address so I could
track where I sent from. This was less than desirable as it created enormous
redundancy, and when I had a Windows mobile phone with no rules capability,
it all became moot, and downright confusing. IMAP is what my company used on
MacBooks, and I since changed all my servers to IMAP, and I haven't looked
back yet.

I have a few consulting clients who I've switched over to IMAP, and they
were very upset that their sent mail no longer went to the Sent box and their
IMAP inbox wasn't an Inbox. They were used to POP, and local storage. Yet,
they indicated their desire to have shared access between multiple clients so
it was either IMAP or Exchange. I've pushed them to Exchange, but they
refused it, and for the moment I get daily calls asking for help on why is my
email not working this way or that. It took all of this chaos for me to
realize that IMAP isn't a valid option on Outlook, so either they move to
Exchange or go back to POP3.

Good for Microsoft, not good for my client.


-Jim
 
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B

Brian Tillman [MVP - Outlook]

This is a feature that is currently holding me back from using Outlook daily
- I actually have to login remotely to my mac using Logmein in order to get
the experience i want with mail, so I STRONGLY recommend that Microsoft
consider future development or even an extension that would support this
behavior. There are a number of other people that feel the same way I do -
as can be represented by a websearch on "unified inbox for IMAP".
You're welcome to produce a new RFC and extend the functionality of IMAP in
any way you wish, but I doubt either you or Microsoft can unilaterally do
anything about a mail protocol that has existed since around 1985. Besides,
lets say Microsoft did extend the IMAP protocol. How could they induce all
the other IMAP service providers (Google, AOL, etc) to modify their servers to
recognize the additional protocol elements. On top of that, suppose you
connect to multiple IMAP servers. Do you want your mail client to sync the
extra features on all of the servers? How would you reconcile differing
Inboxes on each server without having multiple Inboxes? There are so may
problems with your suggestion that it seems impractical to me.
Your statement about IMAP being only for mail does not do justice to the
protocol. Several groups have found ways to create IMAP based sharing
solutions, integrating with open technologies such as LDAP for contacts and
iCal for Calendars.
LDAP and iCal aren't IMAP, now, are they? Outlook already supports LDAP. How
do you propose reconciling multiple LDAP directories into a single Contacts
folder when each LDAP server contains a completely unique set of contacts?
Content in the IMAP message can be used to automatically
add to calendars, and LDAP can be used to synchronize contact information
between IMAP accounts. This appears to be partially what Kolab does very
successfully, and/or may be what Bynari does in it's Insight Connector
product.

However, what remains for all mail clients other than OSX's Mail app is a
"unified inbox for IMAP", and furthermore Mail app has unified "Sent",
"Trash" and "Drafts" box as well.
Great for the people who want all their email addresses to be homogeneous, but
theyn what's the purpose of multiple addresses?
They do this by simply consolidating the results from all the other key
folders into a single "virtual" directory that exists locally. Users
interacting with an individual piece of mail in the virtual directory do not
need to know where the original message was sent, as the message has such
information in it's headers, so replying to a message automatically
associates it to the given account, and stores it accordingly.
I can see so many people confused by this that it makes my head spin.
This is actually not an uncommon use of IMAP, as IMAP supports hierarchical
folders - so that clients can be at the top level of a folder and grab
everything below in one single list, or can choose specific folders within
the hierarchy and only see the specific data they want. So while the
virtual
folder just aggregates the content from the other folders, it acts in much
the same way that IMAP already does. The "virtual" inbox is even a feature
of Horde's IMP email client, though it is limited to only showing unread
messages from all mailboxes.
This I might find worthwhile. If Microsoft were to extend the functionality
of Search Folders to span multiple data stores, this wouldn't have to affect
the underlying protocols.
That's actually one thing Mail app fails to do but Outlook did so well with
POP3 and unified inbox, having a single place to look for ALL unread mail
that was isolated from read mail - an awesome feature. But, it doesn't work
anymore when using IMAP folders.
It doesn't do it for multiple POP accounts when you deliver those accounts'
messages to multiple data stores, either. Extending Search Folders would help
here as well.
I have a few consulting clients who I've switched over to IMAP, and they
were very upset that their sent mail no longer went to the Sent box and
their
IMAP inbox wasn't an Inbox.
Outlook 2007 has mitigated this somewhat by allowing the specification of the
Sent Items folder on a per-account basis. I don't understand your comment
that the "IMAP inbox wasn't an Inbox." Of course it is. Messages arrive
there do they not? That's the very definition of an inbox.
 
J

JoeH

I found a reasonable workaround when running MS Exchange accounts along with
IMAP accounts. I just created a rule under the 'Rules & Alerts' menu of
Outlook 2007. I jused the 'Start from a Blank Rule' choice and then just
redirected all incoming messages to my MS Exchange account inbox. Works
great.
Joe
 
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I too was annoyed that I couldn't have a combined inbox in outlook for imap.

I was forced to change from pop3 to imap because my isp, talktalk, were so bad they couldn't keep pop3 working on outlook (many customers were getting thousands of duplicates per day and they were choking up our clients).

Now I'm fighting to overcome the 'features' or lack of them of imap in outlook that caused me to avoid it in the first place.

However, the lack of a common inbox was easily overcome. I have just set up a rule that moves all incoming gmail into my talktalk inbox as soon as it arrives. It hasn't caused me a problem yet.

Although I haven't needed to try it, I think I can copy rather than move gmail across to leave its inbox intact or move/copy all mail to a common inbox folder that I create.
 
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I take it back - it's not working.

My test mail to my gmail address was moved without issue but anything going to my gmail inbox after that has generated a 'cannot move' error.
 

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