I discovered something a little interesting today as I was trying to come to a balance between my access to Google Apps functions for a client and my use of Outlook 2010 as my central communication management application. I’ve been using an IMAP connection to my Google Apps email account into Outlook 2010 for almost a year now, but it wasn’t quite configured the way I would like.
If you’re not aware, IMAP works in a more synchronous fashion with your email server than POP3. POP3 makes specific calls to the server to request new messages and if there are any, it pulls them down off the server (unless you’ve configured your settings to leave a copy on the server) and into your Inbox. If I just checked my email using POP3 and then went to view my Inbox via Webmail on the server, I wouldn’t see the messages I just downloaded.
With IMAP, your email client connects to your server almost continuously and monitors for changes to messages and data on the server. It then reflects that data available on the server and leaves messages to be available in both places as needed. In fact, with the example above, when I “read” the message in my email client, the message would still show up in the webmail inbox and show as being read.
The challenge with Google Apps email is that there is unlimited storage available with the email account, so potentially, why would I ever delete messages. I won’t go into the discussion at this point about why email shouldn’t be used as a database for information and reversing your email routine, but merely a communication tool. But let’s say the recommendation for perhaps legal reasons it to keep all of your email.
In Outlook I want to “Delete” a message, but I would like for it to be kept in my Google email Inbox indefinitely. I just want to get it out of my local Inbox, but have it available if I ever needed to search for everything in the future.
Here’s what you want to do in your IMAP configuration for your account in Outlook 2010
- Â Go to your “Account Settings” options for your IMAP account in Outlook
- Click on the “More Settings” option
- Navigate to the “Deleted Items” tab
- On the “Deleted Items” tab
- Select the radio button for “Mark items for deletion but do not move them automatically”
- Click “OK” to save your changes
- Navigate out of your Outlook “Account Settings” pages
What you’ve just done is told Outlook not to “move” your deleted messages anywhere, but mark them for deletion. Google Apps intercepts this command and removes the “Label” from the selected email, but keeps the message.
With the standard functionality of Google email, any item without a label is basically “Archived” in the “All Mail” grouping. So, it’s not deleted, but it also doesn’t show up in the folders that are created in Outlook to mirror the organizational structure created by the labels.
By default, the “All Mail” label is included in the items to sync with your IMAP settings, I however have turned this off so that all of those messages don’t have to get pulled into my local Outlook application. If I need to go searching through all of my email I’ll just view the webmail inbox instead and search from within Google controls.