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Outlook 2010: Gmail IMAP Support

Many people are looking forward to Outlook 2010, but few are reluctant to give it a try. The reason keeping them back is IMAP support for Gmail and other web services. In Outlook 2007 if you try setting up Gmail IMAP, you will find it to be clunky, slow, or in other words useless.

For those who don’t know IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. It is far better than POP since it allows users to download all their emails as if they are residing locally. In other words, unlike POP, IMAP is a two way communication. If you move your email to a folder titled ‘Work’ in Outlook 2010, you will it find the email in Work folder when you login directly to Gmail via a web browser.

Microsoft has made it dead-simple to add a new account in Outlook 2010 and when you add a Gmail account, Windows Live account, or any other account, IMAP is automatically configured.

Note: IMAP must be enabled from inside Gmail, Windows Live, or any other web service otherwise it won’t work. Update: As one commenter points out below, Windows Live Mail doesn’t support IMAP.

outlook 2010 imap

So how is IMAP in Outlook 2010? After using it for a day, moving and organizing my Gmail emails, I have to say that it works seamlessly without any problems. If you are one of those users who ditched Outlook 2007 due to lack of IMAP support, Outlook 2010 will steal you back.

Update: Learn how to enable IMAP email notification alerts in Outlook 2010, here.

Update 2: If you checked My Outgoing Server (SMTP) requires authentication under Outgoing Server tab in Internet Email Settings dialog window, can you please go to Advanced tab and make sure the following are set:

  • Incoming Server: 993
  • Outgoing Server: 587

Also make sure the Incoming server encryption is set to SSL and the Outgoing server encryption is set to TLS (you will have to do this first and then change the port number given above, otherwise it will default back to 25).


  1. My Outlook 2010 successfuly imports all my gmail folders except for ‘Sent’.
    In the place where I would expect to find it,  it lists a folder called [Gmail], which on clicking displays the message: “Cannot display the folder. The folder “Gmail” cannot contain items. This is most likely a limitation of your IMAP server” (whatever that is).

    Can anyone help?

  2. i set up my gmail in outlook 2010 without problem, tested/confirmed…BUT it won’t populate outlook with my emails..???

    • This is the exact same problem I have. The test works fine. I’ve tried the easy setup and the manual configuration. Everything is good, and test email is sent… but nothing in Outlook. All the folders are empty. Windows Live Mail is working fine with gmail account, so I’m going to stick with that. Not as nice as Outlook, but good enough.

  3. How do I get my address book to import automatically
    also, and stay in sync with WEB?
    I also use an Android mobile device, and everything is perfect with that.

  4. That’s stimulating conversation for those of you who are so tech savvy, but for someone who’s done all the set up according to this great advice and has received that message that everythings been done successfully but the the email sitl doesn’t show up in the Outlook 2010, what does one do next?

  5. outlook 2010 was terrible on imap. i receive new mails from gmail that i can see in web browser, but many minutes must pass and i dont receive this messages to outlook. sometimes messages received quickly as they appear in subscribed folders, sometimes not. my auto sent receive interval setting 5 mins. i cant trust outlook 2010 in general. i always must have open web browser to check – it is really no new mail or it is once again terrible outlook 2010 funcionality..

  6. I went back to setting up my Gmail in Outlook 2010 via Gmail’s POP server. I don’t like IMAP at all. I would lose messages left and right. If I read a message from my Android’s Gmail, but left it in the Inbox, when I logged into Outlook it wouldn’t be in the Inbox. Then I’d have to check the ALL MAIL folder. Too complicated.

  7. My greatest niggle with Gmail is it’s inability to follow a delete on server rule unlike pop3. All that happens is the delete on server rule moves the email to the trash folder. The irony is the trash folder is emptied when i close outlook which shows the delete on server rule should be able to do its job

  8. I’ve been using Outlook 2010 beta for about a week and the gmail IMAP seems to be almost useless as it takes forever to update headers in folders with lots of e-mails. also, the protocol used by Windows Live is not IMAP, its called deltasync

  9. i can,t send email &when write password came message your password
    is wrong and write correct password

  10. Hi All,
    I have configured all my gmail apps. accounts in Outlook 2010, It downloadig very well but still keep on sync with folder and many times it shows that there is internal error. and also it takes long time to send any email. if i send about 2-3 MB then just i have to wait for the same to go.
    Please can any body help me?

  11. I am runnig 2010 on about 10 pc’s. some have serious issues and some are running quite okay.
    on one pc there are big problems. with every send/receive there are errors. and with a user that aint too computer literate it’s a big problem. One thing i have seen that has helped is unsubscribing some of th IMAP folders. Only the main folder are needed.
    Hopefully Microsoft will fix more problems with the next update or something. can only hope, because i prefer outlook 2010, especially with Blackberry to sync and manage contacts.

  12. I have the same issues as those above. I have no idea where this article is coming from, unless they have no emails to download 😛 IMAP has crashed my Outlook 2010 consistently since switching to it from POP. I prefer IMAP….Bleh!

  13. I’ve tried IMAP account on Office07 and Office10.
    both times i have serious problem with send/receive…
    it tries to sync forever…
    I currently setup Gmail IMAP on Office10 and would really like to use Office so I can easily organize folders but only way to fix send/receive problem is to restart Outlook.

  14. For me it works fine only one thing is bad…why my incoming mail go to “all mail” folder and not in “Incoming mail” folder and all new mail is marked as read

  15. Hello. I have a problem with imap and outlook 2010.

    My incoming mails show a header from the sender as normal but in some of the mails the mail body is from a different sender? Therfor I’m missing the original mailbody and the header from the wrongly placed mailbody. If I synch my phone or other devices there is no problem. And the webmail is ok as well so i figure it must be an Outlook 2010 problem? I have deleted my outlook account and made a new one but the problem persists. Please help…

    • @Menno

      I have a user who’s seeing the same thing – header / body mismatch in Outlook 2010. This is not for Gmail, and it’s not IMAP. It’s POP3 with a totally different provider. I haven’t been able to find a cause or solution, but thought you should know that it looks to be an Outlook 2010 problem, not a provider problem.

    • Just been having this same issue in Outlook 2010. I found a cludgy fix, at least for Gmail. I create a new folder (label in Gmail Speak) called temp.  From the Web interface move the emails to temp. I thien resynch outlook.  From the web interface move them back to inbox and remove the temp labels.  Resynch outlook.  All fixed.  I guess this is just forcing outlook to reretrieve them.  Anyway it worked for me.

  16. Outlook 2010 was working fine, I added a gmail account. Now outlook won’t open without hanging indefinately. This is on a brand new PC.

    Outlook 2010 support for gmail? In my experience, USELESS.

    Back to Mozilla Thunderbird – not perfect, but FAR better than Outlook 2010.

    • FYI, I’ve been using Outlook 2010 with Gmail for a few months w/no problems. However the past couple of days it’s been hanging forever. I dont’ know if it’s a ms update or gmail issue. I see the preview for new mail, but when i click on it, everything hangs.

    • Same thing here, I’ve tried Outlook 32 and 64 in a Windows 7 64 and it hangs apparently randomly every few minutes, even if I don’t do anything with it. I’ve disabled BCM and set to only read headers from the inbox directory from the IMAP settings, and still hangs up. Any idea or fix?

  17. I’ve been using Outlook 2010 beta for about a week and the gMail IMAP seems to be almost useless as it takes forever to update headers in folders with lots of e-mails (and often it just hangs or says it failed to update headers).

  18. Not a chance. I've upgraded from 2007 and the performance is significantly worse. I've been using the deltasync connector software update, the imap connection, and rss feeds. I'd gladly roll back to 2007 if it were a possibility. Unfortunately, not so easy to do. It seems that the imap is what is really locking up the UI on a regular basis too. Hope everyone else has better luck.

  19. I too would love to hear an update on this post since you wrote it. I have used OUtlook with IMap to Google Apps gMail since Office 2005. Office 2007 was a real improvement and SP 2 helped a bit more. I still feel its a bit clunky. My chief concern is that Outlook 2007 SP2 doesn't keep content synced in real-time. If I move emails from the inbox to an Outlook folder, the whole email doesn't move/download from gMail until I try to access that email (or its attachements) at a later time. I then have to wait for the download. I'm wondering if that is fixed in Office 2010.

    The other, obvious, problem is the whole Label vs. Folder debate. I much prefer folders but am living with the Label equivalents in Google Apps gmail. Problem is they are functionally useless to me in google because I have literally thousands of nested sub-folders supporting my client base. Folders are still useful to me in Outlook 2007 but the Labels in Gmail are useless and impossible to navigate through when there are so many.

    Thanks for any update you might be able to give.


  20. I see some problems with your article. First, the performance of IMAP on 2010 is only marginally better than that on 2007 SP2. Second, the protocol used by Windows Live is not IMAP, its called deltasync. And it is achieved by using the Outlook connector. In case you dont want to use the connector, then you have POP3 as the only choice.

    • For me IMAP is working fine. I am able to move mails to various folders and perform other operations without any problem. And yes, there are some times when Outlook 2010 would hang up but this occurs very rarely when compared with Outlook 2007.

    • Nakodari, I agree with you completely. The added functionality of Outlook 2010 over the Thunderbird client I was using is shocking. The conversation features make me wonder how I ever kept my emails organized before.

      I was also shocked at how easy setting up gmail imap was. Like you said, it just did it! No changing tls settings and port mapping anymore.

      But, I wanted to ask you now that you've been using it for a month or so, are you having trouble with Outlook 2010 saving all sent messages to the sent folder?

      Every once in a awhile, it will not save a sent message to the sent folder. But when I log in to Gmail, it's right there in the sent folder. Obviously this creates problems if you have to log in to your actual account to see if your message sent or not. I can't re-create the problem reliably, it seems quite random.

      Sometimes it saves it, sometimes it doesn't. But the message is always sent to the recipient regardless. Any ideas?

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