Making Outlook 2007 work on Imap servers

Outlook 2007 has one big improvement above all others if your staff connect to an IMAP server, and that is built-in support for storing Sent messages on that server. This means your users have only one Sent folder that is the same for Outlook, and for any web mail system you may have, that can only access the server’s folder rather than Outlook’s own Sent Items folder on each desktop’s HDD.

One issue that you may need to be aware of is that some Imap servers are configured to place additional folders (other than Inbox) (including Sent) inside the Inbox folder. This means that you need to configure Outlook to recognise that. We are using Courier Imap on Linux and that is how it is set up.

The Imap specific settings are stored in the Account settings for each account as follows (assuming your Sent messages folder is called Sent)

  1. Click Tools
  2. Click Account Settings
  3. Select the account you want to change and press Change
  4. Click More Settings…
  5. To change the folders path, click on the Advanced tab
  6. Under Root folders path fill in Inbox or whatever applies to your setup.
  7. Click on OK
  8. If you get a message about needing to refresh the folders list, let Outlook do its thing
  9. You may then need to requery and subscribe to the Imap folders. To do this, open the folder tree for your Imap account, select the Inbox folder, then go to the Tools menu and click Imap Folders. Make sure you are subscribed to all the folders you need (ideally all of them) including the Sent folder that you need to access.
  10. Open up that dialog again (steps 1 to 4)
  11. To select the Sent folder, click on the Folders tab. Select the item Choose an existing folder… and browse in the folder tree to the Sent folder. 
  12. Click OK.
  13. To move the messages from the local folder (Sent Items in Personal Folders) to the server, go to the Sent Items folder in Personal Folders. Select a message in this folder and then press Ctrl+A to select all messages. Right click and choose Move to Folder, then browse to the Sent folder in your Imap folder tree and click OK.

Note: Windows Live Mail also includes Imap support to the same level. However it is not yet stable enough to deploy to end users. You should use Outlook Express 6 instead which is very stable with few problems on Imap systems.