How to Set Up a POP3 or IMAP Account in Microsoft Outlook

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Microsoft Outlook can access any email account—not just Microsoft accounts—as long as you’ve got the right information. Here’s how to hook up your email account to Outlook, using either POP3 or IMAP.

What are POP3 and IMAP?

POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) and IMAP (Internet Messaging Access Protocol) are two of the most common protocols for accessing email. Every email client you’ve had on your computer in the last 25 years—Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, Eudora, Pegasus, or anything else—has supported them. And every email provider allows you to access your email account using POP3 or IMAP.

We’ve covered the difference between POP3 and IMAP in detail previously, but here’s a quick reminder.

The POP3 protocol downloads your email from the server to the client on your computer. It then deletes the email on the server, so the only copy of your emails is on your computer.

The IMAP protocol downloads a copy of your email from the server to the client on your computer. Any changes you make in your email client are synced with the server. So, if you delete a piece of mail on your computer, it deletes it on the email server, and vice versa.

IMAP is much more suited to a modern world where we access the same email account on multiple devices, such as your phone, laptop, and tablet. All the things you do with your email are synced if you use IMAP, so for example, if you send an email from your phone, you can look in the Sent Items folder using your tablet and the email you sent will be there. This is why we recommend you use IMAP unless you’ve got a good reason to use POP3.

How to Access Your Email Account Through Microsoft Outlook

To access your email account through Outlook, you’ll need three things:

  1. Microsoft Outlook installed on your computer.
  2. Your username and password for your email account.
  3. The POP3 or IMAP details for your provider, if you’re not using a well-known provider like Gmail. You should be able to find any required details in your provider’s Wiki or by contacting customer service.

The process is quite simple, and we’re going to use a Gmail account as an example. Outlook uses IMAP by default, so we’ll go with that first. Then, we’ll show you how to set up an account using POP3. Start by opening Outlook and going to File > Add Account

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How to Show an Outlook Calendar in Google Calendar

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Justin Duino

Having multiple calendars with different appointments on each one is a sure path to double bookings and an argument with someone you’ve annoyed. Get more organized and more reliable by subscribing to your Outlook Calendar in Google Calendars.

To do this, you’ll need Outlook and a Google Calendar (which is fairly obvious), but you won’t need any plug-ins, add-ins, extensions, or 3rd party tools.

RELATED: How to Show a Google Calendar in Outlook

Both Microsoft and Google support the iCal format, which is short for “iCalendar.” It’s an open standard for exchanging calendar and scheduling information between users and computers that has been around since the late 1990s. This means you can subscribe to iCals if you have the right link, which is the method we’ll use here.

Share an Outlook Calendar

Because we’re going to show an Outlook calendar in Google Calendar, we need to get the link from the Outlook calendar first. In previous iterations of Outlook, it was possible to publish your calendar from the Outlook client on your laptop, but since the introduction of Office 365, Microsoft only allows you to share a calendar with people outside of your organization by using the Outlook web app.

Log in to your Office 365 account and navigate to Outlook by clicking on the app launcher (the nine dots in the top left corner) and selecting the Outlook icon.

The O365 app launcher with Outlook highlighted.

Click on Settings > View all Outlook settings.

The Outlook "Quick settings" panel with "View all Outlook setings" highlighted.

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How to Quickly Turn Emails Into Tasks

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If you’re using OHIO (Only Handle It Once) to triage your email, you probably want to turn some of your emails into tasks. Here’s how to do that quickly and efficiently so you can get on with handling your other emails.

Make It Quick and Easy

Your inbox is not a to-do list; it’s an inbox. It’s tempting to leave emails in your inbox because it’s easier, but then tasks you need to accomplish are buried in the incoming deluge of email.

Here’s why people run into trouble. The manual process for turning an email into a task often goes something like this:

  1. Open your preferred to-do list manager.
  2. Create a new task.
  3. Copy and paste the relevant parts of the email into the new task.
  4. Set the details, such as priority, due date, color code, and anything else you use.
  5. Save the new task.
  6. Archive or delete the email.

That’s six steps, just to add something to a to-do list. No wonder you end up with emails cluttering your inbox. What if you could cut those six steps down to four? Or three?

Well, you can! And we’re going to show you how.

RELATED: Forget Inbox Zero: Use OHIO to Triage Your Emails Instead

Some Email Clients Are Better for Task Creation Than Others

There are many clients available for managing your email and, as you might expect, some are better than others for creating tasks.

For web clients, Gmail does the job very well. The Tasks application is built-in, and it’s easy to turn a mail into a task. There’s even a keyboard shortcut to create a task straight from a mail—no mousing required. If you don’t want a desktop client, Gmail’s probably your best bet.

For Windows desktop clients, Outlook wins hands down. Thunderbird does have some built-in task management features, and they’re not bad, but Outlook is much slicker and allows you to connect to myriad third-party apps. If you can’t use Outlook for some reason, Thunderbird is a good alternative. If you already use a third-party to-do list manager, though, Thunderbird won’t cut the mustard.

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How To Enable Add-ins and Connectors in Outlook

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There are a lot of third-party add-ins and connectors available for Outlook. What’s the difference between add-ins and connectors, how do you use them, and are they safe to use? We’ve got the answers for you.

What are Add-ins and Connectors?

Add-ins and connectors are ways of connecting Outlook to 3rd-party applications. These applications include ones most people have heard of (even if you haven’t used them) like Dropbox, Trello, and Slack. There are additional add-ins and connectors that you’ll probably never hear of outside of corporate environments. These usually facilitate activities like expenses, CRM (customer relationship management), and video meetings.

The aim of all of them is the same, though: to allow you to interact in some way with another application from right within Outlook.

The difference between an add-in and a connector is about the direction of the integration. An add-in allows Outlook to send something to another application. A connector enables the other application to send something to Outlook.

For example, there is a Trello add-in and a Trello connector. The Trello add-in allows you to create or amend a Trello task straight from an email. The Trello connector will enable Trello to send notifications and reminders direct to Outlook.

There are two primary types of add-in: ones that use buttons and ones that highlight parts of the email.

The add-ins that use buttons put a button onto the ribbon that you can click when viewing an email. Clicking this button will activate the add-in functionality, such as sending the email to Trello to create a task, or posting the email contents into a Slack channel. At this point, the relevant content from the email is sent to the 3rd-party service.

When an add-in that highlights content is installed, it tells Outlook what kind of information it uses, such as location data for a map add-in. When you open an email, Outlook looks for that kind of information—an address, for example—and highlights it. When you click on the highlighted content, the relevant information (the address, in this case) is sent to the 3rd-party service so they can display it on a map for you.

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How to Mute a Pointless Email Conversation in Outlook

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Ever been copied into an irrelevant email thread that clutters up your inbox and causes alerts to come up for a conversation you couldn’t care less about? Here’s how to ignore that thread so that you never see it again.

RELATED: How to Change Outlook’s New Mail Alert Sound

Start by selecting any message from the thread. On the “Home” menu, click the “Ignore” button.

On the home menu, click the ignore button

You can also right-click the message and select “Ignore” from the context menu, or open the mail and click Message > Ignore. Whichever method you choose, Outlook will show you a confirmation window.

click the ignore conversation button

Click “Ignore Conversation” to move all of the mails in the conversation to the Deleted Items folder. Any future messages in the conversation will also be transferred straight to the Deleted Items folder, without triggering new message alerts

And if you’d rather not outright delete all emails from the conversation, but still don’t want to be bothered with them when they come in, you can do that, too. Just set up a rule that marks those messages as read and moves them from your inbox to some other folder as soon as they come in.