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I'm an Outlook novice, using Win 10, and Outlook with Gmail:

  • One IMAP account with POP disabled and Auto-Expunge enabled
  • One filter that came with Outlook: Clear categories on mail

Outlook shows two inboxes, Outlook's default Personal folders and one that's the name of the Gmail account:

  • Which Outlook inbox should get new Gmail messages?
  • Without using a filter, is there a setting to direct Outlook to use the inbox I choose?
    If I use a filter, what's the best way to design it?
  • Is it normal for sent messages to appear in both Personal Sent and Gmail Sent folders?


Outlook's mailbox structure

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  • This used to be handled by a Google Outlook Connector plugin but Google discounted that many many moons ago. It basically made Outlook understand Google tags. What you experienced isn't totally unexpected (google tags are not folders)
    – Ramhound
    Apr 8, 2021 at 21:20
  • Are you using Outlook with a second email account or just a Gmail? The Outlook .pst database file is only for exchange addresses that are non-webmail addresses (webmail providers such as: outlook.com| hotmail.com|gmail.com|etc. and webmail accounts can only use .ost database files - .pst databases can be out of sync with their server, .ost databases cannot and mirror their server). (1) Gmail:Inbox will receive Gmail emails (2) You cannot use the Outlook:Inbox for receiving/sending webmail emails; (3) Sounds like an Outlook mail rule has been configured to copy sent mail
    – JW0914
    Apr 8, 2021 at 21:50
  • Using with one Gmail account. But you answered one of the questions: I can't use Outlook Inbox for receiving Gmail messages -- unless I filter them into that specific outlook folder.
    – Steve B
    Apr 8, 2021 at 21:52
  • The distinction is not made by "webmail". The difference is in whether you're using POP vs IMAP (or Exchange sync) – Outlook will happily fetch messages via POP into a .pst file from any account that offers POP access, including Gmail.
    – user1686
    Apr 8, 2021 at 21:55
  • Using IMAP so can have access on phone, tablet, and notebook.
    – Steve B
    Apr 8, 2021 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

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Question: Which Outlook inbox should get new Gmail messages?

Messages received by an IMAP account should always show up under that account's dedicated inbox.

Question: Without using a filter, is there a setting to direct Outlook to use the inbox I choose?

No, because it's not Outlook which stores messages in that inbox. As you're using an IMAP account, Outlook only gives you a direct view into the folders and messages that exist in Gmail – it doesn't actually collect mail from there like a POP client would.

If you used a filter to move messages from Gmail's inbox to a local Outlook inbox, 1) they would actually be removed from Gmail's inbox, affecting the website as well, 2) you'd be basically reinventing POP clumsily. If an independent local copy of all messages is what you want, it might be more appropriate to just use Gmail through POP.

Question: Is it normal for sent messages to appear in both Personal Sent and Gmail Sent folders?

Yes, the first copy in "Personal" is stored by Outlook before sending, while the second copy is stored by Gmail itself when the message is actually being sent.

This is specific to Gmail – as far as I know, most other mail servers do not automatically store sent messages this way, relying entirely on the client (e.g. Outlook) to do so. Which is why Outlook does it by default.

You can disable the former (in Outlook's account settings) but not the latter.

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  • 2nd & 3rd sections' wording is factually inaccurate: [2nd] Outlook stores all mail from accounts it's configured with within %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Outlook ; Exchange-based accounts receive a *.pst database, webmail accounts receive an *.ost database (.pst databases can be out of sync with their server, .ost databases cannot & mirror their server). A mail rule can be set to copy mail from a .ost-based account to the Outlook .pst data file. [3rd]: .ost-based account sent mail does not go through the Outlook .pst database - it would have to be copied there via a mail rule
    – JW0914
    Apr 8, 2021 at 22:04
  • Good advice: I'll let Gmail messages land in its own inbox. I'll disable the Send copy in Settings.
    – Steve B
    Apr 8, 2021 at 22:05
  • Agree. Also for myself, in order to avoid any confusion caused by duplicate folders, I usually work with gmail in Outlook and set the "Root folder path" to [Gmail], so that the folder list could be more clear.
    – Jade
    Apr 9, 2021 at 8:39
  • @user1686 Once the factually inaccurate information mentioned above is addressed, I'll change my downvote to an upvote
    – JW0914
    Apr 9, 2021 at 12:16
  • @SteveB,if you don't have any questions aboout it, it's recommended to mark the helpful post.
    – Jade
    Apr 16, 2021 at 8:42

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