I'm using Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 against an IMAP server (the problem exists across many, like Gmail, you name it). Outlook lets you set your Outlook "Sent" folder to map to the IMAP server's Sent folder (the other choice is to map your Outlook Sent to your Personal Folders Sent) - this is good. When you send a message from Outlook and then look in the sent folder of the IMAP server (e.g. from a different client or from a browser), the messages are there. This is the behavior I want.

Outlook does NOT support the same behavior for Drafts and Trash. In both cases, items deleted (or Drafts saved) in Outlook go in to Outlook's local folders and do NOT show on the IMAP server's Trash or Drafts folders. Same problem in reverse.

Thunderbird on the other hand does support the proper mapping of Drafts, Sent and Trash.

I expected this to be IMAP-specific but it appears to be client specific.

What does Outlook implement it this way and is there a workaround?

  • Outlook has terrible IMAP support, even OE has better. It was really intended just as an Exchange client.
    – kinokijuf
    Jan 29, 2013 at 7:20

4 Answers 4


Slight correction, you can change the Trash/Deleted folder as well, indicated by the screenshot below. The only folders you can't remap is the Drafts and Junk Mail folders.

alt text

As for the rest of the question:


There is no workaround. I have found this frustrating myself and the same behavior exists in Office 2011 for the Mac. There was a workaround for 2003 but it fails in 2007 and higher.

As for why, any reasons except an official response from Microsoft would be purely speculative. I am guessing it is due to the way office rules are linked to the folder locations.

  • How do you remap the Trash folder? I don't see the option. Also I read some Microsoft kb note with a bogus explanation about "the operation would be inefficient to do in IMAP...".
    – Matthew
    Oct 26, 2010 at 18:28
  • @Matt. It's a Tab in the IMAP Setup right next to tab to change Sent Messages. Have a look at this which has a screenshot of the tab. Oct 26, 2010 at 18:31
  • 3
    It seems like this setting is available in Outlook 2010 but not 2007. The dialog box is different and doesn't have a Deleted Ites tag. Do you see it in 2007?
    – Matthew
    Oct 26, 2010 at 19:44
  • @Matt I don't have 2007 to test with but can remember it being there because I had my accounts set up the same before and after upgrading. Oct 26, 2010 at 21:24

A possible work around would be to impliment a rule or macro to copy the contents of your outlook data file draft folder to the imap draft folder.

Having said this, I cannot find a rule that acts on messages within a folder. Does anyone know how to do this?

(PS I would really prefer to have enterred this as a comment, not an answer, but I don't have enough points for this. It would be great to get bumped up a little. Thanks.)


Outlook 2010 definitely allows designation of Sent & Deleted Items folders to alternate IMAP locations:

  • Account Settings;
  • Email;
  • Change Account;
  • More Settings;
  • Deleted Items.
  • 1
    Crud... missing Drafts re-mapping though. Jul 13, 2011 at 22:25
  • Found a paid solution for 20 euro. Sucks. OutlookDraftAddIn Jul 13, 2011 at 22:47
  • Thunderbird is much more advanced than Outlook 2010 regarding IMAP mapping. You can get it work perfectly with deleted emails, but also with drafts and spam... Microsoft still has a long way to go (that would take a few days for an intern). Now, on the other side I wish Thunderbird had a non buggy WYSIWYG email editor...
    – Erwin
    Oct 5, 2011 at 18:47

For an existing AOL account using IMAP in Microsoft Outlook 2007:

  1. Outlook 2007 Main toolbar:
  2. Tools
  3. "Options"

  4. select "Mail Setup" tab

  5. click on "E-mail Accounts..."

  6. select (click once) on your AOL IMAP/SMTP account beneath "Name"

  7. click on "Change"

  8. "Change E-mail Account" Window (Internet E-mail Settings)

  9. Click on "More Settings" button

  10. "Internet E-mail Settings" Window

  11. In the "General" tab, check the "Purge Options"

  12. You may also wish to select the "Folders" tab and check "Choose an existing..." and select the "Sent" folder under your AOL root; this way you can distinguish which e-mails were sent from AOL vice another account under Outlook 2007's "Personal Folders" root.

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