Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tweaking Outlook to work With GMail

I have not yet managed to give up on email clients. I know that the "new generation" has long ago switched and is using a web client to manage mail, but I still like the use experience that outlook gives me (along with its calendar).

The trouble is that working on multiple machine require some tweaking to make it comfortable.

Downloading emails to multiple machines

The trouble starts fro using the pop3 protocol. in general that protocol is aimed for a single machine use and when you download email to a given client, even if the messages are left on the server they are not downloaded to another machine. One possibility is setting up GMail to use IMAP but I personally don't like this kind of setup.

luckily there's a way to work around this:

Using POP on multiple clients or mobile devices

the trick is to change the user account name to start with "recent:" and to leave the messages on the server. in this mode the client downloads all new messages received in the last 30 days regardless if they have been downloaded on a different machine

Warning. when first setting this up, outlook will download AGAIN all messages from last 30 days.

However there is an annoying side effect to this, after i set this up outlook has started to download to the inbox all outgoing email as well.

Setting a rule to delete Sent mail

A simple rule should have solved this side effect. however outlook rules doesn't really support complex logic. My first attempt to define a rule to help me was:

"delete all incoming mails sent by me and not addressed to me" (yes I have the annoying habit of sending mails to myself of things I like to remember). but outlook does not support the "not" operation.

after several attempts at combining rules I did manage to define the rule i needed:

from <me> move to <trash> except where my name is on the to box or my name is in the cc box

So there you have it in order to use GMail pop3 access on multiple machine one needs to:

  1. Add "recent:" to the user account name
  2. Setup a rule to delete all sent mails


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