Configuring special IMAP folders in Outlook 2013

Last reviewed on October 24, 2013   —  9 comments

Outlook 2013 uses the XLIST or LIST-ENHANCED command to get the Sent, Deleted, and Junk mail folder names from the IMAP server. Although you can no longer change the folders in Outlook, many IMAP servers let you select the folder to use. You'll need to log into your account's web interface to make the change.

This screenshot is from RoundCube but other popular Linux IMAP servers are similar. Check the Settings for a Special Folder option.

Select the folders you want to use for the special folders and Outlook will use them.

IMAP folders setting in RoundCube

GMail accounts

GMail does not let you set the special folders. In my experience, Outlook will use the Gmail folders.

You should change how Outlook handles sent items in More Settings, Advanced. Gmail will save a copy of the sent item automatically, so you should select the option for Do not save a copy of sent items for this account. (More Settings is at File, Account Settings, then double click on Gmail account).

Gmail lets you control what happens when you delete an item in an IMAP client. Look in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP options.

GMail IMAP configuration

GoDaddy IMAP accounts

GoDaddy does not have an option to set the special folders. Outlook 2013 should use the correct folders.

Accessing Exchange server using IMAP

Exchange accounts accessed using the IMAP protocol should use the correct folders. If your Outlook folders are using non-English names, try this.

  1. Unsubscribe all IMAP Folders. You may have to do this using Telnet, because Outlook won't unsubscribe the special folders.
  2. Login to Outlook Web Access. Open Options and switch OWA to English. Let it rename the default folders, then switch back to your language without renaming the folders.
  3. Delete the Outlook Profile using Control Panel, Mail.
  4. Restart Outlook and create a new Profile. The Special Folders will not be recognized.
  5. Subscribe to the (English) special folders.
  6. Delete the Outlook Profile again
  7. Create a new Profile.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

9 responses to “Configuring special IMAP folders in Outlook 2013”

  1. anon

    Hi - any idea how to change the special folder settings in Zimbra? Outlook 2013 does not recognise Zimbra's Address Book as Outlook Contacts... Thank you

  2. Yogi

    Have you found a way to change the special folders on a Yahoo Mail account? When I added the account as IMAP, Outlook 2013 found the correct Inbox, Draft, Sent, and Trash folders. However, Outlook created a new "Junk E-mail" folder separate from the "Bulk Mail" folder that Yahoo Mail uses for spam.

    1. anton

      I have the same problem on my iphone. when I choose move to jubk it moves them to a folder called junk not the bulk mail folder. not sure when this new folder was created, and while I can choose what folders to sync for inbox, deleted, etc, name of span folder is not an option. I once saw someone saying yahoo mail web interface had settings for this, but I have yet to find it. anyone can help please?

  3. Dee inkersole

    i use Outlook and recently my emails changed from POP to IMAP. My problem is that I can't get rid of deleted emails from my Inbox. They appear with a line through them but I changed a setting and they disappear from view but they still exist. I would like them to be transferred to a 'Deleted Items' folder automatically when I delete them; I can then permanently delete the contents of this folder from time to time (so that if I do delete an email in error, I can probably still recover it).

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