A user in the Microsoft Community forums was having a problem setting flags and reminders in his IMAP account after upgrading to Outlook 2013:
With my IMAP account I do not get the full flag follow-up options (tomorrow, next week, etc.). I know that in Outlook 2010 the work-around is a custom quick-step that saves email as task with text. But this work-around does not work for Outlook 2013. Am I missing something?
It doesn't work because data files associated with IMAP accounts don't support flags and reminders and Outlook 2013 uses the IMAP data file for the special Outlook folders (calendar, contacts, tasks).
This was not a problem in previous versions of Outlook because a pst file was required with IMAP accounts, to store the calendar, contacts, and tasks folders. Outlook 2013 changed how IMAP accounts are handled - they now use an .ost file (Offline store). The .ost supports the special Outlook folders and Outlook 2013 does not require a local pst file.
This change is good for people who didn't like having two sets of folders for one email account but it's bad for other reasons. Users risk losing their calendar, contacts, and tasks if they delete the IMAP account. The .ost file is used by the account that created it and the contacts can't be recovered. The special folders need to be exported BEFORE removing an IMAP account from a profile.
It's also bad for people who create tasks from email and set a reminder or follow-up flag. Tasks in the .ost have the same limitation as email - no reminders or different flag options.
The solution: add a local pst file to the profile and use it for tasks. (I'd also use it for calendar and contacts, so you don't risk losing them.)
Add a new pst and set it as default
- Go to File, Account Settings, Data Files.
- Click Add.
- Type in a name for the pst file and click OK.
- Select the new pst and click the Set as default button.
- Return to Outlook.
- Close and re-open Outlook.
When Outlook re-opens, it will create the special folders in the now-default .pst file.
If you have the .pst file Outlook used with your IMAP account in an older version of Outlook, you can add it to the profile and set it as the default data file. In Step 3 above, select the old pst file. After you set it as default you won't need to close and re-open Outlook.
Create the Quick Step that creates tasks from the email. Because the new data file is set as default, the quick step should use it by default.
Video Tutorial: Add a .pst file to your profile
Outlook Categories, Flags, and IMAP Accounts Includes workarounds for adding categories to items in IMAP folders.