This tutorial will show how to sync your Sent mail so that emails sent on one device reflect in the Sent items of any other devices using that same email account.

Introduction

Managing your sent mails can be much easier if you synchronize them into one folder. To do this:

  1. Set up IMAP for mail on your server.
  2. Ensure that you have a Sent folder on the server:
    • Check in Webmail if a Sent items folder exists.
      • If not, click on the settings/cog icon, select Folders, then tick Sent to subscribe.
      • If there is no Sent folder, then send a quick test email from Webmail. This will generate a Sent items folder which Outlook and Mac mail etc. can reference.
  3. Configure the mail applications to recognize the Sent folder so that all your sent mails are directed to that folder.

Usually, the configuration happens automatically when you set up your email address in the mail programme, creating a folder labelled Sent Messages. In some cases, however, the email sync programme may default to saving the sent mails locally on your computer instead of saving them on the server. In these cases, you’ll have to set up the folder manually in order to sync the sent mails.  The main advantage of synchronizing your emails on the server is that it allows you to access the mails on any device.

Manual set up should be a final resort and should be done if the auto sync fails.

  • Outlook 2007 and 2010 have account settings that will let you choose whether or not to save sent mail in a folder called Sent Mail
  • Outlook 2013 automatically saves your sent mails in the Sent Items file
  • For Gmail users, there’s a Gmail IMAP that automatically saves the sent mails to Sent file.

When the server tries to determine the folder and fails, here are a few guidelines to help you sync the sent mails manually in Outlook.

Subscribe to a Folder in Outlook

  1. Open the Outlook email client
  2. Right click on the Inbox folder (if you’re using Outlook 2007, right click on the mail account)
  3. Select IMAP Folders
  4. Untick the box that says ‘when displaying hierarchy in outlook, show only subscribed folders‘ so that all folders are visible, not only the subscribed ones
  5. Click on query
  6. Select the folders that you are not subscribed to
  7. Click Subscribe (one by one)
  8. Click OK to close the dialogue boxes.

Subscribe to an Outlook Folder on an Apple Device

You can sync your IMAP email account settings from an Apple device; an iPhone, an iPod or a Mac device. Unlike the case with other devices, you must define the IMAP path prefix when using an Apple device. 

To set the IMAP path prefix:

  1. Click on Settings (mobile) or System preferences (desktop)
  2. Click on Mail (mobile) or Internet Accounts (desktop)
  3. Select the relevant Account
  4. Click Advanced
  5. Click IMAP (if applicable)
  6. Set the Path prefix by typing INBOX
  7. Save and your folder will appear.

Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 may not find the correct folder to save the sent mails. When this happens, it will automatically create a folder called Sent (this computer only) – but this folder won’t sync the sent mails with the server.

Root Your Mailbox

There are times when your Outlook may not recognize your folders due to some errors. When your mailbox is rooted, the IMAP set up will be based on a root structure and Outlook will recognize all the correct folders. Rooting will make Outlook ignore the pre-existing Sent Items and Deleted Items folders and let you use local folders in their place.  It will then use the Root folder path to recognize the local folders as the correct folders.

  1. Go to File and click Account Settings
  2. Open your IMAP account.
  3. Click on More Options (If you’re using Office 365, double click the email account to change root folder path)
  4. Open the Advanced tab
  5. Under options, select Root folder path
  6. Type the word INBOX in the text box on the right side of the Root folder path
  7. Select OK to close the dialogue boxes

If your new folders don’t appear amongst the folders in the IMAP dialogue box, make sure you update the folders list then refresh the mail server or the browser you are using. To update the folders:

  1. Open the mail client
  2. Right click on the first folder on your IMAP account
  3. Click on Update Folder List

How to Determine the Root Folder Path

To determine the root folder path for your mailbox root:

  1. Right click on the IMAP mailbox
  2. Select IMAP Folders
  3. A dialogue box will appear; click on the Query button
  4. The root name is the common name before the dot

Outlook 2010

When assigning a folder to the Sent Items in Outlook 2010 follow these steps;

  1. Open IMAP by clicking on File, Account Settings and then double click on the IMAP account.
  2. Click on More Settings
  3. Select Sent Items
  4. Enable “Save sent items in the following folder on the server”.
  5. Choose your preferred folder

Performance Note

As the Sent folder size increases, your mail application will become slower to access, especially on iPhones and other mobile devices. It is recommended that you create a Sent Archive folder on your local computer and/or a backup drive. Every year or so, move the year-old Sent items to the Sent Archive.

You are not going to need/ refer to these messages frequently since they’re more than a year old, but you will still be able to access them if required.

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