Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Organizing Email - Outlook 2010 or later and IMAP

Why I switched to IMAP vs POP type email account
I didn’t know what that meant until very recently.  I still don’t fully know and don’t care to 'know', just now that I am using it I wish I had known to switch sooner.

As a miniaturist, I am on several email groups that discuss miniatures.  These groups are found on YahooGroups.  Some of these groups are very active sending 10-100 of emails per day and it is easy for them to overwhelm one's inbox.  Until this week my solution has been Outlook Rules and Folders.  I even searched for a mail app for my phone that worked with this.  So let me first talk about how each of these work.
For several versions of Outlook the program has had rules and folders. 
Rules allow one to say something like this - when xx person sends me an email, move it to the xx folder.  Rules can do far more than that, but that is basically what I was doing.  So for example, I get emails from LittleEnoughNews yahoogroup and I them go straight to a folder titled: LEN.
Folders are similar to what the computer has.  One can have folders, sub-folders, etc.

MailDroid - Android App
When I started using my smartphone for more and more things including reading emails, I searched for an app that could do something like what Outlook was doing. MailDroid was it.  I am not saying that there isn't any others out there, just that of all the ones I tried this is the one that worked for me.
MailDroid allows me to have the folders and rules that I was accustomed to with Outlook. This worked for me except for when my phone received the email and then I also downloaded in Outlook on my computer. This was a minor problem, that I dealt with my deleting in a particular folder after downloading to computer. So I was syncing those folders manually.  Note that I am using my ISP for my email provider so I could go on there as well but rarely did.

Very recently, my son gave me his old laptop (not very old as it was just bought early last year.)  I had been using Office 2010 on my netbook but knew I had available a deal I could purchase Office 2013 so I upgraded.

Outlook 2013
Switching to Outlook 2013 was not in any way difficult.  It is very similar to 2010.  But there is one difference and that is that 2013 requires that email use IMAP versus POP.  I am not going to explain that other than to say it is just a different format and I believe security protocol. My email provider comcast allows use of either pop or imap.  What I have learned though is that I love using imap format.
IMAP allows one to subscribe to folders at the provider level and also it allows one to be synced easily across multiple devices.  This is a huge improvement for me resolving that one minor problem I had.

Setting up Outlook 2013, I had to load the accts new.  Although one mistake I made because I wanted to retain my old info (emails) was to set the accts up first and then copy over my old data.  I should have done the data copying over first.  But I resolved that by deleting the accts and copying the data, then adding the accts.  Outlook 2013 also does give an easy way to import that data.  I won't cover that here as you can google importing Outlook data into 2013.
Outlook 2013 requires IMAP so I had no choice.  Not that I cared really.  But now I know the advantage, well I am glad I had to.  

One change I did because of the syncing that occurs across all devices is to switch from using rules in Outlook or in Maildroid to using them at the email provider level - Comcast.
Comcast calls them filters.  These filters allow one to do the same as rules - move emails from a person or group or with subject line or topic to a folder I specify, for example.
Then in Outlook and in MailDroid, I just had to choose which folders I was subscribing to. IMAP is working automatically to keep the folders up to date with either deletes or new emails.
Another benefit is that now I can see sent email across all my devices.  Before I was just seeing what I sent from that device.  I didn't like the cumbersome way of cc myself which is one work around.
I can also see mail I have stored in other folders that I couldn't see before.  All the mail I have saved over several years on my netbook that imported to the new laptop I can now see on Comcast server and on my phone if I allow it to retrieve them.  My phone is set to retrieve more recent items to save space.
Yesterday's post about delete it or move is very applicable to this idea of syncing across multiple devices.  Much easier to manage if not wading through a bunch of already read emails.

One note about MailDroid - in order to switch to IMAP, I did have to delete the accounts and then reconnect (add) and set up manually.  However my ISP email provider does have a how to page with the info needed so it was very easy to do this.
I didn't have to save anything as when I added the accts back, the history of sent mail for example was still there. This may or may not be true in another program.  I just happen to have saved my data (exported data) from Outlook 2010 so I didn't notice when I started in 2013. Granted this switch was on a different device, so unlikely to have the old data available unless I had done the export and then import.  That is unless I had switched to IMAP while still on 2010.

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