Outlook: Expand IMAP Folders

If you use Outlook 2007 with IMAP and Exchange, you have probably noticed that every time you restart Outlook you have to re-expand your IMAP folders to see whether you have any new messages in your IMAP inboxes. When you’re used to Exchange and push mail, this can lead to a frustrating problem because I constantly forget to look at things in Outlook that aren’t bold. I’ve left unread messages in my IMAP folders for over a day because of this!

I can’t yet find a way to make the IMAP folders auto-expand when you start Outlook the same way the Exchange inbox does – that would be the holy grail – but there is a quick workaround that solves my needs and maybe yours.

Go to the IMAP inbox by expanding the IMAP account name, and right-click on the inbox for that IMAP account:

Then select “Add to Favorite Folders” from the popup menu. This will add the inbox to your “Favorite Folders” at the top of the Outlook folder pane; it will be called something like “Inbox in”. When that favorite folder is bold, you’ve got mail in your IMAP inbox!