I’ve recently started using Outlook 2010 to handle my various email accounts, and so far I’ve found it to be an improvement on Mozilla Thunderbird in terms of resource usage. However, there were a few things that I needed to change to make using Outlook easier for me.

First of all, Outlook would crash whenever it tried to synchronise with my Gmail account via IMAP. Despite setting it to only synchronise my Inbox, it would still take a long time and would usually fail before completion. To fix this, I’ve changed it so that Outlook only downloads headers. This has made things much quicker. To do this, first of all go to the ‘Send/Receive’ tab, select ‘Send/Receive Groups’ and then ‘Define Send/Receive Groups’:

Headers Only - step 1Then, on the next window choose ‘Edit’:

HeadersOnly - pic2Finally, select the account to change on the left, then under ‘Receive mail items’ choose the option that you’d like.

HeadersOnly - pic3The next step for me was to change the setting that deals with viewing emails in the Reading pane. My preference is for the email to be marked as read once it’s highlighted and is being viewed in the Reading pane. To do this, first of all choose the ‘File’ tab, then select ‘Options’:

PreviewPane - pic1Next, choose ‘Mail’ from the list on the left, and click on ‘Reading Pane’ under ‘Outlook panes’:

PreviewPane - pic2Finally, click the box to select ‘Mark items as read when viewed in the Reading Pane’ and choose a custom time if desired.

PreviewPane - pic3The last step (for now) was to change the view so that conversations were threaded, as they are in the Gmail web client. To do this, simply select the ‘View’ tab, then tick the box next to ‘Show as Conversations’. This will then show emails in threads if they are related.

Threaded conversations settingOne more thing I’d like to have in Outlook is the option to archive an email, but it doesn’t seem to be possible without using customised scripts to replicate the feature.

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