Outlook is the single most popular email client--by which we mean a standalone email program, rather than a browser-based email service like gmail. One key advantage of Outlook is the ability to configure it to send and receive multiple email accounts and different kinds of email (like webmail, POP, and IMAP) from one unified inbox.
To alleviate any potential confusion, Outlook is not one the same as Outlook.com, despite the similarity in names. Outlook.com, successor to Microsoft's Hotmail, is a free webmail service that you access from a web browser, not entirely unlike Gmail.
Ready to get started? There are two ways to set up email in Outlook: Automatic setup and manual setup. Here's the lowdown on each.
The Android and iOS versions of Outlook provide automatic setup for all of their supported email systems.
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In Outlook for Mac 2011, you can set up either an Exchange-based or Office 365 mail account automatically, simply by typing in your email address and password.
Using Outlook for Mac 2016, enter your email address and password to automatically add accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail Plus, Comcast and AOL.
You'll encounter more limitations, though, for automatic setup of email accounts in Outlook for Windows. To perform automatic setup of Internet email accounts in Outlook 2010 for Windows, click the Fix it button, click Run in the File Download dialog box, and then follow the steps in the Fix it wizard to automatically set up the account.
If you're using a free Internet mail account, you might receive the error message, "Your IMAP server wants to alert you to the following: full IMAP support is NOT enabled for this account." If so, then move on to setup process and select a POP3 account.
In Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016, automatic setup will not work for POP or IMAP accounts.
Here's how to find out whether automatic setup will work with other mail accounts. First, choose the File tab in Outlook 20113 or 2016. Select Account Information, and then Add Account.
On the Auto Account Setup page, type in your name, email address, and password, and then choose Next. Then choose Finish.
Generally speaking, if automatic setup doesn't work in Outlook 2013 or 2016 for Windows, you should then choose manual setup or additional server types to enter your settings manually.
However, in the Windows edition of Outlook 2016, you can't use the manual setup type for either Exchange or Office 365. Outlook 2016 does include In those instances, if automatic setup fails, Microsoft suggests that you contact either your Exchange administrator or the Microsoft Answer desk for help.
To set up Gmail or Yahoo for use with Outlook 2013 or 2016, you need to complete a few extra, rather cumbersome steps.
You'll need to collect a variety of settings before starting in on manual setup for IMAP and POP accounts. These include incoming and outgoing mail server names as well as ports and SSL settings.
Microsoft provides lists online of its own settings for Outlook.com and for many other email systems. However, you should verify the accuracy of this information with individual email providers.
To perform a manual account setup in Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows, go to Auto Account Setup, select manual setup or additional server types, and click Next. Choose POP or IMAP and click Next.
Enter your name and the email address for the account you're adding, account type (usually IMAP), incoming mail server outgoing mail server, user name, and password.
Then choose More Settings > Outgoing Server and check the box for "My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication."
On the Advanced tab, enter the information you received from your email provider.. According to Microsoft Support, the most common settings are as follows:
- Incoming server (IMAP): 993
- Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL
- Outgoing server (SMTP): 465 or 587
- Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL or TLS
Lastly, choose OK, Next, and Finish.
To perform a manual account setup in Outlook 2010 for Windows, click on the Tools option at the top of the Outlook window. Then click on the Email Accounts link. Choose the option to "Add a new email account" from the menu. Click Next.
Select the correct option--such as POP 3--under the type of email used for the new account. Add the name you want people to see when you send an email out out inside the box asking for your name.
Type the email address for the account you're adding--from AOL, Comcast or wherever--in the Email Address field.
Then enter Server Information for the types and names of the incoming and outgoing mail servers in the appropriate fields. Enter your user name and password for the email account that you're adding.
To set up Outlook to check the mail for the account automatically when opening the program, select "Remember password." Keep clicking OK or Next until you see and click the Finish button.
Open the properties for the email account you created by clicking the account, and then clicking the Properties button on the right side of the window. Go to the Advanced tab by clicking it.
Change the port numbers for the outgoing and incoming servers to the correct numbers and make sure that for each server, a check mark is in the box next to the words, "This server requires a secure connection (SSL)." Finally, exit out of account properties and setup by clicking OK and Close.
An Easier Alternative: Windows 8 and Windows 10 Mail
In large measure, email programs in Windows 8 and higher are easier to set up for accessing various mail systems than Outlook is. One the downside, however, these programs only work with Windows devices.
Microsoft supplied no built-in mail program in Windows 7. Windows 8, though, witnessed the introduction of a new mail program providing automatic setup for Yahoo, Google, AOL, Outlook/Exchange/Office 365/Outlook.com, and Hotmail/Hotmail.com/Live/MSN accounts
Windows 8.1 ushered in a more capable mail program with features such as the ability to drag-and-drop emails between folders.
Where the Windows 8.1 mail program supported automatic setup of IMAP mail systems, the mail program in Windows 10 is even more robust, with support for automatic configuration of POP mail systems, too. Actually, the program is just one member of Microsoft's recently launched Windows 10 Mobile lineup, which runs across Windows 10 phones and phablets in addition to Windows 10 desktops and laptops.
This kind of simplicity can be especially important when children in a family are trying to add their email accounts.