Using Outlook With Gmail – Duplicate Sent Items   July 18th, 2010

For some time now I have been using Google Apps as my main mail provider, I’d been a long time Microsoft Exchange user until I made the switch from Windows Mobile devices to Android.  It made sense to change my mail provision so that I could use Android in the manner it was designed i.e. with  Google Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks.

Generally, I have been happy with the service (especially when you consider the Standard Edition is free and isn’t a noticeably inferior product to the Premium Edition) although I do acknowledge it has a few quirks, not to mention horrendous support from Google should you require assistance.  Of course aside from push email support via my Android handset, the Google Apps service also includes plain and simple IMAP support; it’s here that I encountered one of the quirks.

Ever since configuring the account on my machine, whenever sending an email using Outlook two copies of the mail appear shortly after in my Gmail sent items folder (although only one copy is actually sent to the recipient).  Now this may not seem such a big deal but it has a couple of issues; firstly over time it will fill up my quota a lot quicker, perhaps not a major issue for most people but if let’s say you are sending a 1Mb file attachment, you’re going to be using 2Mb of space.  Secondly, perhaps more importantly is that when you use the Gmail web client instead of Outlook, it’s going to really mess up your conversation thread as there will be 2 copies which can be a little confusing.

So how do you solve getting two copies of sent mails while using IMAP in Outlook?

It’s important first to understand why the two copies appear and not just accept that they do.  When you send an email through Outlook, Outlook saves a copy of the sent mail and transmits it to the server (in this case  When the email is sent from the server to its destination, Google save another copy of the sent mail automatically which is then of course – as you’re using an IMAP connection – synced back to your machine hence the two copies.

Of course Google should be smart enough to know that the mail is being sent from a dedicated client such as Outlook and check to see if a copy has already been saved before saving it again, but alas not.  So the solution is to change where Outlook saves its local copy of the sent mail; it’s not an ideal situation but it does stop your Gmail folder from becoming full of duplicates!

To make the change, go to Tools>Account Settings>Email and select the email account in question and then Change.  This will open a window titled Change Email Account.  Click the More Settings option at the bottom.

Click the Folders tab which will enable you to choose where to store a copy of all outgoing messages (remembering that Google is going to automatically store one for you in your Gmail sent items) and change the default choice to Save sent mail in the Outlook Sent Items Folder, this will save the duplicated copy in a local unused folder instead which of course can be cleaned up when required; or you can also choose not to have Outlook save a copy of sent mail at all (again remembering that Google will automatically place a copy in your sent items).

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    This entry was posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010 at 10:18 am and is filed under Blah, Google, Mail, Microsoft, Office 2007, Office 2010, Technology Related. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    20 Responses

    July 18th, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    Using Outlook With Gmail – Duplicate Sent Items… | Mike Southby | Says:

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    July 18th, 2010 at 1:47 pm
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    August 19th, 2010 at 11:21 am
    Drew Says:

    Why have the Outlook client save a copy of the sent mail at all? Then you don’t have two copies of the sent mail cluttering up Outlook PST file, even on you local pc. You also don’t have to remember whether that email you sent was from your laptop, desktop, or (Android) phone.

    August 19th, 2010 at 12:38 pm
    Mike Says:

    Drew, actually that’s a very good point. I’ll update the post accordingly – thanks.

    September 28th, 2010 at 6:46 pm
    Kris Says:

    Thanks, this was a very annonying “feature”.

    September 28th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
    Mike Southby Says:

    No worries Kris. Yes, I never understood why it was set this way myself, very annoying!

    October 19th, 2010 at 7:03 pm
    Joe Says:

    Thanks for the post. This was very helpful!

    December 2nd, 2010 at 6:54 pm
    M Duncan Says:

    In Outlook 2010 there is no Folders tab within “More Settings.” I don’t see a way to change where my Sent Items will go.

    December 29th, 2010 at 4:51 pm
    Alastair Mills-McEwan Says:

    Thank you for your post Mike, which was very helpful.

    January 19th, 2011 at 1:16 am
    B. Mui Says:

    Thanks for the information. Google does suck with duplicates … on everything.

    June 30th, 2011 at 10:20 am
    Uzi Says:

    exactly what i was looking for.

    I used Drew’s idea not to store sent items in outlook folder at all, this is the best solution in my opinion.

    July 7th, 2011 at 7:34 am
    Kay Says:

    Thanks for this post! Solved the problem and helped me understand what was going on.

    August 11th, 2011 at 7:07 pm
    nitediver Says:

    I had the same exact problem with duplicates in the sent folder…very very annoying. I have actually changed the settings, and have “unchecked” save a copy of sent email. This solves the problem as well, but poses another issue. I also have other aol accounts and none of the emails get saved; since not saving a copy of an email is a global setting for all accounts. I think my new solution is to have the sent copies for my gmail account to be saved in the trash folder and make sure the trash is taken out daily.

    August 16th, 2011 at 6:43 pm
    Stephen Says:

    Thanks for the advice.
    Interestingly, Even though duplicate items exist in my IMAP Sent Items folder, the webmail Sent Items folder doesn’t display duplicate items.
    Now I’m trying to tidy up my IMAP Sent Mail folder by deleting one of each pair of duplicates, but it doesn’t matter which copy I delete – either way, Gmail will label the one copy displayed in the webmail’s sent mail folder with the [Deleted Items] label.

    September 3rd, 2011 at 1:32 pm
    Ole Says:

    Thank you very much. I was just about to switch from Outlook 2010 to Thunderbird 6 because of frustration over the problems with duplicate items in the send folder :-)

    October 14th, 2011 at 5:43 pm
    Russ Brown Says:

    Ditto Ole – sorted me right out. Thanks!

    October 26th, 2011 at 8:23 pm
    Frank Says:

    Hi. I’m having a similar issue but from the iPhone 4S using gmail push (Exchange). Whenever I email from the iPhone I get a dup of that email in Outlook 2007. Have searched everywhere, nothing. Even spoke with an Apple “Genius” who told me that was the expected behaviour for the iPhone using Exchange. I said that does not happen with Hotmail, Exchange also, was told gmail push is different. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    November 6th, 2011 at 9:57 pm
    Stevosmiff Says:


    Excellent info and description of why it happens. Solved my problem:)

    July 13th, 2012 at 3:35 am
    Tuckerbuck Says:

    Thank you! this really helped me a lot. It was annoying to have it go to my IMAP folder and have duplicates. I just need to make sure I clean things out as I tend to hold onto some things forever.

    October 11th, 2013 at 9:52 pm
    Ellie Says:

    Thanks, perfect, did the trick!

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