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Outlook Email Account Types

The first thing you need to do once Outlook is installed is to add your email account to it, so you will be able to send and receive messages. There are three main types of Outlook email account: POP, IMAP, Microsoft Exchange.

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POP

POP email account type is the oldest email account type. POP stands for Post Office Protocol, and it was build so that email clients like Microsoft Outlook could contact email services to download email messages or send them. Once email messages are downloaded onto your computer, they are deleted from the email server. This means that after the email is downloaded, it can only be accessed using the same computer. If you try to access your email from a different device, the messages that have been previously downloaded won't be available to you. Sent mail is stored locally on your computer, not on the email server.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up.
  • Easy to restore using a .pst.
  • The category function is available.

Cons:

  • No message, calendars, contacts, or other data sync available.

IMAP

The more commonly used email type nowadays is called IMAP, which stands for Internet Message Access Protocol. Unlike POP, IMAP communicates back and forth with the mail server. This means that if you download a new email in Outlook on your desktop computer, it will also be downloaded to your mobile device. If you read a message on your mobile device then it will show as read on your computer too. Moving emails from one folder to another is also synced. While IMAP is great at syncing, it also takes more processing power and can be prone to more mistakes.

Pros:

  • Full message syncing.
  • Multiple devices and clients support.
  • Sync of flags and to-do items.
  • Messages saved on the server and downloaded to every new account.
  • Easy to set up.

Cons:

  • Syncing issues can arise.
  • Sync performance decreases depending on the amount of data transferred.
  • If multiple people are using the same account, message syncing can create confusion.
  • Not supported by all email providers.
  • No category function available. You would need to get creative to work around it.

Microsoft Exchange

The last type of email in this list is the most advanced and suited for businesses. The Exchange protocol was built to allow users to sync emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, and other features between email clients and services. It’s easily accessible via Microsoft 365 as ‘Hosted Exchange’ at a cheap per-mailbox, per-month cost. It can also be set up locally on servers if required.

Pros:

  • Full sync of all data inside it including emails, contacts, calendars, tasks.
  • Messages also stored on the server.
  • All mobile email clients support Exchange.

Cons:

  • Syncing issues can occur (very rarely).
  • Most exchange email account services are payable.

How to find out which email account type you have

The following steps apply to Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Office 365

Step 1. Open the Outlook app and click the File button located in the top left corner.

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Step 2. In the File menu, select the Info option.

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Step 3. In the Account Information window, click the Account Settings button and select the next Account Settings option from the drop-down menu.

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You can also find out the account type by clicking on the email account dropdown.

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Step 4. In the Account Settings window, you will see the list of your email accounts and their types.

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