O365 - How to combine the Inboxes for four email accounts into a single Inbox

  

I have "Microsoft 365" Home 64-bit (formerly "Office 365") on my Win 10 Pro 64-bit machine. I am setting up its Outlook now to connect to my three or four existing email accounts. All POP3 with "Leave a copy of message on the server". So far, so good. However ...

Unlike the older Outlooks I am familiar with, this Outlook 365 seems to create a separate "Inbox" for each of my email accounts. So to see what's come in I must check every Inbox separately? Is there way to aggregate all incoming emails (from three or four separate email accounts) into a single Inbox that shows everything all at once? (Or maybe have a virtual Inbox that aggregates the info from the four separate actual Inboxes?

If yes, when I reply, the reply should still show as "From" the original incoming email account, yes?

Thanks.

Hello glnzglnz

Actually nothing has changed in '365 from any other Outlook version.

It all comes down to the type (POP3, Imap, Exchange) accounts that are configured.

Every IMAP and Exchange account has it's own folder tree (i.e. Inbox) and those can't be combined.

In the case of POP accounts, it is possible to have a unified <Inbox> for those accounts AS LONG AS you configure the accounts correctly which is by having Accts 2, 3 and 4 use the same PST file (Inbox folder).

POP accounts must be manually configured which is done by clicking <Advanced Options> underneath the email address box when configuring the account, click on <Advanced Options> and then check the box for <Let me set up my account manually> --> select POP and proceed accordingly. The key factor in using the same <Inbox> is to make sure that you tell Outlook to use an existing PST file instead of letting it create a new one.

If you already have 4 POP accounts configured, you can change the delivery Inbox. If this scenario applies to you, let me know and will provide those instructions if required.

For a mixture of account types, you may find the following article by Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky to be of interest for a work-around

How to Create a Unified Inbox View
https://www.slipstick.com/how-to-outlook/how-to...
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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Karl - You wrote "If you already have 4 POP accounts configured, you can change the delivery Inbox. If this scenario applies to you, let me know and will provide those instructions if required. "

Yes, please send.

Thanks.

 

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The simplest approach would be as follows:

#1 - With Outlook closed open the Control Panel <Mail> app

Just in case you need info regarding how to access the Control Panel Mail app, that's described in the following article by Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky

Where is the Control Panel Mail icon?
https://www.slipstick.com/how-to-outlook/where-...

#2 - Under the email tab - pick the POP account you consider the "primary" account, select it --> look down and take note of the PST file showing beside the <Change Folder> button

#3 - Switch to the <Account Settings> Data file tab
#4 - Make sure that the PST file from item #2 is set as the <Default Data File> (the default data file is where the default contact/calendar folders are stored. If it isn't, select it and then click on <Set as Default>

Going back to the <Account Settings> email tab
#3 - For each of the other POP accounts, click on the <Change Folder> button and select the <Inbox> in the PST file you select in item #2

If you have any data in the 3 other PST files you want to keep, make sure to copy that data to the corresponding folders in the primary PST file (item #2)

When all the data has been copied (if any), then you can remove the extra PST files by going back to the <Account Settings> --> Data FIles tab --> select each PST file --> click on <Remove>
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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"If you have any data in the 3 other PST files you want to keep, make sure to copy that data to the corresponding folders in the primary PST file (item #2) "

How does one copy data from one pst to another?

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To make this as simple as possible, set the Outlook Navigation Pane to <Full Folder> view so that all folders appear (press CTRL+6) in Outlook

Then follow these steps to copy the data from each folder.

To copy data from the standard mail (i.e. <Inbox> <Sent items> etc and Contact folder

#1 - Select the source <Contact> or email folder
#2 - press CTRL+A to select all the items
#3 - right-click on the selected contacts --> Select <Move>
#4 - Select <Copy to folder> --> select destination folder

#5 - Select the source <Calendar> folder
#6 - If it's not in a <List> view, click on the <View> ribbon tab --> <Change View> --> Select the <List> view
#7 - perform steps 2 thru 4

* why did I suggest <Copy to folder> instead of <Other folder> in step #7? Purely as a precaution in case some goes wrong during the copy process. When using <Copy to folder> the source items don't get automatically deleted

#8 - For custom folders you created, right-click on the folder
#9 - Select <Copy> --> select the destination <root> folder (the top of the folder tree if this is not a sub-folder

** you can also use <Move> - I just like to be on the safe side of things

When it's all done, you can remove the PST files you no longer require
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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Karl - this is interesting and thanks.

Will I then have a unified Inbox for my three POP3 accounts, like I do in Outlook 2003?  If I Reply to an email, will it automatically select the correct From, as it does in Outlook 2003?

 

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As mentioned - nothing has changed regarding this between '2003 and '365.

Will it select the correct <From> - yes, it will select the address applicable to the account to which the original email was sent. This is not hypotehical, I do the exact same thing for all the POP accounts I have configured in '365.
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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BTW, another item as a FYI that might make things easier for you in terms of your <Inbox> organization would be to <Group> the <Inbox> by <Email Account>

To do this,
#1 - pick your <Inbox> --> Click on the <View> tab in the ribbon
#2 - Click on <View Settings>
#3 - Click on <Group By>
#4 - Select <Email Account>
#5 - Optionally then sub group by <From>

I just find that the above makes it a whole lot easier to deal with everything but you may have your own preferences
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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Karl - first, thanks for your quick replies and what seem to be good answers.  I started posting issues on this forum probably starting eight years ago, and this is the first time that an "Independent Advisor" has actually supplied pertinent information.

Let's continue, and please reply by numbers below --

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the theme of your information is that I can have a unitary Inbox if my various POP3 email accounts feed into the same, single .pst file.  Correct?  (And that's what it looks like on Outlook 2003 on my old computer that I'm trying to move away from -- it has two of my POP3 accounts in a single Inbox/Sent/etc., and it has a single .pst file.)
     
  2. Since I started (yesterday) setting up my Outlook 365 using "Add Additional Account", I unknowingly created separate .pst files for each Account, yes?
     
  3. Ultimately, I can re-create a unified Inbox by having Outlook 365 point to a single .pst file for my separate POP3 accounts, yes?
     
  4. But the problem might be the transition.  However, I have not yet tried your 9 steps at 9/2/2020 8:39:39 PM above.  So we'll see.  I think they'll work.
     
  5. Now, some new issues:  To start - when I first turned on this O365, it forced me to connect to my rarely-used [myname]@outlook.com, and that was the first account it established.  The Mail control panel window says it is the "Default".  I can see that it is not a POP3 account, but it is probably an "Exchange" account.  It connects to an .ost file, not a .pst file. 
    a)  Is there any way to include this [myname]@outlook.com in my future unitary Inbox?
    b)  Is there any way to change this [myname]@outlook.com to POP3 like everything else I have, and so make it use a .pst file instead of an .ost file?
    c)  What happens when I make my unified .pst file the "Default"?  Does its Inbox move to the top of the left-hand pane in O365?  What else happens?
     
  6. My Q #5 is important for this reason:  So far, I have not connected my O365 to my most important email account, which is [myname]@verizon.net.  On my old XP computer using Outlook 2003, this account causes problems, specifically that it re-downloads the emails from verizon.net.  (This issue has been posted by many people elsewhere, including on the verizon email forum, and there is no fix.  These verizon.net emails are now hosted by either Yahoo or, in my case, aol, but Verizon owns both companies.  I think Verizon is trying to force its old email account users to go elsewhere.)
    a)  I do not know whether O365 on my Win 10 Pro 64-bit machine (taking over from my old Outlook 2003 on my old XP machine) will stop the re-downloading of emails from verizon.net.  What do you think?
    b)  If this problem with verizon.net continues (or will probably continue), I was planning to go into my settings on verizon.net and have all incoming emails automatically forward to [myname]@outlook.com, but then they will not be coming in to my (I hope) unified Inbox on O365.
    c)  Any other strategies you can think of to deal with this pretzel?
     
  7. Why hasn't MS fixed its O365 to help users make a unified Inbox, which was available on Outlook Express and Outlook 2003 and is apparently available today in the O365 version for Mac and iOS?

Thanks.

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#1 - Correct

#2 - You would only have created a new PST file if you opted to do that instead of telling Outlook to use an existing PST file (see attached screenshot)

#3 - Yes

#4 - Guaranteed to work :-)

#5 - Outlook never forces anyone to configure a specific account but what it might do is populate the email address box when configuring a new account - just need to type over it to configure the account you want

#5a - No - not natively.

#5b - Can't change the protocol used by a configured account. You would need to remove the existing account and add it back as a POP account. You need to make sure the Outlook.com account is configured to use POP on the server side of things and use the appropriate settings.

- log into your Outlook.com account
- click on the <Gear> (Settings) icon on the top right --> click on <View all Outlook settings>
- click on <Mail> if not already selected --> click on Sync Settings
- scroll down until you see the Outlook.com server settings

#5c - Yes it appears at the top of the Outlook Nab Pane. The default data file is where your default contact/calendar folders are stored. Aside from that - nothing else happens.

#6a - If a problem exists with your account, nothing will change with '365. That's a separate issue from all of this and needs to be resolved on its own. Suggest you create a new question (thread) specific to this issue.

#6b - see #5b but not sure that forwarding is the answer to the "problem"

#6c - suggestion would be to get the problem resolved. Something is really strange in terms of POP account duplicating messages that are downloaded

#7 - Can't and don't speak for MS but if I were to provide an educated guess, it's not a trivial change considering the decades that Outlook has been in existence and all the different versions that are in use by everyone. Right now, people can move relatively seamlessly forwards and backwards between versions. Mac & IOS versions are much newer and use a completely separate/different code base.
Karl Timmermans (Outlook MVP 2012-2018)
http://www.contactgenie.info

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Last updated February 24, 2021 Views 115 Applies to: