Tip 1132: Convert Outlook Account from POP3 to IMAP

An Outlook user had this question:

I'm trying to change my POP3 account to IMAP. How do I do it? Can you please walk me step by step on setting up the IMAP?

I sure can. When you switch from POP3 to IMAP, you need to add the account to your profile as an IMAP account; you can't change the configuration for the account you have in your profile.

Step 1: In Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, go to File, Account Settings, Email tab. Select the POP3 account and click the Remove button to delete the POP3 account from the profile. Do not remove the data file (from the Data Files tab), I recommend keeping the (former) POP3 *.pst set as default, using it for your calendar and contacts. Yes, even in Outlook 2013.

Remove the account and add a new one in Account Settings

Step 2: Click New to create the IMAP account in Outlook. You can either use auto account setup or add the account manually, choosing IMAP account type. Outlook 2013's Automatic account setup will create IMAP accounts by default when the mail server supports it.

Use Auto Account Setup to create the account

Step 3: If you need to put mail back on the server, drag it from the old POP3 data file (which is still in your profile) to the IMAP folders.

If the IMAP account is the only account in your profile (or you only have IMAP accounts), you could move the calendar and contacts from the .pst file to the Calendar and Contacts folder that will be created if the IMAP data file is set as default. However, I do not recommend doing this unless you are going to export the calendar, contacts, and task folders regularly. It's too hard to recover the folders if something happens the the IMAP .ost file. Use a pst file which is easy to backup and restore.

Published April 8, 2014. Last reviewed on April 28, 2014.