Outlook 2003, 2007, IMAP and the message followup reminder

My boss is working with tons of mails every day. Part of his workflow is to use the “followup” -> “add reminder..:” function in the right-click menu of messages. When I upgraded his Outlook from 2003 to 2007, he asked why that function was gone. I did some investigation, including a phone call at Microsoft tech support, and found out the following:

Using Outlook 2003, this “add reminder” function works flawlessly – with POP3 mails or mails in local folders, with IMAP mails, and when using a MAPI connector (Zimbra in our case).

Using 2007, it is possible with local/POP3 mails, but not with IMAP mails. You have to copy/move an IMAP account’s mail to a local folder, inbox for example, and then the menu items will appear. Using the MAPI connector, everything works fine again.

Conclusion: In Outlook 2007, the “followup -> add reminder” function for mails in IMAP account folders has vanished. I don’t really know why they remove a useful feature in a newer version which usually should add and extend features instead of removing them. I could say “hey, it’s Microsoft anyway” but it wouldn’t be fair because I don’t know the background of this issue.

Workarounds:

  • drag IMAP mails to a local folder and set the reminder there
  • use a MAPI connector, if you have a server that supports it
  • drag IMAP mails to the calendar button to create an appointment from it
  • use POP3 instead of IMAP
  • use Outlook 2003 instead of 2007
  • use Thunderbird with Lightning and drag mails to the calendar button/pane

1 Comment

  1. Have been looking for a solution to this for some time now, and For me the following workaround is the best ( In a Google Apps IMAP environment ).

    First of all download the Google Calendar Sync ( Instrcutions here: http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=89955 )

    When you want to set a reminder for an email in the Inbox or Sent Mail, Simply drag the concerned email to the “Calendar” in LHS of Outlook, add the follow up reminder , date , time etc and it will trigger a reminder in outlook as and when required.

    Also syncs with your Google Apps Calendar using the Google Calendar Sync.

    Hope this works for you all.

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