Despite being an *absolutely hateful system, Outlook remains one of the world’s most popular email clients
(*Grumpy, former Windows System Administrator’s Top Tip – consider checking out Thunderbird as literally none of the following faff is required. Like Mac Mail, the only details needed to add a Gmail account to Thunderbird is your email address & password).
Why opt for G Suite?
Google’s pro email offering is, by all accounts, superb.
We at Creatomatic made the switch from self-hosted/managed email to Gmail back in 2013, and with zero regrets.
At the risk of sounding a bit ‘smug Apple customer’ here, it truly does ‘just work’.
Without an expensive (and notoriously temperamental) on-site mail server (e.g. Exchange) requiring constant pandering and attention from an also (expensive and notoriously temperamental IT department), our email is completely secure and accessible, be it from laptops, phones or a web browser in a random German cafe (*true story). To date we’ve enjoyed 100% uptime and zero issues.
It even does a pretty decent job of barricading against most of the SPAM we, like everyone else, would otherwise be bombarded with on a daily basis.
In the interest of transparency, if it sounds rather a little like we’re on commission from Google, we are – well, a wee bit. We have a referral code that bags you a bit of an introductory discount and shaves a few pence off our own monthly bill. Nice as it would be to have a shiny Aston Martin paid for in Sergey & Larry’s back-handers, you’ll have to believe me that we’re not in this one for the money.
Note – Microsoft’s Office 365 is a solid, viable alternative for the Microsoft loyal amongst you (we simply backed a different horse). It’d be well worth speaking to your designated IT support guys about this if you’re considering a move to cloud-based email (which, you probably should be, really).
In most cases, Gmail plays beautifully with email clients;
- Thunderbird & Mac Mail in particular take little to no setup)
- Works seamlessly on iPhones (Settings –> Mail, Contacts & Calendars, Add Account, select Gmail & follow the prompts))
- And is even easier to setup on Android (it’s more or less baked as it too is made by Google after all)
In fact, the only email client that ever seems to cause any form of heartache and suffering when trying to setup a new Gmail account is Outlook (aka Live Mail, Outlook Express among other guises – they’re all essentially Outlook at their horrid, vile cores).
The following guide is meant not as a prescriptive, step-by-step walkthrough for getting Outlook & Gmail (or G-Suite as it’s formally known these days) to play nicely. Unfortunately, due to their being so many different versions and variants of Outlook it’s impossible (or the very at least impractical) to document where each specific tick box or field is located in any given version number.
Instead, this is a cleaner, less-sweary version of the point of reference cheat sheet that we use internally when carrying out this task.
Hopefully it’ll be of some help.
Setting up Outlook to work with Gmail
IMPORTANT – before you even attempt to setup Outlook – make sure you’ve done the following:
- Check that support for Less Secure Devices is enabled within the main G Suite admin account – admin account > security > basic settings > less secure apps > allow Less Supported / Insecure Devices (not recommended)
- Make sure you’ve enabled POP3 & IMAP within each mailbox’s Gmail settings – Gmail.com, login with each account, Cog-Settings-Forwarding & POP/IMAP and ensure both POP3 & IMAP are enabled.
- Remember to do this for EVERY individual email account you’re setting up on Outlook.
Forgetting to get this in place first has been the root cause of many fruitless setup attempts and frustrated calls back to the office for help.
Ok, once that’s done it’s time to open Pandora’s box* (*cough, sorry, fire up Outlook).
In Outlook go to –> Settings –> Add New Account –> IMAP
Server settings – the exact location of these varies between Outlook versions, but usually it’s
– Sometimes these settings don’t work, in which case try –
Check the ‘My outgoing server requires authentication’ box under SMTP
In the Advanced Tab
- Incoming Server: 993
- Incoming Server encrypted connection: SSL
- Outgoing server: 587 – (sometimes this doesn’t work, in which case try 25)
- Outgoing Server encrypted connection: TLS
- Note – you’ll need to select the SSL & TLS options before inputting the Ports as it resets the value each time you change the dropdown. (Yes, this is really annoying. And yes, it’s caught us out a few times in the past).
Links to a handful of other helpful guides we’ve found while searching for help with this in the past: