How to Use Gmail as an IMAP Account

We may not know how to pronounce "IMAP" or what it stands for ("Internet Message Access Protocol"?). In any event, it brings Gmail messages to Outlook and iPhone Mail, though, so it is great.

What would be even greater, of course, were means to do something with these messages other than reading and replying. How about applying labels, marking emails as spam, archiving or, well, deleting them?

Gmail IMAP, thankfully, makes all this possible, mostly by having us move messages; great!

Use Gmail as an IMAP Account (to Archive, Delete, Mark as Spam, etc.)

To operate Gmail after you have set it up as an IMAP account in your email program:

Delete Messages

To delete a message in a Gmail IMAP account:

  • Move the message to the [Gmail]/Trash folder.
    • If you can set up your email program to use a "deleted items" folder and can set that folder to [Gmail]/Trash, you can also use your program's Delete button.

Archive Messages

To archive an email out of the Gmail Inbox or remove it from a folder (i.e. Gmail label):

  • Move the message to the [Gmail]/All Mail folder.
    • If you have not set up your email program to use a "deleted items" folder, you can "delete" the message in your Inbox or any label's folder to remove it from the folder and archive it to All Mail.

Mark Messages as Spam or Not Spam

To report an email as junk:

  • Move the message to the [Gmail]/Spam folder.

To rescue an email from the spam folder and let Gmail know it is not junk:

  • Go to the [Gmail]/Spam folder.
  • Move the message to the Inbox.

Add or Remove Labels from Messages

To label a message:

  • Copy or move the message to the folder named like the desired label.

To remove a label from an email:

  • Go the the folder named like the label you want to remove.
  • Move the message to [Gmail]/All Mail or the Inbox.

    Star Messages or Remove Stars

    To star an email:

    • Flag the message or
    • copy (or move) it to the [Gmail]/Starred folder.

    To remove the star from a message:

    • Remove the message flag or:
      • Go the the [Gmail]/Starred folder.
      • Move the message to [Gmail]/All Mail or the Inbox.

    Mark Messages Important or Not Important

    To mark an email important for Priority Inbox:

    • Copy the message to the [Gmail]/Important folder.

    To mark a message not important for Priority Inbox:

    • Go the the [Gmail]/Important folder.
    • Move the message to [Gmail]/All Mail or the Inbox.