The new Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2021 has been frustrating for many users, with not supporting Microsoft’s Exchange server and having to revert to previous versions for public folder support being a few of many user gripes. It has been an ongoing source of amazement for me that a company like Microsoft could even conceive of rolling out such an incomplete product.

Another issue I ran into was the inability to create or edit folders in regular IMAP email accounts. While I can grudgingly get their excuse for not being able to do the same with Gmail accounts, IMAP has been a protocol that’s been around for almost as long as email has been in existence.

Anyway, ranting aside, I sat with Microsoft support to resolve the issue, and the resolution is relatively simple: remove and re-add the account with specific settings.

  • Navigate to the Outlook menu bar at the top of the screen.
  • Remove the account.
    > Outlook > Preferences > Accounts
    • Select the account and click the – icon to remove it.
    • Select “Sign out on all devices”.
  • Re-add the account.
    • Click the + icon and select New Account.
  • Type in the email address and click on “Continue”.
  • Click on “Not IMAP?”.
  • Click on the slider button next to “Sync with Microsoft Cloud” so it turns from blue to grey to disable it.
  • Select IMAP
  • Enter the IMAP username and password.
  • At this point, it may be necessary to click on the slider button next to “Show advanced settings so it turns from grey to blue to enable it, as you may need to enter more specific details.
    • Enter the IMAP and SMTP server address, port, SSL protocol, username and password.
      • IMAP SSL is typically port 993, and SMTP SSL is port 465. (recommended)
      • IMAP StartTLS is generally port 143, and SMTP StartTLS is port 143.
  • Type in your password for the email account
  • Click on “Add Account”, then click ” Done”.

That’s it! The account is now direct synced instead of being synced with Microsoft Cloud, and you should now be able to create and edit folders.

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