Perfect syncing of email across all your devices
Like me you probably once worked in an office or you still do. It will rarely be a choice what email client you use and you will probably find yourself using Microsoft Outlook whether you like it or not. Now nothing wrong with outlook of course but if you find yourself working from home and you do have a choice don’t just settle for Outlook because it’s what you know.
These problems mainly occur for those using work related email addresses not for those just using Hotmail, Yahoo etc.
Unless you have access to an IT professional or you want to take time out of the business you should be running to learn about IMAP and email servers you have the following dilemmas if you opt for Outlook.
- SMPT, that is your sending server, is tied to your home broadband provider. This means if you are out and about with your laptop, even if you have Outlook on it you can’t send email, only receive.
- You want to collect email on your phone, tablet or another laptop or desktop but then you can’t see the same email on the original machine.
- You can see what you sent on all devices just the one you sent the email from in the first place.
- You can’t send or receive email for a device other than your own.
- You have several email addresses but find it difficult to set these all up on your phone.
It’s all a bit of a mess.
Ideally you want all your devices in sync. If you go to your tablet the same email that you have just received on your desktop in the office and your reply to it is there instantly. If you send an email from you phone when you are out then you can see that email in your sent folder of your desktop machine when you get home. It all works seamlessly.
How do you achieve this Holy Grail like email Nirvana? Simple ditch Outlook and embrace Gmail. Yes Google has the answer. There are other more complex solutions as hinted at above but this one is simple and you can get set up quickly and easily.
“But I don’t want my clients seeing a Gmail address” you cry, “I want to use my company domain email”. Well you can. You can add up to four additional email accounts to your Gmail account. Once set up you can send and receive from and retain your professional email presence.
You can also import your current email into Gmail so you won’t have to keep opening Outlook to refer back. When I migrated all my email accounts from Outlook to Gmail many years ago now I was a bit hesitant not to have them all saved on my computer. After a few months this wasn’t a problem and if you really want you can backup all your Gmail and added account emails you can.
So if you haven’t got a Gmail account then set one up. Take advantage of the other apps you get, (Google calendar is excellent and of course syncs across all your devices). Don’t have more than one Google account (unless it’s for another person ie client or family member). Have all your Google assets under one login. Don’t have one for Gmail and one for YouTube etc. If you already have a YouTube usename then this means you have a Google account. Sign in with the same details and signup for a Gmail account.
This isn’t a full tutorial post so I’m not going to go into full detail here but just go to Settings (the gear wheel) then Accounts and Import. The instructions here are pretty good. I will produce a screencast tutorial showing this in detail. I am sure you will find similar by searching YouTube. Add your work email and make sure you set up to send from that account email too.
When all is confirmed make this work email the default send address then (if that’s what you want), you won’t forget and send a work email under your Gmail address. You can use your Gmail address for signing up to newsletters etc or just for personal stuff.
Get the Gmail app on your other devices and connect them to Google and all your emails, calendars and contacts will be in sync, Heaven!
One or two caveats,
- Check your email hosting SMTP details and use those when setting up sending email in Gmail. If your email/hosting provider doesn’t provide this then it’s worth paying a few extra pounds for SMTP service, it saves an awful lot of hassel. If not the try Mandrill to send email.
- Google doesn’t download your email from separate accounts instantly. The times it checks this can vary. If you have a browser tab open with your Gmail account it may be 40mins between collections. Don’t worry about this though as you can just click the refresh button to prompt download. Just like clicking the send and receive button in Outlook.
- If you are used to Outlooks folders you will need to get to grips with Gmail’s labels. However labels are much more flexible as emails can be in more than one “folder” at once without copying.
If you work with a team in a small business I would recommend taking a look at Google Apps for Work.
This is of course just my way of doing things but a way that I have had no trouble with for years. If you have other ways or extensions to this techniques or questions regarding Gmail then let me know in the comments below.