Why am I getting copies (duplicates) of my sent messages in Outlook 2011?



Why am I getting copies (duplicates) of my sent messages in Outlook 2011?


Outlook 2011 is the first Microsoft mail client for the Mac that gets close to the functionality of Microsoft Outlook for Windows. Now before all of you start arguing with that claim, I’m not saying that they are the same product. THEY ARE NOT! Outlook for Windows has more communications features than most people would even know what to do with. However, in its creation of Outlook 2011 for Mac, Microsoft is making strides toward feature parity between the two platforms. They can both connect to Exchange accounts and they both can (finally) view Public Folders on those exchange accounts.

With these strides comes features that may seem strange for many people on the Mac platform. One of these features is the answer to the posed question. Gmail users that utilize Microsoft Outlook in Windows for their GMail IMAP connection have had to deal with this for years, however, people that are new to Microsoft Outlook may not be aware of this issue. According to Microsoft this is a “Known issue” with Outlook when connecting to IMAP mail accounts:

This occurs when both Outlook and the email server are adding copies of the messages to the Sent Items folder after they are sent.

As mentioned, for those that have used Outlook on Windows, they are familiar with this fact, however this is news to individuals who have used Macs and Apple Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird for their IMAP Mail access. It appears that GMail automatically puts a copy of any message sent by users connected via IMAP into their “Sent Mail” folder. As a result, telling Outlook to put a copy into your Sent folder is an unnecessary redundancy that causes messages to be duplicated. In order to deal with this issue the user needs to select the Advanced account level option to “Don’t store a copy of sent messages”. Here is how to do so:

  1. Select “Accounts” from the “Tools” menu.
    Outlook-Tools Menu-Accounts
  2. Select your Google based account in the accounts list on the left side of the “Accounts” window.
  3. Click the “Folders” tab in the drawer that appears.
  4. Select the option “Don’t store a copy of sent messages”.
NOTE: Google will still maintain the message in “All Mail” with the label “Sent” so that it will still appear in your [GMail] > “Sent Mail” folder. Assuming your Outlook 2011 settings are setup to use that [GMail] > “Sent Mail” folder as its default Sent Folder, you should still see the messages you’ve sent when sending from your Outlook account. With it set this way, Outlook will simply not create a copy of it in the same place now.

20 Comments for this entry

January 10th, 2013 on 7:49 pm

What an easy fix! I’ve been dealing with duplicate sent emails for quite some time and spending time erasing them. I finally decided to look for an answer. Thank you!!

    Greg M.
    January 14th, 2013 on 7:51 am

    Thanks so much for the comment stefanie. If you have any other questions hopefully we have the answers.

February 14th, 2013 on 7:13 am

Simple problem, simple solution. Great job. Wish Google or Microsoft could have offered something this clear and easy to follow.

    Greg M.
    February 14th, 2013 on 7:53 am

    Thanks so much for the comment Ryan. Couldn’t agree more.

February 14th, 2013 on 10:02 am

Not so much, when I’m on the third step, I don’t have a tab called “Folders” I have instead a tab called “Delegates” which have different options.

Still not solved for me.

    Greg M.
    February 14th, 2013 on 10:19 am

    Who is the service provider for your email account? Delegation is generally reserved exclusively for Exchange account types for corporate customers.

June 25th, 2013 on 3:24 am

Thanks – very helpful, clear message … one sent message at last

I had been worried that the sent message would not appear recorded on my (back-up) gmail server – but it did

Thank you

    Greg M.
    June 26th, 2013 on 9:59 am

    Your worry definitely makes sense as it does seem a little counterintuitive. Because of the fact that Gmail (like many of Google’s services) functions just a bit differently, whenever you are sending using their outgoing settings, it automatically “labels” the message as a sent message. The way Gmail works is actually far more efficient than the way most email systems work, but far less intuitive in many ways (such as this).

    Thanks so much for your comment.

September 26th, 2013 on 12:11 pm

What version was used when this article was created? I have Microsoft Outlook for Mac Version 14.1.0

In image 4 I don’t have that radio options under sent.

Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.

    September 26th, 2013 on 12:31 pm

    Ha! Nevermind. For some reason when I checked for updates through Outlook it stated everything was up to date. I go to the Microsoft site and it’s not! I’m now updated to 14.3.7 :)

      Greg M.
      September 27th, 2013 on 9:35 am

      Sorry about the late response Jennifer. It sounds like you were able to figure out your question without me, but these docs were done with Outlook 2011 14.3.3 and the current version is 14.3.7. Let me know if you should have additional questions.

January 9th, 2014 on 6:39 pm

Ah! Such a simple solution!! Thank you!!

Kristin M
March 26th, 2014 on 10:11 am

yay!! thank you!!

    Greg M.
    March 26th, 2014 on 1:16 pm

    You are very welcome!

Lola Watson
April 23rd, 2014 on 8:30 am

Thank you! This was such an easy fix.

    Greg M.
    April 23rd, 2014 on 9:15 am

    I’m glad it was helpful. Its one of those things that you would think would be automatic for a more advanced program like Outlook in 2014. Enjoy!

Syed Haider
May 10th, 2014 on 12:01 pm

I cannot get the folder tab in advanced settings of the mails in Microsoft outlook for Mac 2011 as I’m using pop account. Folder tab is only available if I select the mail as IMAP.

Can someone help me to get the folder tab for pop mail in Microsoft outlook for Mac 2011 ?

    Greg M.
    May 12th, 2014 on 9:49 am

    Hi there Syed, thanks for your comment and question, are you seeing duplicates of your sent messages in the GMail web interface?

Bob c
July 8th, 2014 on 4:47 pm

yep fixed easy .. tks

    Greg M.
    July 10th, 2014 on 3:17 pm

    You are welcome. Cheers!