I’m trying to set a reminder on a message but I only have the option to flag it or to clear the flag. There are no options such as Today, Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week, etc… which I’m supposed to get.
This might have something to do with the fact that I’m using a IMAP account.
Is there still a way to mark my messages for follow up or at least get them to show up as a Task in my To-Do Bar?
When you are using an IMAP account, you do not have the option to set a custom Follow Up Flag with a reminder. This is a limitation of the IMAP protocol itself which doesn’t support reminder flags.
However, when you flag it with a normal flag, it will still show up in your To-Do Bar but under the “No Date” group.
As a workaround, you can drag and drop the message on a Tasks folder or create a Quick Step to turn a message into a Task with reminder without losing the actual message itself.
Follow Up options for IMAP messages are very limited.
Drag & drop e-mail message on Tasks Folder or Tasks Navigation
A quick workaround, which works in any version of Outlook, is to drop the message onto a Tasks folder or onto the Task Navigation button in the left bottom corner of Outlook. This will automatically create a new Task with the same subject of the message and the message text copied into the body of the Task.
You can now quickly set a reminder by using the Follow Up option of the Task form or set a custom reminder by using the date and time fields.
Follow Up options for Tasks in an IMAP mailbox allows you to set a Reminder.
If you’d rather have the original message attached to the Task, you can drag & drop the e-mail message with your right mouse button to get the option “Copy Here as Task with Attachment”.
To create a Task with the message attached, drag & drop
with your right mouse button instead.
Extra Tip: If you don’t like using drag & drop, you can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+Y top open the “Copy Items” dialog and select the Tasks folder. This won’t give you the “with Attachment” option though.
Create a Quick Step to turn an e-mail message into a Task
You can speed up the above process by using a Quick Step and also assign a custom shortcut to it.
- From the Quick Steps gallery, choose: Create New
- Name your Quick Step.
For instance; Create Follow Up Task
- From the Choose an Action list select one of the following:
- Create a task with attachment
- Create a task with text of message
- Optionally: Select a keyboard shortcut combination.
- Optionally: Type a description for your Quick Step.
- Press Finish.
Executing the Quick Step will result in a new Task just like via the drag & drop method but this is easier and quicker to execute.
By using a Quick Step, creating a Follow Up Task for a message in an IMAP mailbox becomes much easier.
Full Follow Up Menu for Tasks in Outlook for Office 365, 2019, 2016 and 2013
The careful observer might have noticed that the Follow Up flag menu for Tasks in the screenshot above only lists 2 options and not all flagging presets and additional options.
This can happen when you only have an IMAP account configured in Outlook for Office 365, 2019, 2016 or 2013. In these versions of Outlook, the IMAP mailbox in Outlook can also contain non-mail folders like Calendar, Contacts and Tasks.
Unfortunately, this has various downsides such as limited support for Follow Up, Reminders and Categories. There also is a backup concern since the Tasks data can’t be synched with the IMAP server (see the next section for more information about that).
The solution to get the full Follow Up menu for Task items is to reconfigure Outlook in such a way, that your Tasks folder is stored within a pst-file. Details about how to do that can be found in Don’t risk losing your Contacts and Calendar when using IMAP in Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, or Office 365.
Backing up your Tasks folder
As IMAP accounts do not support Tasks, these Tasks are being created in your local data file and do not sync with the mail server hosting the IMAP account.
For Outlook 2010 and previous, this means that you’ll need to backup your additional main pst-file.
In Outlook for Office 365, 2019, 2016 and 2013, this data is kept within the ost-file of your IMAP account itself and this ost-file can’t be restored.
This means that you either need to export the Tasks folder to make a backup or reconfigure Outlook as discussed in Don’t risk losing your Contacts and Calendar when using IMAP in Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019, or Office 365.
This last approach is recommended as this will allow you to store your Contacts, Calendar and Tasks items within a pst-file which is easy to backup and restore.