Create Gmail labels and make Entourage folders

A couple of folks have written and asked for ideas about making the move from Gmail POP to IMAP. They already have their mail downloaded into Entourage but IMAP will download that mail again. This could take a while depending on how much mail is in the INBOX.

Entourage will sync all messages in your INBOX if you have Live Sync enabled (see the Configure advanced IMAP settings section in my earlier post Connect Entourage 2004 to Gmail’s IMAP service) and the folder that is currently selected. The rest sit quietly waiting to be selected but doing nothing.

Avoid downloading all your mail at once by using specially formatted Gmail labels. These will appear as folders in Entourage.

  1. Log in to your Gmail account at and locate the Labels box to the left of your messages. Click the Edit Labels link.

  2. Create new labels using the Create a new label field. Prefix each new label with [Gmail]/ and click the Create button.

  3. Label mail in your INBOX and then delete those messages from your INBOX. Your messages will still appear under your label.
  4. In Entourage right-click or Control-click your Gmail account name in the folder list and select Receive Complete Folder List from the contextual menu. Your new labels will appear as folders.

To synchronize any messages in any of your Entourage folders just select the folder and allow messages to download.

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31 comments to Create Gmail labels and make Entourage folders

  • awesome.. so I followed the instructions on here and now my Entourage shows just my labels from Gmail (and none of its own – “junk e-mail” for example).
    My Gmail still had [Imap]/Deleted Items & [Imap]/Drafts. And also “Junk E-mail” and “Sent Items”.
    I deleted those from within Gmail.
    How come you still have those?

  • brilliant feature of google imap….
    it work without labelling in a suggested way also.. the only difference would be folders are displayed in main list..
    again awesome.. complete syncronization between entourage and gmail… love it

  • Deborah

    Hello. This has been extremely useful, especially because I have never used Entourage before. So, a couple of basic questions.
    1. Is it two-way automatic syncing? If I move an email address in Entourage, it’ll automatically be labeled in Gmail and vise-versa?
    2. Is there a way for some messages in Gmail NOT to show up in Entourage? For example, I have emails that I archive in Gmail but I do not want cluttering up my Entourage files.

  • Thanks for this post and the other one about setting up Entourage to use IMAP for Gmail. It was really helpful for me and it works perfectly!

  • oli

    thanks so much for a helpful blog. really saved me stacks of time.
    Also to shahryar, great stuff on copying to a temp gmail account to maintain metadata.

  • Big John

    First off, Kudos for one of the clearest and best written set of instructions I have ever seen!
    Now having said that, it is embarrassing to report that I can not get my folders to sync with gmail!
    I created the [gmail]/folders on gmail then I selected Receive Complete Folder List in Entourage as described – it highlighted and immediately I could see it checking with gmail and and and – nada, nothing, zip. Have closed and reopened both programs – even did a complete restart without any effect.
    My email does show up in Entourage in-folder, but no other folder showed up.
    I then tried creating a new Entourage folder – moved a few files into it and viola – it showed up on gmail with those messages!
    Ideally I would like to be able to keep my knology email in the same folder with the new gmail so I can easily trace the previous messages that apply from 2 years ago. I have a HUGE base of messages that I need to refer to.
    Any suggestions?

  • Guillermo

    Indeed, gmail allows you to create folders (labels) from within Entourage. Just like with local folders, right click on your account name to create top-level folders. Right click on any folder to create subfolders. The labels will be automatically created in gmail as ‘folder/subfolder’. You can also move folders around from within Entourage and the change will be reflected in gmail.
    I recently switched to Google Apps and this has worked like a charm. However, my gmail labels do not show [Gmail] or [Imap] prefixes. I don’t know why (and honestly don’t care, unless there is some advantage to it that I should know about.)
    Gmail filters also work perfectly with IMAP (messages are automatically removed from the INBOX -archived- and moved the the appropriate folder), and Entourage does a great job reflecting this functionality.

  • lujosalgo

    super useful as I was able to set up my gmail imap accounts on Entourage 2008 thanks to your posts… but I cannot get the FOLDER to work. I have many labels created in gmail, yet when I control-click on my gmail account on entourage and select RECEIVE COMPLETE FOLDER… nothing happens… any advice? Note I am using Entourage 2008… thanks!

  • William M. Smith

    I just tested this idea and it may be what you’re seeing:
    You may need to subscribe to your folders after receiving the list. Select your Gmail account in the folders list on the left and you’ll see all sub-folders on the right. Those that are grayed are “unsubscribed” folders. Right-click or Control-click an unsubscribed folder and select “Subscribe”.
    Likewise, if you have folders you’d prefer not to see then you can select Unsubscribe.

  • lujosalgo

    Thanks! I found the issue… I forgot to name properly my previously created gmail folders… once I logged in into gmail and changed the labels to [Gmail] name of label, everything worked fine… thanks for the help!

  • Carrington Weems

    This Blog has been really helpful in the transition from POP to IMAP on Gmail. I recently upgraded a computer, reinstalled Entourage 2008 and I cannot figure out or find a setting. I have mail folders and subfolders in Entourage (filters and sub-filters correspond in Gmail). Entourage shows proper “unread” count in the INBOX but not in any subfolders UNLESS I click on that subfolder.
    Before I re-installed Entourage 2008 my subfolders would stay in sync and show the current “unread” count. Any help would be appreciated.

  • William M. Smith

    Have a look at step 12 in my prior post Connect Entourage 2004 to Gmail’s IMAP service.
    Do you have the option Only connect to Inbox selected? If so, uncheck it.

  • Carrington Weems

    I followed your entire “recipe” verbatim and it was perfect on my prior installation. In this case, I did toggle OFF the ‘Only connect to Inbox’, quit the program, relaunched it and no joy. If I click on any subfolder, the click back to INBOX I can see it run thru checking all the subfolders in the status bar at bottom, but it will not kick up an “unread” indicator.
    I was thinking it may be in the ‘Edit Schedules/Send and Receive All/Action/Receive Mail/Click Here for advanced options/Synchronization’ settings, but I can’t get a configuration that works there either.

  • William M. Smith

    Are you sure you have unread messages in those folders? Reading them on another machine or online will mark them as “read”.
    You can also try right-clicking or Control-clicking each folder and selecting Refresh Message List.

  • Carrington Weems

    Yes, well what I am doing is marking a filtered message from the Inbox as unread. It does not cycle back to unread on that folder. When I see that folder (Filter) in the Gmail interface it correctly shows as unread in both the Gmail Inbox and the Gmail Subfolder (Subfilter).
    Your suggestion to right click Refresh Message List on each folder will definitely work, but that is what I am trying to NOT have to do! Actually all I have to do is left click once on the subfolder in Entourage, and it will refresh it and it will show properly.
    This is only a minor frustration, but since it WAS working and not it is not, I have dug in trying to figure it out!

  • Carrington Weems

    By the way, if I read the filtered message from the INBOX it will not refresh to show that it is ‘read’ in the subfolder either until I click that subfolder. (if that tells you anything).

  • William M. Smith

    The last thing that comes to mind is again under the Options tab of your Gmail IMAP account and that is the very last item you can select “Check for unread messages in subscribed folders”. If selecting that doesn’t work then I’m at a loss.
    If that doesn’t work then be sure to post your question in the Entourage newsgroup . More eyes will see your message there.

  • Galen Richards

    I’m also having the same problem getting my IMAP folders to show how many unread messages they contain. It basically defeats the purpose of filtering messages at all because you don’t even know you have a new message unless you check all the folders now. I’m thinking it might have something to do with Gmail’s implementation of folders/labels. If anyone has figured this one out please post it.

  • Galen Richards

    Success! Go to Tools -> Run Schedule -> Edit Schedule. Open the send & receive all schedule and edit the account options to have it sync all the folders you want.

  • Carrington Weems

    I swear, I knew it was in there. Thank you for finding the solution, BAD for POSTING it. That was all it took.

  • technolawyer

    Bless you Galen. Thank you. Let’s hope William writes up this issue in a post for more visibility.

  • Christo Acosta

    I know I’m a bit late to the party, but thanks for the tip about editing the schedule! I was having exactly the same issue myself!

  • Matt K

    What is sad is the fact I called microsoft support over a year ago and they resolved my case as a bug. This behavior changed in one of the updates that “fixed unread counts”. And this is all it took? I have been using Mac Mail for the last year because of this one MAJOR bug!!!

  • Adam W.

    You are a hero!!! Thank you so much for your pages on GMAIL IMAP with Entourage! It helped greatly!!!
    One quick question…
    Regarding removing the multiple trees after getting the IMAP connection set-up. I am wondering if doing this will kill the personalized folders in Entourage. You mention that it will replace Entourage’s standard folders (spam, inbox, etc) with those of Gmail, but I don’t want to lose my personalized folders on Entourage.
    Thanks for your advice!
    Denver, CO

  • Thank you, Adam!
    My guess about redoing the tree is that this shouldn’t cause any problems. You will see Entourage empty your Gmail cache, which means it will delete everything from Entourage, but then everything should sync from the server again. I just removed the root and then added it back with no problems.
    As always, though, if this is really important to you then make sure you can restore from backups.

  • Rich M

    I have set up IMAP Gmail account – working well after I read the tutorial from Bill.
    I have 30 or so entourage folders that I have used to sort older emails prior to archiving them to database.
    To get the emails in these folders to IMAP, I created a new folder under the Gmail section of the folders list in entourage and then tried to copy the messages from the old entourage folder to the new Gmail folder. Some of the emails copied over and they uploaded to Gmail with the new label.
    Is there a better way to do this?

  • Hi Rich!
    I would say that this is the way to do it. This puts your messages back on the server as directly as possible and labels them accordingly.

  • John

    Could I setup entourage 2008 to NOT download messages, rather view all messages on the server, and if I disconnect my ethernet/wifi, I loose all my messages?
    I’d rather not build an email d/b on my macbook, and keep it on the server. Same with my exchange at work.

  • Hi John!
    That’s simply the nature of IMAP and Exchange. Outlook for Windows offers “online” viewing of mail but Entourage will always sync. No getting around it.

  • Matic

    Why do I have to put [Gmail]/ prefix at gmail labels? I synced without this, and everything seems to be working fine. Any secret stuff that I’m not aware of?

  • If you’ve followed the instructions in my prior blog post Connect Entourage 2004 to Gmail’s IMAP service then you’ll see that labels in Google Mail do not appear as mail folders in Entourage without this prefix.
    If you’ve opted not to include the “[Gmail]/” prefix in your IMAP account settings then these instructions may not apply to you. However, I encourage you to do so. I provide an illustration in the link above showing the difference it makes.