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How to disable subscribing to IMAP folders in Outlook?

By default all IMAP folders are added and subscribed into Microsoft Outlook when you add an IMAP email account. In some cases, you may not want to subscribe and update your private IMAP folder in Outlook. In this article, I will show you how to disable subscribing to a specified IMAP folder in Outlook easily.

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To disable subscribing to IMAP folders in Microsoft Outlook, please do as following:
Step 1: Shift to the Mail view, and click one IMAP folder you will disable subscribing to in the Navigation Pane.

Step 2: Click the IMAP folders button on the Folder tab. See screen shot:

Note: If you are using Outlook 2007, please click the Tools > IMAP Folders.
Step 3: In the popping up IMAP folders dialog box, click the Query button.

Step 4: Click to highlight the IMAP folder you will disable subscribing on the Subscribed tab, click the Unsubscribe button, and then click the OK button to exit this dialog box. See screen shot:

Then you will notice although the specified IMAP folder remains on the Navigation Pane, it has stopped subscribing in your Microsoft Outlook.

Note: If you want to subscribe to a specified IMAP folder which you have disabled subscribing before, please get into the IMAP Folders dialog box firstly, secondly click the Query button, next click to highlight the IMAP folder on the All tab, then click the Subscribe button.


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    Dave C · 1 years ago
    The problem I'm finding, is after changing from POP3 to IMAP, all folders are sync'd to my server.
    Even if I unsubscribe a folder, restart Outlook, if I delete an email in that folder, it deletes on the server. Same if I delete something on the server it deletes on my PC (in the unsubscribed folder). Seems the subscribe/unsubscribe does nothing.
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    Kelly Lentz · 2 years ago
    This is interesting and I wonder if it would help me. I sometimes have 'space' issues with our email...i.e. we keep everything and go over our limit with our provider. If I were to create a folder and 'unlink' it from IMAP, would that remove the emails from our server...therefore free up space?
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    Ralph Perry · 2 years ago
    I am using an Outlook 2016 email client that has an IMAP connection to a Gmail server, and did not find this method to be completely effective. I was able to disable subscribing for some folders, but there is a group of folders for which unsubscribing is disallowed:
    [Gmail]/Drafts
    [Gmail]/Sent Mail
    [Gmail]/Spam
    [Gmail]/Trash
    [Gmail]/Inbox
    [Gmail]/Sent Items

    When I attempted to unsubscribe from these folders, in each case I got a message stating that I could not unsubscribe from that folder, that it was a special folder and could not be unsubscribed from in Outlook.

    For several years, I have used my Outlook Inbox and Sent Mail as email message repositories, saving emails from different mail servers. Synchronization with the Gmail server deleted all messages not found on the Gmail server, which included all of my email history from previous email accounts. So, this limitation had a great impact on me, and perhaps other users as well.

    Every time I perform a Send/Receive operation, these folders are synchronized, greatly extending the time it takes for a Send/Receive to complete. I don't know if this problem only occurs with Gmail accounts, but it is a significant limitation to the method, and I would suggest that a note be added to the description advising users of this potential limitation.

    --Ralph Perry
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      Sue Duffy · 2 years ago
      Same here - as to the synchronizing - don't care about mail on other devices I have a separate Gmail account on my iPhone that I only use on it, if necessary. Wish I had never switched to an imap from pop3.
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    Daniel · 2 years ago
    I have inadvertendly unsubscribed from an IMAP folder that I can now no longer re-subscribe to. When sending an empty Query in the IMAP Folders dialog, the folder used to show in the "Subscribed" tab, but not the "All" tab. I had selected the folder in the "Subscribed" tab and clicked Unsubscribe. The folder disappeared from the list. I want to re-subscribe to the folder, preferrably without having to delete and re-setup the entire IMAP account. But I can't get the folder to show up in the "All" tab to re-subscribe to it. The folder still shows up in Outlook's folder pane for said account. Any hints?
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      Scott · 1 years ago
      There is a checkbox at the bottom of the dialog box that if checked will only show subscribed folders in the list. Uncheck that box and then hit the query button again. This should cause any folder unsubscribed to, to reappear in the dialog box where you can then renew the subscription to that folder.