If you are using Outlook with Gmail over IMAP, you might have noticed a really annoying problem: if you flag an email in Outlook, or use the Star feature in Gmail, you’ll often end up with duplicate items in the To-Do bar.

The reason this happens is because Gmail’s IMAP shows the same item in multiple folders, for instance when you’ve labeled an email it will show up in the label folder as well as All Mail and the Inbox, even though it’s the same email. Outlook can’t tell the difference.

The fix is to tell the To-Do bar to ignore any tasks that are in other folders other than All Mail.

Fixing Duplicate Flagged Items

Right-click anywhere in the To-Do pane’s task area, and then choose Filter from the menu:

Choose the Advanced tab, and then add a new rule by manually typing in the values into the fields:

  • Field: In Folder
  • Value: All Mail

Make sure you type them in exactly (note that you can navigate the menu to find the “In Folder” item), and once you are done click on the Add to List button before you leave this screen.

Make sure that your list now contains the new item before you click the OK button:


Note: If you have more than one mail account and also flag messages in those, you will need to add an extra rule for including those folders as well. Alternatively you could block only certain folders using this method.

You’ll probably have to do a Send/Receive before the items disappear from the list.

You could also exclude items from All Mail by reversing the condition to exclude instead.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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