When’s the last time you awoke with a start in the middle of the night with the realization that you haven’t checked your Hotmail account in months? Just think of all of those spams from Classmates.com sitting there unread.
A worse outcome is forgetting that you used your Hotmail or Gmail or Yahoo mail account for a Craigslist ad and then wondered for weeks why no one wanted your collection of bakelite camping dishes.
It’s actually rather easy to have all of your various e-mail accounts arrive in one inbox, whether you use Outlook or Apple’s mail program or whatever e-mail client you have.
I use Outlook and the wizard to add multiple e-mail accounts is very easy to use. On the Outlook Tools menu, you select Account Settings, and then click New. Follow the instructions.
The configuration is automatic but sometimes this doesn’t work. Then you have to click the Manually configure server settings or additional server types check box. You’ll usually be configuring a POP3 server named something like pop.domain.com (e.g. pop.comcast.net) as the incoming server and smtp.domain.com as the outgoing server.
Hotmail, unfortunately sucks in this regard. You can ONLY forward to accounts that end in hotmail.com, live.com, or a custom domain hosted on Live.
You can, however, set up Outlook to grab your Hotmail account and deliver it to your desktop without a visit to your browser. It requires you to get something called Outlook Connector, which is a free download from Microsoft.
After installing Outlook Connector, the next time you start Outlook it will ask if you want to add an account. Just follow the instructions.
With Gmail, you can forward e-mails or set up the Gmail account in Outlook.
- Log in to your Gmail account.
- Click Settings in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.
- Click Forward a copy of incoming mail to and fill in the e-mail address.
There are a number of options you can select here as well, like whether to leave a copy of the mail in the Gmail inbox.
You actually don’t have to forward the e-mail either. You can just set up your Gmail account in your e-mail client (e.g. Outlook).
- In Outlook, on the Tools menu, select Account Settings.
- Click New and follow the instructions.
If you choose to configure it manually, you’ll use pop.gmail.com and smtp.gmail.com as the incoming and outgoing servers.
If you’re not that tech-minded, don’t worry. You’re not going to break anything doing this.
How did we get to this place where we have multiple phone numbers and e-mail accounts and Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts to manage? It makes life complicated but the instructions above can make it a little easier. You can also set up rules in your client application to schlep e-mails from various accounts into subfolders upon arrival to keep them separate and keep your inbox from looking like the picture above.