Tips for working with multiple email accounts

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Occasional Contributor

I have a lot of professional work accounts for different organizations I work with, and managing them from within Outlook 2016 is difficult, and sapping productivity.  In total I have 7 accounts that I manage in Outlook, three Office 365 accounts through Microsoft, one 365 account through a partner (GoDaddy), two GSuite accounts, and an IMAP account.  Five of these accounts are active enough that I receive and reply to mail daily.  The other two are legacy accounts that aren't active, but that I still need to monitor for the stray email that is important that comes in.

 

Dealing with this in Desktop Outlook is really messy in a bunch of different ways:

 

1) The most obvious is the lack of a unified inbox, which makes even seeing which accounts have new messages difficult.  I've made the Inbox and Sent folder for the 5 active accounts "favorites" which helps a bit, but is messy and makes navigating to the non-favorite accounts difficult, since I don't have much vertical space on my laptop screen.

 

2) Searching for a message across accounts is also not great, since I have to always change the default to all accounts.

 

3) Calendaring events onto the right calendar is a multistep process.  I typically start by dragging the email from the correct account to the calendar, but then it wants to put it on the default calendar, not the account that the email came from.

 

4) Working with add-ins is weird and inconsistent across accounts.  Some add-ins only seem to work with the primary account, others only with the account that installed it (which has to be an Office 365 account), others work with multiple accounts, but not all for reasons unknown (for example, with my Zoom plugin, I'm able to send meeting invites from 4 of the 7 accounts, but not 3 others, including two of the 365 accounts, and the email account that is linked to the Zoom account)

 

I imagine with the number of consultants on this board, I'm not alone in having to manage multiple addresses.  Hoping there might be some ways to work more efficiently either while using desktop Outlook, or by working from OWA, or perhaps by migrating to a different mail client altogether?

2 Replies
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@mlaps 

 

Not the answer you are looking for I imagine, but in Outlook for Mac, the unified inbox works beautifully.  It's odd that the same option is not available on Windows.  

 

From what you've described, I think you've probably made it work as well as you can with the available functionality at the moment.

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@PeterRising 

 

Thanks for the reply.  Yeah, I've found it strange that not only does Outlook for Mac have this feature, but so do the mobile apps, and it works very well.

 

If this is as good as I can make it with Outlook, I think I'll need to try some alternative solutions, and see if they can work better.  I use Thunderbird for my personal email accounts and it has a unified inbox option, but the HTML editor is pretty limited, as is the calendar integration, so doesn't seem like a great option for business. Anyone have any experience with Mailbird?  It supports multiple accounts and a unified Inbox.  Pricing seems pretty reasonable as well.