Using Microsoft Outlook 2010 with FastMail

Microsoft has released a public beta for Office 2010 including a new release of Outlook.

The good news is that Microsoft has improved the Outlook user experience when connecting to an IMAP-based email service such as FastMail.

The biggest improvement over Outlook 2010: The ability to specify a “Trash” folder on the server.  Outlook will now behave in a similar manner to the FastMail web interface, that is, when you delete an item it will be moved from its current folder into the Trash folder.  This removes the annoying strikeout interface in Outlook.

The following will list the steps to use your FastMail account with Outlook 2010.   If you upgrade from a previous version of Outlook it will import your settings, you would simply have to update the Deleted Items behavior (step 19 below).

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  1. Open Outlook 2010, it may ask you to setup a new account.  If it does not, you can add a new email account by clicking on the File menu, choose Info, then click the Account Settings button.
  2. Outlook will present a list of accounts (in a new installation, this would be blank).   Click “New…” under the Email tab
  3. Choose “Manually configure server settings” at bottom of page.  (click Next)
  4. Choose “Internet E-Mail” (click Next)
  5. Complete the form to look similar to the sample below.  Be sure to put your FastMail account name and password in correctly.
  6. Click the “More Settings…” button
  7. Under the General tab, you can choose a more friendly name for your email account (Outlook defaults to your email address).  In the example below, it was changed to: Bob Jones – FastMail.
  8. Click on Outgoing Server tab,  check the box next to “My Outgoing Server requires authentication”
  9. Click on Advanced tab.
    Under Incoming Server, use SSL type of encrypted connection (instead of None)
    Under Outgoing Server, Use SSL type of connection (instead of None)
    Change Outgoing Server port to 465 (from 25)
  10. If you are an individual user (or a business/family user who does NOT use shared folders), set Root Folder Path to INBOX
    If you are a Business user who uses shared folders, leave Root Folder blank.
  11. Press OK to close the “More Settings” window
  12. Press Next
  13. You should receive a Congratulations message from Outlook.  Click Finish.
  14. If you changed the Root Folder Path, you will see a warning, just click OK, this is normal.
  15. Once the Account Settings screen reappears, highlight your FastMail account again.  Press “Change…” above.
  16. Press the “More Settings” button
  17. We can now establish the locations for your Sent and Deleted Items folders.
  18. First select the Sent Items tab, find the Sent Items folder under your FastMail account name.  If your Sent Items is not listed, you may need to click the “More Folders…” button and press the Query button to have Outlook learn all of the server folder names.
  19. Finally, click on the Deleted Items tab, locate your Trash folder under your FastMail account name.
  20. Press OK to close the dialog box.
  21. Click Next, then click Finish.  Finally, press the Close button.  Your configuration is complete

Some other tips:

You may want to drag your “Personal Folders” to be below the FastMail account folders.  Once you have FastMail, you will not be searching Personal Folders for new mail.  Instead, all new mail will arrive in the Email account folders you have just linked to your FastMail account.


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How To Configure Blackberry to Communicate with FastMail

The following instructions describe how to configure a Blackberry to connect to your FastMail account.

There is one prerequisite. A Blackberry utilizes the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) to provide email/data services to the phones. Typically, a Blackberry user will sign up for a data plan when they acquire the phone. This is includes BIS.

To configure BIS to connect to FastMail, you need to configure the BIS plan.

This can be performed in 2 locations.
1. Use the phone itself, Choose the Icon called Setup, then Email Setup
2. Go to the appropriate provider’s website to configure.

Some providers are listed here:

During initial phone setup, you may have been provided with a userid/password to the BIS site. If not, you can register for one. You’ll need some information from the phone (the PIN and MEID can be found usually in the phone’s status page).

In general, it is easier to setup the service using the website than using the phone, but either will work.

Once logged in:

  1. Choose “I want to create or add an email address”
  2. Enter your FastMail userid and password (twice)
  3. The system will autoconfigure most everything.
  4. You should receive a confirmation message that the account has been established.
  5. Unfortunately, BIS will sometimes choose the wrong email server name.
  6. Once you have saved the account. Edit the account, go to the Advanced settings, type in mail.messagingengine.com as the mail server.

Note, it will typically take BIS 20 minutes to start delivery of email to your device. In addition, the device will typically only show the last 30 days of email in the Blackberry Inbox.

The latest BIS improvements will should automatically save your sent email directly into your SentItems folder inside your FastMail account.

The following shows two screen shots from the Blackberry website demonstrating the proper configuration.

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New login page

Although we changed it less than 6 months ago, and despite it being a big improvement over the old home page, we haven’t been 100% happy with our new home/login page. There wasn’t enough information “above the fold” for new customers looking to signup.

So as mentioned recently, we’ve been developing new login and landing that we’ve trialled on our beta server, and we’ve now rolled those out to all users.

For existing customers, there’s little to no difference. The login box is still near the top on the right hand side. For new customers though, we believe this page contains more relevant information in a more concise form.

Comments welcome, please send them to jackm@fastmail.fm.

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