I use Outlook 2011 as my preferred "offline" mail client but have a need to use my online Gmail account as my primary day-to-day mail client (job-mandated plugins etc).

I have Outlook syncing my gmail over imap quite happily.

What I'd like to know is: can I have my email auto-syncing to Outlook in the background without actually launching Outlook itself?  Perhaps there's a background sync service lying around somewhere that doesn't require the main app to be open?

My intention is to have Outlook reasonably up-to-date for those times when I need to go offline but be using my gmail in the browser when online.

I am amenable to replacing Outlook with another app such as Apple Mail provided I don't have a major battle getting things like signatures working properly (as has happened to me in the past with Apple Mail).

1 Answer 1


No, there isn't a way to do this in Outlook, Apple Mail, or any other mail client that I'm aware of. The closest that you could come would be to launch Outlook and close its window, which should keep Outlook syncing.

  • Indeed, you cannot sync inside a program if you don't run it. ;) Running it un background is the only solution for this then.
    – Rob
    Apr 4, 2013 at 7:14
  • what I was hoping was that Outlook might have an independent sync service that didn't require the main program to be run - plenty of apps have something like that. But alas, it seems not to be.
    – LRE
    Apr 4, 2013 at 18:39
  • Neither Outlook nor Apple Mail nor any other mail app that I'm aware of has such an independent sync service. This would be a significant amount of development time.
    – nadyne
    Apr 4, 2013 at 21:03

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