How to Setup IMAP Gmail in Outlook 2016 without Facing Empty PST Files.

User Query - “Outlook 2016 Exporting IMAP Gmail to PST creates empty PST, Manual move destroys email permanently - Help!”

This is the user’s query when he tried to export IMAP Gmail to PST that created Empty PST File even having huge size. You may be surprised to see that these PST files do not contain anything that means that PST files are huge in size but empty!! To solve this issue, we're going to look at some solutions in this blog.

What is the Issue?

When exporting Gmail to PST with IMAP, it creates an empty PST file when opening to Outlook. So, the problem is that with the PST file created in Outlook 2016 having a size of 6 GB, but when the folders are selected to open, no emails are found.

So, this is the main issue lets move forward to know the solutions for solving the issue. This issue can be solved by changing the view of the folder to "IMAP". Go ahead to understand properly.

So to add Gmail IMAP to Outlook set the "Root folder path" option. Follow the steps below:

Methods to solve “ IMAP Gmail to PST creates Empty PST File” problem?

There are many measures to solve this problem as given below:

Setting the Root Folder for IMAP Account

  1. Initially, open the Account Settings tab.
  2. For Outlook 2007
    • Visit tools>>Account Settings>> tab E-mail.
      For Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2016
    • Go to File>>section Info>>Account Settings button >>Account Settings>>tab E-mail.
    • To open the account settings double click on your IMAP account.
    • Hit on More Settings button.
    • Choose the Advanced tab.
    • At the bottom, give the Root folder path option.
    • Then for Gmail, set option to Gmail.
  1. You will receive a notification that your IMAP cache needs to be restored after setting the option and verifying your way out of all the opened dialogs.
  2. In some instances, the Sent Items and Deleted Items folder will need to be configured again for the Gmail IMAP account.
Gmail IMAP account
afterGmail IMAP account
After(Using [Gmail] as the root folder)

Return your labels to Outlook

  1. Now, Use [Gmail] as the mailbox root folder. Labels are created on a higher level then you will not be able to see your Gmail Label folders in Outlook.
  2. One way around this is to prefix [ Gmail]/ for each of your labels. Thus a label called My Label 1 can be changed via the Gmail web interface to [ Gmail]/My Label 1.
  3. You can also create a [ Gmail ] label and configure My Label 1 as a nested [Gmail] label instead of prefixing the labels.

Make Group of Labels

Since you're working on Outlook's [ Gmail ] root folder now, you'll see all of your labels just under your main mailbox. This could end up being a long list and make it more difficult to remember the system folders in Gmail-

  1. To fix this, create a new label in the web interface under the [ Gmail ] label and name it "Labels," for example. Now you can build a nested Label of the Labels folder for all your own Labels.
  2. Additionally, as the / character is used as a separator to indicate a subfolder, you can also prefix your labels with [ Gmail]/Labels/.

Make Subfolders in Outlook and Labels in Gmail

If you want to create a subfolder in the Inbox folder, the Label INBOX / My subfolder will be generated in the Gmail web interface. This is the final step to solve the settings of IMAP Gmail to Outlook.

  1. You can use the Gmail web interface to create a new label: [ Gmail]/Inbox / My subfolder.
  2. Unlike any INBOX/name subfolders, [ GMAIL]/Inbox/ prefixed folders will appear as an Inbox subfolder in Outlook even when the mailbox is rooted in [ Gmail ].

These are all manual approaches for Gmail IMAP settings in Outlook to solve the issue. This is a lengthy process for converting Gmail to PST. So, for this, we have an expert solution i.e Gmail Email Converter utility. With this software, you can quickly convert Gmail to PST without any manual hassle.


This blog is based on a user query “IMAP Gmail to PST Creates Empty PST File” that is generated because of the Gmail IMAP settings in Outlook. Therefore, we have given all the possible ways to solve this issue and also a direct way for Gmail to PST conversion.

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