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).

  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

  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. 

  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

  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 -

  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
    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

  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

  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.