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Outlook.com makes it even easier to switch from Gmail

Today, we are announcing a new service that makes it easier than ever to import your Gmail account to Outlook.com. This will be rolling out to everyone over the coming weeks, so if you don’t have access to it yet, check back soon.

Growing frustration with outdated email services

When we first launched Outlook.com, we set out to shake up the world of personal email. We wanted to build a service that was personal and designed for modern devices, with a clean user experience and smart and powerful tools that let our customers get things done faster. The response to our work with Outlook.com has been overwhelmingly positive and we continue to be humbled by how much so many of our customers love using it.

At the same time, there are people who aren’t quite as happy with their email service. For example, discontent with Gmail seems to be on the rise.  According to a recent study* by market research firm Ipsos, nearly 1 in 4 consumers would switch email providers if it was easier to do. That same study also highlighted the areas that customers identified as most important; these include ensuring ads don’t interfere with the email experience (70%), offering advanced spam filters (69%), providing an easy-to-understand user interface (67%), and not scanning the contents of email to serve ads (58%). We have focused on many of these areas with Outlook.com, and so for those looking to make a change in their personal email provider, Outlook.com is a natural choice.

It’s easier than ever to switch

Of course, even if you are frustrated with your current provider, the thought of switching to a new service can seem daunting.  So we’ve introduced new functionality right into Outlook.com that does the heavy lifting for you. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps to connect your Gmail account (using OAuth) to your Outlook.com account (if you don’t already have one, it’s easy to get). This will import your Gmail emails into your Outlook.com inbox and, because you’ve connected both accounts, your Google contacts will automatically appear in Outlook.com. The structure of your inbox, including read/unread status of your emails, will be preserved. The new tool will even set up your Gmail address as a “send-only” account so you can continue to send email from your @gmail.com address, right from Outlook.com, if you still want to.

How it works

Below is an overview of how the process works. For detailed instructions, including information on your Gmail labels, you can visit our help site.

To begin, simply start the process here and sign in with your Outlook.com account. If you want all your mail from Gmail to be copied into a new set of subfolders, click Options and select that option, otherwise click Start.

Outlook.com gmail import start screen

You’ll then need to sign in to Gmail and grant the tool access to your account. Once you OK this, we’ll start copying email into your account and you’ll be navigated back to Outlook.com.

Gmail access authorization page

The mail that’s currently in your inbox will be copied from Gmail. We won’t make any changes to your Gmail account.

Once you start the import process, we’ll send you step-by-step instructions on how to set up email auto-forwarding. This enables your Gmail account to forward all your future email to Outlook.com.

Gmail auto-forwarding page

That’s it, you’re done! The rest, we’ll handle. The import happens in the background, so you can continue using Outlook.com or even log out while it’s happening. Once the import is complete, we’ll send you an email to let you know we’ve finished.

You can always return to Gmail and continue to use it in the way you always have. However, we’re confident that once you try Outlook.com, you’ll love it.

We encourage you to try the tool for yourself and tell us what you think.

–Naoto Sunagawa

*Study of 1,019 personal email users conducted online by Ipsos Public Affairs from November 5-13, 2013. The survey participants were all 18+ years old, and reflected the U.S. population of adults according to U.S. Census Bureau data.  Margin of error +/- 3.1 percentage points.  Commissioned by Microsoft Corp.

 

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68 comments
  1. This looks great. 1) Does it with google apps for your domain? 2) Does it only copy the inbox or can it copy all archived messages? 3) Does IMAP work better with Apple Mail than the current google/apple fail-fest?!

    • @Ivan – 1. it should work with any google account, 2. it will copy your archived messages 3. we haven’t heard any complaints about the new OSX update breaking IMAP for us

    • Yes, IMAP on Mail from Gmail is rubbish. Yes, IMAP on Mail from Outlook works just how you would expect it to!.

  2. Would love to see the same capability in moving to 365 from Google…

  3. Well, this is all nice, but really right now outlook.com is a pain to use if one wants to consolidate multiple other email addresses. I’m trying, but ever since you disabled the linked account option, it just is not good. Of course, back then you promised that there would be new features that would solve that scenario, but none of that has happened so far (as with sooo many promises by the outlook.com and skydrive team). The scenario I want to solve is to have one outlook.com account that receives and sends emails from multiple email addresses (some hosted on other providers like google). The major painpoint is the inability to select the "from" address in Outlook 2013, windows phone or any other mobile device, essentially meaning that this setup only works if one is using the web interface or win8 app. Really not practical…

    • @ David – we understand the scenario and hope to make this better in the future

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  5. This is nice and everything, but where is the automatic mark as read feature that we have in Outlook and Exchange and, most of all, in Gmail? That is why I have not switched yet.

  6. Well, I’ve just set up an Outlook account and imported my Gmail stuff as described. Unfortunately I don’t appear to have had any Gmail messages since 2008. Painful. And where’s the ‘delete forever’ button?

  7. I am using Google Apps for my Domain and would like to switch to Outlook.com using Windows Live Domains.

    Can I still use this import feature in my scenario (**the Gmail and Outlook accounts would have an identical email address**)?

    Can I do this without importing my Gmail contacts?

    Can I do this without setting up Gmail as a "Send-only" account since the address is the same?

    Will this import the "Chats" history (they are exposed as emails via IMAP in clients)?

    Will this import "Sent" items as well?

    • Great questions.

      For my family, I have their personal email domains set up redundantly at Google Apps for Business, Outlook.com (with Windows Live Domains), and Exchange Online / Office 365. It gets complicated setting up MX relays and forwarders among the services…

      (I myself stick with a combination of FastMail, Tuffmail, and other providers popular on EMD.)

      FYI the two Microsoft offerings can apparently co-exist because Outlook.com uses consumer Microsoft Accounts while Exchange Online uses organizational Office 365 IDs.

      Note that O365 already supports batch mail migration from IMAP sources, which can be Google/Gmail. But unlike Outlook.com, O365 (OWA) doesn’t support linking to Google Contacts. You would need to do a one-time CSV import for contacts (and one-time ICS import for calendar).

      What I’m not clear on is that this new Outlook.com feature uses OAuth. Does it in fact import Gmail messages via IMAP, or the Google API?

        • Somewhat off topic, but one of the initial reasons I started transitioning family members from Google Apps for Business, is the whole Exchange ActiveSync brouhaha between Google and Microsoft.

          Google dropped EAS support for free Gmail accounts going forward, then in retaliation Microsoft blocked EAS access to all Google email accounts (even the paid ones) in the Windows 8 Mail app.

          The latest Outlook 2013 also added support for EAS connections (which is used to access Hotmail/Outlook.com without needing a connector plugin), but again not for any Google accounts even the paid ones. But at least Google Apps for Business has always provided its own Outlook MAPI plugin for similar access. It hasn’t always been the most reliable method, but works well enough.

  8. Nice to hear. Unfortunately I just did this a few weeks ago and used a paid service for it for several accounts! I hope to see Outlook.com continue to improve as a better alternative to GMail.

  9. whats going on with outlook.com EAS Server? Since 5 days i can get a connection to the EAS server with Outlook 2013!!! Where is the problem. i tried m.hotmail.com (this used from beginning and had worked), s.outlook.com, dub-m.hotmail.com.. nothing worked. how can i fix this?

    and whats about CardDav or CalDav support for outlook.com?

    • As we mentioned, it’s rolling out over the coming weeks, not everyone has it yet,check back soon.

      • Ah sorry- missed that part. Guess I was just a little too eager to try this out!

  10. New feature suggestion: UNDO SEND. please?

    • Sadly, that’s pretty doubtful. You have to get both email servers to work together for that, and I doubt they will work together to make that happen. Exchange servers are really good about that though.

  11. I don’t understand. Does this mean that if do all this on Monday, then on Tuesday I can go into Gmail and read and respond to a bunch of emails, and all those emails will be read and sent on Wednesday? Because that’s what connecting accounts sounds like to me.

    Or are the accoutns synced up on Monday and permanently forked thereafter?

    This is only interesting to me if Outlook is providing a live view into what my Gmail account looks like.

    • Pretty sure it’s a one-time thing. Once your emails are migrated, they won’t sync after that.

    • The contacts stay in sync (so you can use gchat if you like), mail is a one time copy.

      • Sorry, it’s useless to me then.

  12. Import process stopped after about 5 minutes with the following email:

    From: Outlook.com Team (member_services@outlook.com)
    Sent: 12 December 2013 13: 25PM
    To: ####@outlook.com

    Your import has been stopped
    Your total message exceed your current limit
    Here are the results
    Email
    Importing your total email messages will exceed your current limit. Please reduce the number of messages to be imported and run import again.
    In your Outlook.com account, delete all imported messages and any unneeded messages, including the Deleted and Junk folders.
    In your Gmail account, delete any unneeded messages, especially those with large attachments. Also, messages with multiple labels are imported multiple times, one for each label, so removing unneeded labels can significantly reduce the size of the total import.

    • How big is your mailbox? I thought one of the new features of Outlook.com was no storage limits?

    • From what I understood, newly created or newly used Outlook.com accounts have an initial storage limit of 5GB (or 10GB if you purchase the Ad-free upgrade for $20/year).

      The storage is supposed to gradually increase if you bump against the limit, *and* if you have built up the account "reputation". No clue what this means exactly, supposedly something to do with usage patterns and length of time?

      I’d love to be proven wrong or get more info?

      • IF Outlook.com does still impose a 5GB initial storage limit, this obviously can pose a problem for migrating Gmail users, as free Gmail accounts have a 15GB limit (shared with Google Drive and Google+ Photos).

        Frankly I would’ve expected Outlook.com to remove this obstacle when releasing the new Gmail import feature?

  13. Please allow me to suggest something useful for outlook.com. I have been using Outlook for nearly a year and found this simple yet beautiful. Outlook team should come up with new idea of importing yahoo mails to outlook including Yahoo mail folders ( ofcourse with some condition like "Which folders you want to import?" etc) . Now yahoo mail has become a garbage mail, and there are lots of people complaining about its services after the deletion of the major features like tab view, folder view, draft saving without closing the compose window etc. So in my opinion if outlook.com comes up with tab view and yahoo mail import it will be a runaway success for sure. It’s not my personal opinion but a opinion about many people who using yahoo for more than 10 long years. Please consider it in next upgrade as soon as possible.

    • great suggestion! we’ll consider it.

  14. When I click on the link all I get is my normal outlook email page, am I missing something?

    • It’s rolling out slowly to all users, check back later if you don’t have it yet.

  15. Does this include calendars? Because I have multiple calendars in google apps with a personal domain and cannot view them on my windows phone 8 (gdr3 preview)

  16. Why do I need to setup auto-forwarding from my gmail account? Does this setup not allow outlook to automatically retrieve my gmail?

    • The service automatically retrieves any email in your Gmail mailbox, received before the time you start the import. For any subsequent emails to reach Outlook.com, you need to setup auto-forwarding.

  17. My import is about 65% done and it seems to be working well. I thing that I noticed is that in Calendar, I cannot seem to subscribe to the Google Calendar; it tells me that it doesn’t like the URL.

    Also, Calendar is not delivering the reminder for a Task consistently. It popped it up on my iPad, but not on my iPhone or the PC. The email reminder never arrived.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Hi Ali, this is Vivien from Outlook.com. Is it ok if we contact you directly to get more info and help debug the issue? Let me know and we’ll reach out to you directly. Thanks!

    • I also noticed that embedded videos are not coming through as they are pulled from GMail. This is a big miss!

  18. Will this also work for custom domains? I’ve been dying to switch from Google Apps to Outlook.com (a single mailbox, actually!), but I’ve always come across so many obstacles that I eventually gave up several times. I also remember one of the earlier switching services being hardcoded to only accept @gmail.com addresses, which is a problem if you use a custom domain. Hopefully this new one will be a bit more forthcoming.

  19. whats going on with outlook.com EAS Server? Since 5 days i can get a connection to the EAS server with Outlook 2013!!! Where is the problem. i tried m.hotmail.com (this used from beginning and had worked), s.outlook.com, dub-m.hotmail.com.. nothing worked. how can i fix this?

    and whats about CardDav or CalDav support for outlook.com?

  20. whats going on with outlook.com EAS Server? Since 5 days i can get a connection to the EAS server with Outlook 2013!!! Where is the problem. i tried m.hotmail.com (this used from beginning and had worked), s.outlook.com, dub-m.hotmail.com.. nothing worked. how can i fix this?

    and whats about CardDav or CalDav support for outlook.com?

    • Hey Matthias,

      Our EAS service is fine in general, we’ll need to investigate what’s happening for you. You can direct message me on twitter @skafka to give me your account info so we can look into it. We don’t have anything to announce about CardDAV or CalDAV. We continually evaluate what new features or services we could add to Outlook.com next.

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  22. Hi Outlook-Team:
    Reply/Forward State Sync both ways – Many users are lamenting that with ActiveSync Outlook 2013/iPhone Mail App is unable to synchronize the reply state? That means when users use outlook.com they don’t not know if they replied or forwarded an email.

    This works with iCloud and my business account (Exchange 2010) was does this not work with Outlook.com?

  23. I’m trying to do that since yesterday, but without success. The link takes me to my inbox, and I don’t have "Import email accounts" when I follow these steps from the help site:

    "Here’s another way to launch the tool.
    SIgn in to your Outlook.com account.
    Click the Options icon Options icon, and then click More mail settings.
    Under Managing your account, click Import email accounts.
    Click Google."
    Here is a screenshot…
    http://oi39.tinypic.com/t8b4fl.jpg
    Any ideas?
    Thanks.

    • Hey Ilian, it’s not enabled for all accounts yet. Check back next week if your account doesn’t have it right now.

      • @Steve I always thought the Reply/Forward State Sync is a standard build-in feature of the EAS service? Was isn’t it working with outlook.com

  24. What about the Sent folder and Drafts? Will they be copied over from Gmail as well? Also my Gmail’s total size is about 8 gigs (registered all the way back when it was invite only), I have an empty outlook.com account (registered the same day service went live last year) I was hoping to start using it if importing from Gmail works one day. Would I be stopped by the same import size limitations as the users reported in the comments below (5 gig max)?

    • @Chris – It will copy your sent items, and should do drafts as well. You will not run into a size issue.

      We give people who use the import tool increased storage to address the additional requirements of a sizable inbox. Currently, in the rare instance an inbox exceeds the limit, the account owner may need to remove some of the existing mail from the inbox before we can complete the import process.

      • @Steve – thanks for the reply. I just want to make sure. Currently I have 8.19 GB as per Gmail meter. And it’s mail only, as I don’t use Google drive. So would that trigger the limit? Thanks

        • @ Chris, you will be fine, as will almost everyone who wants to switch.

  25. By the way signing in with outlook.com Microsoft account (says Microsoft Messenger right now, which is strange, as the service is no more) on this blog does not work with IE11 on Windows 7, when typing in the email address and password — nothing happens, the login pop-up stays in place and does nothing. I was only able to sign in and log in to comment using the latest version of Chrome, which is rather disappointing, as I’m trying to move away from using google products… ;(

  26. Has Outlook.com added the option to apply the spam filter to incoming POP3 mail? That was the one thing holding me up from switching from Gmail. Gmail will filter my incoming POP3 email, saving me from hundreds of spam messages a day.

  27. For me, one essential feature that I miss in every e-mail client except the rich desktop one, is ability to flag messages with postponed deadlines. It is so effective with the rich Outlook client to plan yourself a ToDo for Tomorrow, This Week, Next Week, or Next Month. However, when you commute, and you do your e-mail over the telephone, you can’t have it flagged properly, and all time planning breaks.

  28. I have a Gmail Account (only Inbox and 2 labels) with 21 GB of mails. I need them all. I tried to run the import and I immediately (after 1 min) received an email from Outlook saying "Your import has been stopped
    Your total message exceed your current limit".

    What should I do?

    • @Arthur – We give people who use the import tool increased storage to address the additional requirements of a sizable inbox. Currently, in the rare instance an inbox exceeds the limit, the account owner may need to remove some of the existing mail from the inbox before we can complete the import process.

  29. I’ve finally gotten around to trying the import …and thought I’d share my own experiences here :)

    I’ve had a few Gmail accounts since the beginning, but never really enjoyed using them to be honest. I’ve also had a hotmail/live account for a VERY long time… I’m slowly ditching my Google stuff, so was really happy to see the new import tool! Anyway …

    I tried it one one of my accounts (that had about 30,000 emails (all-up) Not quite sure of how many gig off the top of my head. The import appeared to go ok without any error messages. But, at the completion, it told me that it had imported about 8,000 or thereabouts. I tried to look through to see what it had and hadn’t done, and all I could come up with was that it only appeared to import emails from the last 12 months (from what I could see)

    So, I thought I’d try to do the same one again, but this time using my older live.com.au account. This time, it imported about 7000. (However this time, some of those emails were from 2 years ago.)

    I was of the impression (correct me if I’m wrong) that it would import everything (inbox, sent etc etc) right back to the first email. From what I have read here, that SHOULD be the case, but, it hasn’t happened for me either time.

    I do love the idea of being able to ditch my Gmail accounts and use outlook, but, personally, I would have loved to be able to do a full import, then literally delete my Gmail for good. Obviously with what has happened, I couldn’t possible even try to do that, because I simply don’t know what it has and hasn’t imported. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I appreciate that this is a new tool, and perhaps there are still some bugs that need ironing out?

    Looking forward to some feedback/ideas from Steve and co :)

    • @Michael – We’d like to investigate your issue further. Could you give me your permission to pull your contact information from the blog account so we can directly contact you?

  30. I imported my email successfully it seemed, but then I noticed the date on all emails prior to when I originally imported them into Gmail were set to the date they were imported to Gmail. Is there any fix for this?

    • @Benj – We’d like to investigate your issue further. Could you give me your permission to pull your contact information from the blog account so we can directly contact you?

  31. I really like gmail, for many reasons, but one of them not being the interface. I really enjoy the Outlook interface, so for me, this works very well since I use this account for personal use anyway, it doesn’t matter that much whether my archives import or not.

  32. Hi
    Can i clarify if the gmail that have been imported is via POP3 protocol or IMAP protocol.
    As i have a domain manage by Gmail that will be ceasing it support and i need to port the mail over to outlook or Gmail

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