Upgrade from Gmail to Outlook.com in 5 easy steps

Just last week we introduced a new personal email service called Outlook.com. In my previous post we described how to upgrade from Hotmail to Outlook.com. Now, let’s take a look at how to upgrade from Gmail to Outlook.

Get modern email without giving up your Gmail account

Upgrading from Gmail to Outlook.com offers many advantages including:

  • A fast, modern UI that shows you more of your email with less clutter
  • An address book that connects to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, so all your contacts are in one place
  • Pictures from Facebook in messages from your friends, messaging that lets you chat with your friends on Facebook right from your Inbox
  • Great tools to help handle newsletters, deals and more
  • SkyDrive and Office built-in to make it easy to share and collaborate

And, of course, Outlook.com respects your privacy – it won’t use the contents of your personal email to show you ads; in fact, you won’t see ads when reading email from friends.

You don’t even have to tell people to change the way they communicate with you. You can keep your Gmail address and can get all your mail right in Outlook. Here are the five steps:

  1. Get an Outlook.com account
  2. Forward your new mail from Gmail
  3. Set up Outlook.com to be able to send email using your Gmail address
  4. Connect your address book to Gmail
  5. Import all your old mail

Step 1: Get an Outlook.com account

When you’re upgrading from Gmail, you’ll fall into one of three camps:

  • You already have a Hotmail account (@hotmail, @msn, @live, etc.)
  • You use your Gmail address to access Microsoft services, like Xbox Live or SkyDrive (@gmail)
  • You don’t have a Microsoft account and you don’t use any Microsoft services

We’ll cover each of these, below.

Already have a Hotmail account (@hotmail, @msn, @live, etc.)?

Just sign in to http://outlook.com with your Hotmail account to upgrade it to Outlook.com. We’ll show you below how to get your Gmail messages delivered to your Outlook.com inbox.

Do you use your Gmail address to access Microsoft services, like Xbox Live or SkyDrive?

If yes, it means you already have a Microsoft Account, and can use it to sign in to Outlook.com.

(NOTE:  You can rename your account to an @outlook.com address, but this is entirely optional. You can read instructions for renaming your account in our upgrading from Hotmail post .)

Go ahead and sign in to http://outlook.com using your Gmail address and Microsoft password. If you’ve never verified your Gmail address with Microsoft, then you’ll be asked to do so.

No Microsoft account?

It’s easy to get a new Outlook.com account. Just go to http://outlook.com, click on “Sign up” and fill out the form to create a new account.

You’ll get a welcome message, and then you’ll be in your clean, new Inbox. Keep this window open while you do the next step.

Step 2: Tell Gmail to forward your new mail to Outlook.com as it arrives

It’s easy to set up your Gmail account to forward new messages to your Outlook.com inbox. First you have to hook up the two accounts for forwarding and then tell Gmail to start.

To set up forwarding:

  • Click here to sign in to Gmail
  • Click on “Add a forwarding address.” Type in your Outlook.com account name (e.g., myname@outlook.com)
  • Make sure the address is correct and click OK in the confirmation dialogs

Gmail will send a confirmation email to your Outlook.com inbox. Return to the Outlook.com inbox (the window you kept open in Step 1), click the “refresh” icon next to Folders (or just click on “Inbox”), and you should see the confirmation email.



Open the message and click the confirmation link. You’ve just confirmed you want Gmail to forward email to your Outlook.com account.

Now you’re ready to tell Gmail to start forwarding:

  • Click here to go back to the setting page for Gmail forwarding
  • Click “Forward a copy of incoming mail to” your Outlook account. By default, this also keeps a copy of the email in Gmail’s Inbox.
  • Click on “Save Changes”

Leave the Gmail setting page open – you’ll come back to it in the next step.

Step 3: Set up your Gmail address as a “send-as” address.

You’ll want to enable Outlook to use your Gmail address when you send mail. This lets Outlook know that messages forwarded from Gmail were really sent to you, and lets you avoid getting the message “This content has been blocked for your safety” when you read those messages.

(You can skip this step if you used your Gmail address to sign in to Outlook.com. You’re already done!)

In Outlook, click on the Settings “cog” in the upper right corner, then click on “More mail settings”



  • Under “Managing your account, “click “Sending/receiving email from other accounts”
  • On the next screen, under “You can send mail from these accounts,” click “Add another account to send from.”
  • Enter your Gmail account name in the box labeled “Add an email address,” and click “Send verification email”



    Now, go back to the Gmail settings page (see Step 2) and you should see a new email from Outlook that says “Outlook: Verify your email address.” Open this email, and click the verification link.

    You’ll get a verification message, and you can click “Return to Inbox.”

    That’s it. Now, when you compose an email, or reply to an email, you can select your Gmail address in the “From” drop-down menu. But you don’t even need to do that when you reply to a message forwarded from Gmail -Outlook automatically does it for you.

    A side note on “Sent on behalf”

    You may notice that messages you send using your Gmail address will be sent “on behalf of” your Gmail account. This means that Outlook is actually sending the email, but setting the “From:” address to be your Gmail address. The From: header in most email clients will look something like this:

    From: myname@outlook.com on behalf of Dick Craddock (myname@gmail.com)

    We’ve gotten feedback from some of you that you don’t like the “on behalf of header” and so we’re working to change this – stay tuned!

    Step 4: Link your Gmail contacts to Outlook.com

    You can easily import all your Gmail contacts to Outlook. We’ll go to the People page to import contacts. Just click on the little “down-arrow” next to Outlook in the header (it will show up when you hover over the header”).


    Then click on “People”



    Now, click on “Google contacts”



    You’ll see a wizard that will lead you through connected your Outlook.com account to your Gmail contacts:




    Click “Connect,” then enter your Gmail sign-in information. You’ll see a confirmation screen, which shows you that Gmail is confirming that Microsoft is asking to connect to your Gmail contacts. Click “Allow access.” You’ll get a final confirmation screen, and you can click “Done.”

    You’ll also get a confirmation email in your Outlook.com inbox telling you that you’ve connected Contacts from your Gmail account.

    It might take a little while for your Gmail Contacts to be imported. When they are, they will show up right in Outlook – both on the People and Compose pages.

    Step 5: Get your old mail into Outlook.com

    You’ve already got all new Gmail messages to be forwarded to your Outlook.com account. You might also want to import your older messages as well. You can use a tool called “TrueSwitch” to do that.

    Click here to go to TrueSwitch. You’ll notice that this page refers to “Hotmail” accounts, but it works just great for Outlook accounts. Since you’ve already set up forwarding from Gmail, Sending from Gmail, and connected your contacts, all you need to do is get old mail and optionally your calendar events.

    • Go to TrueSwitch
    • Enter your Gmail name and password in the box labeled “Other e-mail:”
    • Enter your Outlook name and password in the box labeled “Hotmail e-mail:”
    • Uncheck everything EXCEPT the first checkbox, “Copy your e-mail messages”

    Click “Copy to Windows Live Hotmail.”

    You’ll get a confirmation screen. Note that it may take up to 24 hours to copy all of the email from your Gmail account into your Outlook account. Your Gmail mail will show up in a new folder called “GMAIL_Mail”, your Gmail labels will be mapped to folders in Outlook.com, and you’ll get a confirmation email with details.

    Using Outlook.com

    We hope you’ll love using Outlook.com. We’ll be making continual improvements to Outlook throughout the Preview period, and we’d love to hear from you. You can give us feedback right from Outlook.com – just click on the Settings “cog” in the upper right corner and click “Feedback.”

    Thanks for using Outlook.com.

    Dick Craddock, Group Program Manager, Outlook.com