Read Your Exchange Emails With Gmail

My school, as well as many others, uses Microsoft Exchange server for email. It provides a nifty little web interface that resembles Outlook. Sadly, it does not feature a search function. This means that it is a severe pain finding old emails. Other drawbacks to using the school’s email system include loss of account after you graduate, as well as a 100mb storage limit. This may seem reasonable, but consider that you’ll be using it for the next four years. Possibly more, for some of us. After a semester and a half, mine is already a quarter full; I’m not even a heavy email user.

So, what is one to do? You could live with it, but I dislike living with annoyances. I believe I have found a better solution: forward all your mail to Gmail.

Unfortunately, Exchange provides no way to forward email. That’s ok. Gmail has a feature to automatically grab email from any pop-enabled inbox. Here’s how to do it.

  • Get a Gmail account. You can use your existing one, or set up a new one for this specific purpose. I opted for the latter.
  • Click on the “Settings” link in the upper right-hand corner of the Gmail interface.
  • Click on “Accounts”
  • See the “Get mail from other accounts” field? Go for it.
  • The address you enter for POP should be the address you go to for webmail, with the “exchange/” post-fix removed. The default port should be fine.
  • Note that you can opt to reply to email using the the university address. I’ve got Gmail set to do this for mail grabbed from the university account.
  • Also note that you can set imported email to be automatically tagged. Very, very nice.
  • Sit back and wait. Gmail will periodically grab email (starting with newest) from the account in 200mb chunks. It might take a while.

So, yeah. Gmail is searchable, Gmail dosen’t randomly mark emails from my parents as spam, and Gmail has about twenty-eight times more storage space then the school gives me. I really don’t have much reason to open up university webmail anymore.

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25 Responses to “Read Your Exchange Emails With Gmail”


  1. 1 Elijah Lofgren April 8, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks! I hadn’t thought of downloading via Gmail’s new Pop feature!

    I had set up exchange just to forward the emails to my Gmail account. The downside of this was that all the messages appeared to be from me, they were converted to plain text, and the subject always included a FW.

    I’ve just set up up Gmail to download my LeTu mail via pop. It works great.

    Thanks again,

    Elijah

    • 2 zyon xu January 10, 2010 at 4:42 am

      Eli,
      In the past, I also forward my email from a exchange server to my Gmail. I am also face same problem with. all subject includes a FW. the sender of all email became me. Now you have solve this problem by this way mentioned by the blogger. I want to know if there is a precondition. the exchange server must open the function of POP3. is it right?

      Zhiyong Xu

  2. 3 James April 9, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    One cravat – all mail Gmail fetches will be marked as read next time you access your university inbox via imap or web interface. Not a huge deal though, since you’ll be reading them in Gmail, and they show up unread there.

  3. 4 Clint May 18, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Unfortunately this only works if your university supports POP. Liberty University doesn’t, It’s exchange or IMAP.

  4. 5 meena June 1, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    it didn’t worked for me.
    Error “Privet IP address”

  5. 6 Travis June 9, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    What is Liberty University’s IMAP information?

  6. 7 Saerka March 11, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Hi
    I tried to do those sittings but it doesn’t work
    the problem is I can’t cconnect to pop server for gmail
    please can any body help me.

  7. 8 James March 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    This is a post about using Gmail to grab email from an Exchange pop server; connecting to Gmail’s pop server is another matter.

    Have you read this page? I think you’ll find it most helpful.

    http://mail.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=12805

    Don’t forget that you need to enable pop from within Gmail before trying to get mail!

    http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=13273&disablechatbrowsercheck=1

  8. 9 Dan April 4, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Exchange DOES support full forwarding (you still see who the messages were from and to) but you have to do it at the Active Directory level, so you will need your IT person to set that up for you.

  9. 10 Matt July 15, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    You Rock! I wonder if this prevents IT from reading my email now…

  10. 12 Jtread July 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

    I’m sorry to say I tried it and it’s not working for me ! – I’m not sure why.

  11. 13 James July 18, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    The Exchange server administrator needs to have enabled POP for this to function. Without it, there’s not much you can do, sorry. :-(

  12. 14 Alan Hogan October 14, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Spot-on. Thank you. For ASU students, make sure you use your-asurite-id@mainex.asu.edu for your email address and set your mail server to mainex.asu.edu. Besides that, the defaults work.

  13. 15 Aaron January 3, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks. I have been trying to do this all semester.

  14. 16 Julius January 12, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Both Microsoft Exchange and Outlook support email forwarding, you can even have it keep a copy on your Exchange server in addition to forwarding, just contact your systems administrator. Even Outlook Web Access supports forwarding (though you have to access it through IE). Cool tutorial though.

  15. 17 James January 12, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Forwarding is different than using POP; with the method in my post I can use Gmail to send email through my school address. With forwarding I’d have to send mail using my @gmail.com address, confusing some people.

  16. 18 Salman March 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    University of Toronto also recently implemented Exchange (Feb, 09). They have disabled forwarding AND pop (like one of the institutions mentioned above). I am desperately trying to figure out a hack to get my UofT email into gmail automatically using either Exchange or IMAP, which are the ONLY two options.

    I am thinking of setting up the account using IMAP in ThunderBird and having a rule to forward to my gmail account and delete orignal – but this would necessarily require a computer running on TB all the time.

    Any ideas to accomplishing this automatically without an additional computer?

    Thanks.

    • 19 VS May 27, 2010 at 10:48 pm

      Dear Salman,

      Did you ever figure out how to do this? I would like to get around this, not so much to have my mail in gmail, but so then I can forward it to my blackberry without having to go through the blackberry server.

      Thanks,
      VSH

  17. 20 Michael Donahoe January 13, 2010 at 8:16 am

    This is awesome! I’ve been trying to find a way to do this and would have never thought it would be this simple. You rock!

  18. 21 Lindsay April 30, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Just a thought for those of you whose IT folks haven’t enabled POP:

    Exchange Online DOES have a search function, but only if you use it in IE–or an extension to Firefox, Chrome, or your browser of choice that renders pages as IE. Then it really does look and feel like having regular Outlook open on your system! It’s still not nearly as user-friendly as Gmail, but at least you can find your old emails.

  19. 22 Rusty SlideRule November 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hey James,
    simple enough tutorial. Thanks.
    You wrote – One cravat – all mail Gmail fetches will be marked as read next time you access your university inbox via imap or web interface.

    I have this problem too, all new email messages are now being downloaded into my Outlook as ‘Read’ messages (versus being downloaded as Unread messages)
    Is it coz, when Gmail pulls them off the my university email server, they get marked as ‘Read’ ?

    Would like to fix this. The Gmail forwarding is primarily for archiving.

    Any suggestions ?

  20. 23 AsherMaximum December 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    If your exchange server doesn’t support pop, there is another way, but it requires another computer to have outlook running at all times.

    Connect outlook to your exchange server (if it’s not already connected). Then connect outlook to gmail via imap. goo.gl/Lgo2

    After gmail is connected properly, create a folder under the gmail account and name it after your exchange server, ie “your employer”, or “your university”.

    Then create a rule in outlook and make it apply to all incoming mail
    rules > manage rules & alerts > new rule > apply rule on messages I receive

    Set the rule to copy or move all incoming mail to the folder you created in the gmail account.

    Now, as long as outlook is running, all your exchange mail will auto copy to gmail.

    Not exactly the best solution, since you have to have outlook running, but even if you don’t keep it running all the time, it’s at least a great way to get your mail into gmail without changing anything about it.

  21. 24 Ryan February 29, 2012 at 1:34 am

    I discovered a method to connect Gmail to an Exchange server and have fully functioning send/receive capability. See here: http://purereasoning.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-use-gmail-with-microsoft.html


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