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How to Migrate from Exchange to Gmail: Instructions for Importing and Exporting

Updated on March 26, 2014

Our small company wanted a reliable email service that supported the BlackBerry, iPhone, and Android, and included synchronization of email and calendars.

In 2007 we had been using Outlook and had tried a couple of low-cost email providers to host our calendars, contacts, and email. These providers were lousy, or so-so at best, so we decided to abandon Outlook and give Google Mail (Gmail) a try.

Gmail was free, and included applications to install email on our BlackBerries and iPhones, and keep our phones in sync with our Google Calendar and contacts.

To Start the Move, Set Up a Gmail Account

The first thing we did was to create a Gmail account. Then we set up email for each person. After that we flipped the DNS MX record, following Google's instructions. After a few hours the emails started to arrive in our Gmail accounts.

How to Export Email From Outlook and Import It to Gmail

After we set up our account, the next step was to migrate our email out of our Exchange email client (Outlook) to Gmail.

• In Outlook go to “File: Export,” and follow the steps to export a .pst file from Outlook.

• Next, login to Gmail and go to “Settings” to enable IMAP from Google. You have to enable IMAP in Gmail for this to work.

• Add Gmail as a source to your Outlook client by adding an account to access Gmail with IMAP.

• Once added, you'll have a new inbox populated with your new Gmail account in Outlook.

• In Outlook, select “File: Import.” Select the .pst file that you exported to the Google IMAP account to now import back into Outlook, but under the Gmail IMAP account. (I had over one GB of email; it took nearly a day for the import to complete.)

How To Export Contacts From Outlook and Import Them to Gmail

• In Outlook, select the Contacts tab connected to your Exchange account.

• Select “File: Export” to create a .csv (Comma Separated Values) file of your contacts.

• Log in to Gmail. Click the “Contacts” link, then the “Import” button. The contacts should import very quickly.

Our Experience Setting Up Gmail for Our Business Email

So, was it worth it to migrate from Outlook Exchange to Gmail?

1. Gmail spam filtering alone was worth it.

2. Keyboard commands were a huge productivity booster.

3. Gmail’s archive and search feature beat putting mail in folders.

4. The Blackberry support was good enough; the iPhone application worked well; and Android and Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts were tightly integrated.

I was very happy with switching from Outlook Exchange to Gmail for our business.

Links for Setting Up Gmail

Get Gmail for your domain. This is where you start when moving your personal or business domain to Google.

Enable IMAP in Gmail.
 Here are the instructions to turn on IMAP in your Gmail settings.

Import contacts from Outlook to Gmail. It’s easy to get your contacts into Gmail once you have them in a .csv (Comma Separated Values) file. Just use File: Export in Outlook, select .csv as the file type, then follow these instructions.

Sync Gmail with a phone. Google Sync, an app, coordinates Gmail, contacts, and calendar with iPhone, Nokia, Windows, and BlackBerry 10 phones.

Will You Switch from Exchange to Google Mail?

Will you switch email services for your business to Google Mail?

See results

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Web Design 6 years ago

        We have been looking at moving away from a windows platform for some time now and i can honestly say this review has pushed me towards Gmail, thanks :-) nice and clean write up

      • profile image

        Bob Luis 7 years ago

        Hi Paul Edmondson,

        Thanks for sharing this interesting & informative hub!


        Bob Luis

      • jaymelee23 profile image

        jaymelee23 7 years ago from United States

        Wow, you put so much detail into your hubs. Great job.

      • theirishobserver. profile image

        theirishobserver. 7 years ago from Ireland

        Informative and precise...great hub...learning something new each day....Irish

      • dallas93444 profile image

        Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

        Good stuff ! You know how to "verify" domain for stupid google? I have three masters, two PhD's and I cannot get it "right...!" I am frustrated. Google as you know has three paths, or processes you can establish (prove) domain ownership. I can read a book, explain what it says, follow directions, but alas..! I am ready to pay the "Experts $50. to do what I should be able to do it... There, I feel better..Frustrated !

      • Consonus Tech profile image

        Consonus Tech 8 years ago

        This Hub showcases one of the best features of cloud applications: email archiving. That .pst file used a huge chunk of hard drive space and an entire day to parse. Remote email clients can totally remove the drawbacks of frequent .pst generation and lengthy access times.

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 8 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        I had been searching online when I came across your post. I was watching my wife on her work PC last night (her school district just moved to Google Apps) and thought it looked pretty impressive. It got me thinking, as I currently pay a good amount for an exchange host for my business every month, plus they have a shared RIM setup for real time synching with our blackberry's. I saw your instructions and thought they were helpful. As a Blackberry user though (and I am not all that concerned about synching contacts) I wanted to see if the realtime synchingwas working for you. Meaning, if you delete a message on your blackberry, will it be deleted in Gmail (or outlook if you are using that, as we probably still will).

        The gmail application for the blackberry syncs very well. Blackberry has also released some integration with Gmail, but it doesn't sync both ways, so if the syncing is important, go with the Gmail blackberry app

      • Sexy jonty profile image

        Sexy jonty 8 years ago from India

        Very well written hub .....

        very much informative ......

        Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

      • profile image

        Nisar 9 years ago

        I just switch our companies email service to google app. I learned that you have to make a good plan before you start. Setting it up was really easy and I was able to test it before I change my MX records. The great thing is that you can have two servers listed in your MX records until all your contacts and calenders are uploaded in google app. Once that was done, I changed my MX records to have only google server listed. It is crucial to creat all your user accounts before you change your MX records.

      • jimcrowthers profile image

        jimcrowthers 9 years ago from Port Charlotte

        Wow, great post! I wouldn't have the cahunas to do something like this. This post was very nicely laid out and instructive, and to see/hear someone who's actually doing this is invaluable.

        Thank you very much for the info!

      • colin mcdermott profile image

        colin mcdermott 9 years ago from Manchester UK

        Maybe its worth sending Google a quick message suggesting the Blackberry/Contacts sync.

        If you find the right group Google often will listen to suggestions. I'm guessing you have seen the Google Webmaster group before for example.

        Thanks for the info btw : )

        Edit* Just had a quick look - this one maybe?

      • Kay Kerns profile image

        Kay Kerns 9 years ago

        I absolutely love gmail! i don't think I could ever go back to outlook!

      • funride profile image

        Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

        Great information!

        BTW, congratulations to you and your wife for your newborn! She´s a beauty :)

      • best of the web profile image

        best of the web 9 years ago from US

        Good one…

        Thanks for sharing

      • Paul Edmondson profile image

        Paul Edmondson 9 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        @gredmondson - with google mail for domains, you can move your domain to use their email servers. So they just host your email under your company or personal domain. This means that your email address stays the same, you just have a different provider hosting it for you.

      • RainbowRecognizer profile image

        RainbowRecognizer 9 years ago from Midwest

        Interesting - I have had issues with Outlook and performance and I prefer gmail as well. Thanks for your take!

      • profile image

        gredmondson 9 years ago

        How and when will you notify your contacts of your new email address?

      • MrMarmalade profile image

        MrMarmalade 9 years ago from Sydney

        Great communication

        It looks like you are continually looking after us hubbers.

        Thank you