How to Import Email into Google Apps from Outlook Using IMAP (including Sent Mail)

Robin ScottG Suite Tutorials2 Comments

When we import mail from mail servers into Google Apps, some servers don’t allow us to import sent mail in a way that is useful to end users. Furthermore, sometimes clients have folder structures and sent mail in their email clients that they’d like to push up into Google Apps based email for backup / storage / access on the move and etc – but they would still like to use their familiar mail client for day-to-day email.

Whatever the reason, it is possible to export your email folder structure, settings, email – including sent items – and etc up into your new Google Apps based email, using the below instructions.

Step-by-Step – How to Export Email & Sent Items to Gmail / Google Apps

  • Enable IMAP in your Gmail account
  • Set up your Gmail account in your client software, see Google’s instructions
  • Your account will import the folders from Google Apps in your client
  • Open your old archive.pst files (or the “other” email in your client)
  • Drag-and drop your old email into the Inbox folder in your new IMAP account – note whole folders can be dragged in most versions of Outlook
    • You can do this across accounts, or archive files.
    • If you don’t want to move email, use copy.
    • Instead of Inbox, you can drop old email into any other folder, to match Gmail labels
    • You can drag the whole folder from one account to the other – or copy it across.
    • Note that changes made on Outlook (delete, move away) will be reflected in your Gmail webmail – and vice versa
  • Drag-and drop your Sent mail into the Sent Mail folder in your new IMAP account – you can also do this for other email accounts you might have.
  • Wait for some time. You may have many thousands of emails to upload. Go and make coffee!

If this did not quite fix your issue – or if it did – please leave a comment below.

Please note the above instructions will work on most popular mail clients, but the description is aimed primarily at users on Microsoft Outlook owing to difficulties which can be experienced on setting this client up the first time (multiple versions, different settings locations). Leave a comment if this works on your particular mail client.

2 Comments on “How to Import Email into Google Apps from Outlook Using IMAP (including Sent Mail)”

  1. This has worked really well for a couple email accounts — but one (that has the most data) keeps timing out. It is working very slowly, but then I’ll get an error that the connection has timed out. It’ll eventually start again, but it’s been literally days and Outlook says is is 35% done. Any tips on how to fix this?

    1. Hi Emily,

      It does sometimes take a little while for this to update – and it does slow to a crawl particularly when importing large amounts (and even more so on free Gmail accounts). It may be worth thinking about an alternative if you can’t get it done.

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