Emerson IT Help Desk

Migration From Exchange to Gmail: Q&A

This summer, Emerson will be migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Gmail as its mail platform. As with any major system change, users have had a lot of questions, which we've collected and answered in this handy guide!

For documentation on how to use Gmail, including Calendaring, Messaging, Organizing, Delegating Access, and more, visit the Google Learning Center.

For Emerson specific training, please visit the Welcome to G Suite page.

Before you get too far into this guide we would first like the answer the popular question:

Why are we migrating to Gmail?

Gmail has become a common mail platform for the educational sector in the past decade. For years, we have received requests to move to Gmail from students and faculty members familiar with the platform (from their personal use or from other institutions). Gmail offers improved spam filtering, flexible shared calendaring (both internally and with other Gmail institutions), and unlimited storage space. Emerson needed to decide within the next year if it would move to Microsoft 365 or Gmail, and given the feedback and needs of the college, the campus chose Gmail.

Jump ahead to a specific section, or scroll down to check it all out:

Google Guide Questions

Migration Questions

Email Address Questions

Client Questions

Mail/Calendar Questions

Miscellaneous Questions

Google Guide Questions

What's a Google Guide?

A Google Guide is a staff or faculty member who has volunteered to start using Gmail earlier than the rest of the campus, so they can aid their fellow faculty and staff in the transition to Google in June.  Have questions?  Reach out to a Google Guide in your area!

Who are the Google Guides?

  • Academic Advising - Jeffrey Pierce
  • Academic Affairs – Matthew Finn
  • Athletics – Christine McComb
  • Athletics – Matthew Ulrich
  • Business Services - Joel Pettigrew
  • Career Services - Blaine Butler
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders – Estelle Ticktin
  • Communication Sciences & Disorders – Ruth Grossman
  • Disability Services – Erin Glover
  • Education Abroad & Domestic Programs – David Griffin
  • Engagement Labs – John Richardson
  • Enrollment Services & Support – Kellie Fuller
  • Enrollment Services & Support – Justin Sharifipour
  • Financial Affairs – Christopher Cullen
  • General Counsel – Kathleen McLaughlin
  • Graduate Studies / ORCS – Eric Matthews
  • Housing & Residence Life – Abigail Erle
  • Housing & Residence Life – Brandon Bennett
  • Housing & Residence Life – Erik Muurisepp
  • Housing & Residence Life – Kendra Stokes
  • Housing & Residence Life – Seth Hodge
  • Human Resources - Peter de Andrade
  • Human Resources - Rachel Gelaw
  • Institutional Advancement - Katherine Bedard
  • Institutional Advancement - David Fahey
  • Institutional Research – Angela Carlson-Bancroft
  • Instructional Technology Group – Christopher Cullens
  • Instructional Technology Group – Korina Figueroa
  • Instructional Technology Group – Natalie Hebshie
  • Instructional Technology Group – Jennifer Stevens
  • Instructional Technology Group – Illona Yukhayev
  • Intercultural Student Affairs – Tamia Jordan
  • Iwasaki Library – Karla Fribley
  • Iwasaki Library - Mary Cate Hirschbiel
  • Iwasaki Library – Rosalie Gartner
  • Iwasaki Library - Jennifer Williams
  • Marketing Communication – Janet Nadeau
  • Media Services - John DeGregorio
  • Media Services - Regina Clark
  • Office of the Arts – Garrett Herzig
  • Office of the Arts – Laura Hildebrand
  • Office of the Arts – Tareena Darbe
  • Office of Student Success – Christopher Grant
  • Performing Arts – Mindy Hinkel
  • Police Department – Robert Bousquet
  • Professional Studies & Special Programs – Heather Wise
  • Registrar - Matthew Fabian
  • School of Communication – Diego Salazar
  • Student Life – Amanda Turnley
  • Television, Radio & Film - Jake Nadeau
  • Visual & Media Arts – Nicholas Corsano
  • WERS - Howard Simpson
  • Writing Literature & Publishing – Kenneth Gagne
  • Writing Literature & Publishing – Shaylin Hogan


Migration Questions

When will the migration happen?

  • Friday, June 2, 2017: We will enable access to your new Google mailbox and start copying all mail content from Exchange to Google. While it's migrating, mail will be delivered to both your Exchange and Google mailboxes. This is your opportunity to set up contacts, your signature, etc. in your new Gmail mailbox as all of your content migrates. You can begin replying and organizing new mail in Gmail. You will continue to be able to log into Exchange.
  • Monday, June 5, 2017: We will make your Exchange mailbox read-only, and you will work exclusively in Gmail from that point forward. You will need to reconfigure your phone/any mail clients to point to Gmail. Google Guides and IT staff will be available to assist.

I understand most items will migrate - what features will no longer be available/won't migrate at all?

  • Public folders (will be converted to a Shared Mailbox)
  • Emails with attachments over 25MB
  • Executable files in compressed attachments

What features/items still exist, but I would need to reapply from scratch or use a Google equivalent because they won't migrate from Exchange?

  • Importance levels
  • Outlook Rules
  • Mail signature
  • Categories definition / assignments
  • Tentative / Out of Office status
  • Optional attendees
  • Follow up flags, dates, and reminders
  • Notes
  • RSS Feeds
  • Calendar attachments

What happens to my contacts or calendar events?

Calendar events and server-side contacts (contacts not saved directly to your computer) will migrate. If you have subfolders in your contacts, all of your contacts will be migrated, but the folder structure will need to be recreated. Personal Distribution lists/groups may not migrate, in which case you would need to recreate them as a Gmail Contact group with instructions here.

Will I still have my folders and the content within?

Yes - in Gmail, they are called "labels." They will appear and behave as folders.

What will happen to my Public Folder?

Public folders are not supported in Gmail. They will be converted to shared mailboxes and calendars and all messages in the public folders will be migrated.

In what order will my email migrate?

Email will migrate in the last in, first out method. You will see your most recent emails appear in your mailbox first as it migrates messages from newest to oldest.

Will the migration transfer my archived email?

  • Online Archives: All online archives will be migrated (those that live on our servers, and not as a file on your computer or on a file server).
  • Offline Archives (.pst file): These will have to be identified and migrated manually from your workstation.

Is all of Emerson migrating to Gmail, including Kasteel and LA?

Yes, ALL of Emerson is migrating. LA, Boston, and Kasteel are all on the same systems today so the entire Emerson mail system will migrate

Will I still be able to access ALL of my old email? Even REALLY old messages?

Yes, everything in your mailbox will migrate. If you have archived emails in a .pst or offline archive, you will need to manually migrate that email with the assistance of IT. Please contact us at it.emerson.edu/help.

Will we still have access to Exchange for a period of time?

ONLY for reference and to export items that didn't migrate. Our goal is to turn Exchange off entirely by Fall.

I am an administrative assistant - will this disrupt my ability to manage the calendars of those I support?

Both you and those you support will be migrated at the same time. If one person is part of the pilot program and the other not, we will not migrate either account until the cutover date for the entire school.

How long will the migration take?

The migration is planned to take 2 days to move all email. This will be performed over a weekend to minimize downtime. If not all accounts are completed by Monday morning, users can still use their Exchange accounts for reference as they receive all new mail to their Gmail and wait for the migration to complete.

I understand Gmail isn't available in some countries, such as China. What should community members who are traveling do to access email?

We offer several options at our guide here: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002584383-Accessing-Emerson-Services-Over-Seas

I use Notes, but I see they don't migrate. What are my options?

We offer a few options at our Notes migration guide: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002697743-Manually-Migrating-Outlook-Notes-iOS-Notes

What should I do as soon as I receive my new Gmail email?

Follow our Day 1 checklist here! https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002710966-Day-1-Checklist

You should also review our recommended Preliminary Settings guide here: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002485443-Recommended-Preliminary-Settings

Will trainings be available?

Yes! Both live and video trainings are scheduled and available here: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002702686-Gmail-Training-Sessions



Email Address Questions

Will my email address change?

No - you will retain the firstname_lastname@emerson.edu email address, with firstname.lastname@emerson.edu as an additional alias.

Wait - we have firstname.lastname@emerson.edu as an alias?


  • firstname_lastname@emerson.edu is your mailbox and primary email address before the migration. You will continue to use this address to log into college services as your primary user name/login.
  • firstname.lastname@emerson.edu is an email alias that forwards mail to your user_name mailbox. This address will work for sending and receiving emails only. You cannot use this to log into college services.

Are the different names part of the migration?

  • No, the email addresses are a part of your existing email account.

Will my email address change to a “@gmail.com”?

No, your email address will remain @emerson.edu. You will still retain the ability to forward your Emerson mail to your personal Gmail account, but we ask that staff do not forward their Emerson email.

I used to forward my Emerson email to a personal address - how do I do that in Gmail?

If you are not staff and want to continue forwarding email, you will have to set it up again. Simply go to the gear in the top right > Settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP, and click Add a Forwarding Address.

I have a mailbox (department mailbox, former employee, etc.) that I need access to or need forwarded to me. How do I set that up?

To gain access to a separate mailbox you used to have access to, please follow the instructions in this guide: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002598866-Shared-Mailboxes-and-Distribution-Groups

If you need to have the mailbox forwarded to you, simply log into it and go to Forwarding and POP/IMAP and set it up there. If you do not have access to the mailbox, please put in a ticket with IT at it.emerson.edu/help.

I'm a recent graduate - how does this impact me?

By policy, we allow you to retain access to your email address for a year after graduation. If you're still actively using your Emerson address, or need it to forward to your personal address, please follow the same instructions we're providing to the rest of the campus.


Client Questions

Is there a desktop application (like Outlook) that I can use with Gmail?

Yes, however we strongly recommend that you use the Gmail web interface to interact with your email, calendar and contacts. This is Google's native client, so it contains the most features, the best search capabilities, ease of use, and best support. Those who use Gmail in their personal lives will already know how to use it.

If you strongly prefer a desktop client, Emerson recommends:

  • Windows 10 – Windows Mail, Contacts, Calendar
  • MacOS – Apple Mail, Calendar, Contacts

We do not recommend Microsoft Outlook.

How do I get my Emerson email on my phone? Can I use the same app I have now?

Learn how to connect Gmail to your phone at this guide: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002710503-Emerson-Gmail-on-Mobile-Device

Most likely, the mobile client you're using now will work fine, but you'll still have to reconfigure it to point to Gmail, like you did your desktop client. Simply remove and re-add the account, this time as a "Gmail" account, and authenticate with your Emerson email account and password. Google also makes a Gmail mobile app available to iOS and Andriod.

What are the downsides to using Outlook with Gmail?

Outlook lacks a number of features when used the client with Gmail. To address these, Google provides a plugin for Outlook to sync certain items that don't exist in Gmail: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gappssync

Since this is a desktop sync, the likelihood that there will be a sync error is high, and because a number of items and features will live on your desktop and not a protected server, you will have to migrate your Outlook profile to any computer you move to in the future. Unfortunately, it's an invitation for problems.

For this reason, we strongly recommend moving off of Outlook and to Gmail's web interface.

If you find you require a feature, such as Microsoft Word/Excel mail merging, you can set up Outlook with Gmail with this guide: https://support.emerson.edu/hc/en-us/articles/115002687783-Using-Outlook-To-Access-Gmail


Mail/Calendar Questions

Does this mean I can finally send larger files via my Emerson email? How big?

Yes! The max file size has increased from 10MB to 25MB! To send files larger than 25MG, please use Box or Google Drive.

Will I be able to use my features and extensions like Boomerang, Priority Inbox, and Chat on the right-hand side?

You can use any of the Gmail extensions.

Will we still have calendar and meeting invitation capabilities similar to Outlook in the new Gmail environment?

Yes. You will have similar abilities to use calendar features, free /busy, and attendance. Some features will only be available if you use the Gmail web client instead of other mail clients.


Miscellaneous Questions

As an institution, is Emerson's data kept private and secure?

Google has hosted educational institutions' email for years and takes privacy seriously. For instance, they do not run ads or scan data from institutions for ad data. All privacy questions as they pertain to education can be found at Google's Q&A:


What are Google Apps?

Google Apps are a set of web applications provided by Google, including Google Docs/Sheets, Google Talk (Chat), Google Mobile, and Google Sites. Most Google Apps contain features that allow you to send, share, and access other Google Apps and files in an integrated way.

For more information, visit Google Apps at Emerson College.

How will my Emerson Gmail account interact with my personal Gmail account?

Your Emerson google account will not interact with your personal Gmail account. The two accounts are completely separate. You will have the ability to log into both accounts (in two different tabs/browsers) or forward your Emerson email to your personal Gmail account.

I think I can be logged in to both accounts at once; is that some sort of security risk?

Google allows you to be logged on to multiple accounts at the same time, in either different browser tabs or pages. There are no security risks associated with this.

Will we use Google's chat (Google Hangouts)? If so, will it be our new video conferencing system?

Google Hangouts will be available. Users will have an option to use Hangouts for video conferencing, in addition to other options including Highfive, Lifesize, and Skype.

Have any other questions?

If you have other questions about the migration or using Gmail please refer to our support articles at support.emerson.edu, reach out to a Google Guide in your area, or visit the Emerson IT Help Desk.

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