Elayne Whitfield, BA, MVA ~ VA Industry ExpertSubscribe Now

Migrating to Google Apps for Business

I’ve taken the plunge and moved my entire life in MS Outlook to Google Apps for Business.  I’m going to chronicle my ‘journey’ and hopefully shed some insight for others contemplating the move.

Migrating Outlook to Google

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook® is a desktop utility that lets Microsoft Outlook® users import your existing mail, personal contacts, and calendar events from a Microsoft® Exchange account or PST file into any Google Apps account. You can configure and run your migration by stepping through an easy-to-follow wizard. You can also run the utility as a command line tool.

With Google Apps Migration for Microsoft Outlook®, you can:

  • Import mail, calendars, and personal contacts, either all at once or in separate stages
  • Import only mail sent before or after a specific date
  • Skip importing Junk E-mail and Deleted items
  • Exclude specific mail folders from being imported (requires running the command-line utility)
  • Monitor the progress of your migration
  • Easily pause and resume the migration
  • Run subsequent migrations that import only new data (not data that’s already been imported)

For me, this tool a LONG time.  I’ve been using Outlook for 14 years and may NOT be the best at deleting old emails that I have stored in files.  To migrate the emails alone it took 12 hours.  In the end the migration failed at 92 % but when I went to Google email it seems like almost everything was there.  Time will tell what didn’t get moved but according to my research it is mostly email with very large attachments.

A couple things to note:

Folders –> labels in Google.  The labelling system did not translate perfectly but it only took about an hour to re-label things to suite my needs.

Contact:  Yikes!!  Even though I THOUGHT I only had a single contact list, multiple entries of each contact were imported.  Luckily Gmail has a ‘merge contacts’ function on 2 levels that helped:

  • Find and merge duplicates, or
  • Manually select ‘duplicate’ contacts and merge

This did present a bit of a problem.  When I started going through my contacts there were tons of duplicate contacts that weren’t merging.  Also, it imported tons of email addresses that had no information attached.  I went back to Outlook and noted that there were contact lists called ‘suggested contacts’ that had thousands of entries.  I deleted all my contacts in Google Contacts and re-exported the Outlook contacts ONLY from my personal contact list and imported them into Google and, voilà, (NOT ‘Walla’ as some of our American friends say – sorry that’s a pet peeve of mine) only my clean contact list was imported.

Signatures.  Outlook allows you to have a main or ‘full’ signature and an alternate for replies and forwards.  As far as I can tell, Google mail doesn’t have this functionality.  If anyone has found a solution to this, please let me know.

Google Apps for Business Support

One word – AWESOME!!

  • They answered the phone, first of all, which seems rare these days
  • I did not encounter any language barriers
  • They answered all my questions
  • They made suggestions based on my application even when I didn’t ask something
  • They followed up by email with instructions.


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