Switch to Outlook Mail from Gmail

Switch to Outlook Mail from Gmail and start working together with these quick instructions on how to send, read, and organize your email with Outlook.

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Note: Features and information in this guide apply to Outlook Mail as available through Office 365.


The most noticeable differences between email in Outlook and Gmail are:

  • In Outlook, you organize your messages using Folders. In Gmail, you use Labels.

  • In Outlook, you automate actions on incoming messages using Rules (see how), and sort and filter your messages using Filters (see how). In Gmail, you automate actions on incoming messages with Filters.

  • If you had set up a Signature or Vacation responder in Gmail, you will need to recreate them in Outlook, using Email signature and Automatic replies (see how).




Organize messages

  • Group messages together with folders

  • Automate actions on incoming messages with Rules (see how)

  • Sort and filter messages with Filters (see how)

  • Define and apply custom Categories

  • Group messages together with Labels

  • Automate actions on incoming messages with Filters

  • Pre-defined Categories


  • Share a file in a message (see how)

  • Get someone's attention with @mentions (see how)

  • Office 365 Groups are integrated into Inbox

  • Send link to files stored in Drive

  • Get someone's attention with @mentions

Clean inbox

  • Delete messages

  • Archive messages (see how)

  • Delete messages

  • Archive messages

Get email on any Device

  • Browser

  • Windows

  • Mac

  • iOS/Android

  • Browser

  • iOS/Android

*Differences are based on G-Suite Basic Edition and Microsoft's Office 365 E3 plan as of May 2017.

For information on the differences between the desktop, online, and mobile versions of Outlook, see Compare Outlook 2016, Outlook on the web, and Outlook for iOS & Android.

For information on the differences between the Windows and Mac versions of Outlook, see Compare Outlook 2016 for Mac with Outlook 2016 for Windows.

Share a file in a message

  1. Select New > Email Message.

  2. Choose Attach a picture or a file

  3. Choose the file to share and select Next.

  4. If the file is on your C: drive, select Upload and share as a OneDrive link to upload it to your OneDrive and send a link.

    If the file is on your OneDrive, select Share as a OneDrive link to send a link.

Attach files to email messages and calendar events in Outlook.com or Outlook on the web

Screenshot of Attachment dialog showing Upload and Attach as a OneDrive file option.

Use @mentions to get someone's attention

  1. In the body of the email message or calendar invite, enter the @ symbol and the first few letters of the contact's first or last name.

  2. Choose the contact you want to mention from the list.

    By default, their full name is included. You can delete a portion of the mention, for example, everything other than the person's first name.

  3. The mentioned contact is added to the To line of the email or the meeting invite.

Note: @mentions are only available for recipients using Exchange Server 2016, Exchange Online, or Outlook.com.

Screenshot of Outlook new email dialog, showing an @mention in the text of the message.

Start with Outlook Online in the browser. If you need more Outlook features, open the Outlook desktop version and see the Outlook 2016 Quick Start.

If you’re a Mac user, see Outlook 2016 for Mac Help.

View messages by Conversation or Messages view

  • Select Filter > Show as > Conversations to view related messages as a single conversation or thread.

  • Select Filter > Show as > Messages to view related messages individually.

Screenshot of Inbox, showing Filter > Show As > Conversations selected.

Use Filters to sort and display your messages

Gmail filters and Outlook filters do slightly different things:

  • When you filter items in Outlook, you selectively choose what items are displayed, but you don't apply any actions to them, like moving them to another folder or forwarding them. You can automate actions on incoming messages with Outlook Rules.

  • In Gmail, you use Filters to automate actions on incoming messages.

To use an Outlook filter:

  1. Select Filter and then select the Filter criteria, Sort by criteria, and whether to show messages in Conversations or Messages view.

Screenshot of Inbox, with Filter > Sort by > From selected.

Create a Rule to process and filter incoming email

Gmail and Outlook both use a Conditions/Do this model to process and perform actions incoming email. Gmail calls this capability a filter, and Outlook calls it a rule.

  1. Create a rule:

    • To create a rule based on a particular email message, select the message and select The More actions icon More actions > Create rule…

    • To create a new rule or edit an existing one, select The Settings button > Mail > Automatic Processing > Inbox and sweep rules, then select + in Inbox Rules.

  2. Give the rule a name.

  3. Choose what you’d like the rule to do and select OK.

Screenshot of email message with More Commands > Create Rule… selected.

Send an automatic reply

  1. Select Settings The Settings button > Automatic replies.

  2. Choose Send automatic replies.

  3. Enter the start and end times that you reply will be sent, and enter the text for your reply.

    You can choose whether to automatically block out the time on your calendar and decline any meetings scheduled while you’re out.

  4. Select OK.

Screenshot of Help screen with Auto reply selected.

Create a signature

  1. Select Settings The Settings button > Mail > Layout > Email signature.

  2. Create the signature.

    Apply formatting or add a link and graphics using the buttons across the top of the message box.

  3. Select Automatically include my signature on messages I send.

  4. Select Save.

Screenshot of signature screen.

Prioritize important messages with Focused Inbox

Focused Inbox separates your inbox into two tabs, Focused and Other. Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—on the Other tab.

  • To turn Focused Inbox on, select The Settings button > Display settings > Focused Inbox.

  • To change how your messages are organized, select Focused or Other from your inbox, then right-click the message you want to move.

    If moving from Focused to Other, choose Move to Other if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Always Move to Other if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Other tab.

    If moving from Other to Focused, choose Move to Focused if you want only the selected message moved. Choose Always Move to Focused if you want all future messages from the sender to be delivered to the Focused tab.

Screenshot of Inbox with Filter > Show Focused Inbox selected.

Archive a message

You can use Archive to keep your Inbox clean of messages you’ve already answered or acted on, but don't want to delete or move to a specific folder. Archived items remain easy to find from the search box or by navigating to your Archive folder, and are still available on your phone or other devices via the Archive folder.

  1. Choose one or more messages in your Inbox, and select Archive on the toolbar.

Screenshot of Inbox, showing the right click menu on a message, with Archive selected.

Get help with Tell me

  1. Select ?

  2. Type what you want to do in the Tell me what you want to do box.

Screenshot of Help pane in Outlook on the Web, showing the Tell Me box.
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