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Google Apps Sync for Outlook

What is Google Apps Sync?

Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook is a plug-in developed by Google that lets you use Outlook to manage your Google Apps. Put simply, this means you can manage your UM-Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, notes, and tasks using Microsoft Outlook. The Sync tool will run unobtrusively in the background and take care of all the "behind-the-scenes" technical stuff that has to happen to make that possible.    

When you should use it

The Google Apps Sync tool is not for everyone, and is not designed to be an indefinite solution. It's geared toward people who have made the switch from a system like Exchange to Google (that's us!), and want to have some familiar Outlook features available as they get used to the Gmail web interface at their own pace. Even so, there are no actual time restrictions built in so you are able to use it as long as you like, but if you choose to do so, please be aware of the limitations (some of which are listed below.) 

Why you should use it

As stated above, please try to avoid using this as an indefinite solution. Gmail was designed for the web. If you have problems with Gmail or don't feel confident using it, call the Helpdesk so we can arrange a meeting to get you more comfortable. We realize, though, that for some people their day to day productivity just depends on Outlook, and rather than configuring Outlook or a third-party email application manually using confusing POP/IMAP settings, using the Google Sync tool makes it easy.

How to download and install the tool

The installer file linked below is unique to Ross and has a few shortcuts built in, so please use this version instead of downloading it directly from Google. You need to be an administrator on your computer in order to install Google Apps Sync. If you are not an administrator or receive an error message upon installing it, please call the Helpdesk.

Right-click here, "Save As..." and Run Google Apps Sync for Outlook

After you have downloaded, saved, and initiated the installation of the file, you will be prompted to enter your credentials.  Please do so, as shown below.

On the next screen, simply press Create Profile.  (At this point, it is normal for your computer to hang or even give a "Not Responding" status for a few seconds.  If it does, give it a moment to catch up.)

Once it finishes, you'll be shown the message below. Simply press Start Microsoft Outlook to open Outlook. At this point, installation of the Sync tool is complete. In the future, you just need to open Outlook... no need to run the Sync tool again.

After clicking Start Microsoft Office, Outlook will open and ask you which account you'd like to open. Chose the one ending in "Google Apps." (If you click the Options>> button, you do have the choice of making this the default.)

When Outlook opens, you will see your messages and content begin to populate. Outlook is building a local cache of your mailbox, and you will see the following screen as it does so. You can safely use Outlook at this time, simply click Close on the status window to hide it.


A notice about the local cache

If you're already familiar with Outlook, you may have heard of the phrase "cached mode." This refers to Outlook building a local copy of your mailbox. Because configuring Outlook using this method does not provide a real-time interface with Gmail, the only mail you'll be able to interact with from within Outlook is mail that has been "cached." The Sync tool will allow you to specify how much of your mailbox you want to store in the "cache," with the most recent content cached first. You can change this setting by right-clicking the Sync icon in your system tray, as seen below. Any mail that does not get synced because it's beyond the local size capacity has to be viewed using the Gmail web interface.

We recommend you leave the default setting (1GB) selected, however you may choose to have more of your content cached by upping this limit. Be aware that doing so may significantly degrade performance, and if you choose Unlimited and your mailbox itself grows to over 20GB in size, Outlook will most likely corrupt itself and crash.


Adding someone else's mailbox to your own (delegation)

If someone has granted you rights to their Calendar, you will automatically see it when you open Outlook. However, if someone has added you as a delegate to their entire mailbox, an additional step is required to make their mailbox viewable to you. Simply click the Windows start menu, browse to and run the Add account for delegation wizard.


Caveats and warnings

While the Google Apps Sync tool is a great resource we have available, it should not be seen as a replacement for Gmail. By installing and using this tool, you're merely accessing your Gmail account using Outlook. What this means is that if you're looking to get "the old way" back, you may be disappointed. A lot of what made "the old way" unique came from the Exchange service, not Outlook itself. For example, the following functionality came from the Exchange service, not Outlook, and using this tool will not restore the functionality of:

  • Delivery receipts
  • Sharing of mail folders
  • Recovery of deleted messages
  • Message recall
  • Sending messages in Rich Text format (HTML is the default)
  • Importance flags and reminders
  • Choosing to not send updates to meetings when they are changed (updates will automatically send)
  • Calendar attachments
  • Managing the sharing or delegation of calendars or contacts

The above list is not exhaustive; it's just a sampling of the more common functions that won't come over. In addition, you will not be able to administer your account from within Outlook. Doing things like setting a delegate or sharing a calendar must be done from within the web interface.


More information

Since Google Mail is the University's choice for an email service, the Outlook client does not fall under Helpdesk's list of "supported software." As such, the above is provided merely as an alternative, and should not be interpreted as our recommended solution.

Please visit Google's informational website about the tool to learn more about it.

Lastly, this tool is developed strictly for use with Microsoft Office on a Windows machine. Google does not offer a similar solution for other systems or configurations, however you can use other third-party email clients with your Gmail account by using Google's POP/IMAP configuration settings. Further, keep in mind that this method will only sync your email.