GMail and Google Calendar Sync with MS Exchange and Outlook Web Access

Playing Nice in a Heterogeneous Environment

There are no villains in this story. Just a group of several thousand employees and students making rational choices.


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Abstract

Link your MS Exchange Email with GMail via POP3, connect your MS Exchange to Outlook on your desktop and then synchronize the desktop Outlook calender with your GMail calendar.

Prologue


Back in the prehistoric days of B.Y2K., our university used Lotus Notes as its email client. The application was installed on the desktop and you needed to be seated in front of your office computer to read and send mail. It functioned well, but more and more faculty, administrators and students wished to check and send mail from off campus and on weekends. Along came Lotus iNotes -- a web client that permitted folks to access their email from the cloud. There was much rejoicing.

Around the same time the university launched an information portal that could be used to aggregate and deliver important university information in an attempt to reduce the amount of email and paper memos. The POP3 access to the iNotes email servers was disabled to insure all members of the university community would enter the portal, view important announcements and launch the iNotes application once inside the portal. Then along came PDAs. The Windows CE, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile and Palm wifi devices did not run the iNotes application and without POP3 access, there was no way to use the PDAs for email (one of their main functions). There was much frustration.

Then came Google Gmail. A free service in the cloud that solved a host of email access problems. It was in the cloud, could be accessed from both on and off campus, from Windows and Mac computers, Pocket PC and Palm PDAs and smart phones. There was much rejoicing.

An email rule could be created in iNotes to forward all incoming mail to the Gmail account. Gmail could be configured to send mail as if it were sent from the university address. There was even more rejoicing.

Google launched things like Google Docs, Collaborative Google Calendars, Google Sites, Google Apps -- the rejoicing glands were working overtime.

For a host of very practical reasons, the university made the decision to leave Lotus iNotes and upgrade to a more modern email solution. Their choices were narrowed down to Google Apps Education Edition and Microsoft Live@edu. Again for a host of practical reasons, the university chose Live@edu. There was much rejoicing. iNotes was just not serving our needs. But for the Gmail camp, there was some trepidation. Would Gmail continue to be a valid alternative? Would we have to give up our threaded email conversations? Our labels? Our calendars? ...stress...

Thankfully, the switch has happened and Gmail and Google Calendars can synchronize with the Microsoft Exchange-based Live@edu system... albeit with a bit of wrangling.

Ingredients


  • A Google Gmail Account
  • A Live@edu Account (the example below is for La Salle University)
  • Microsoft Outlook 2007
  • Google Calendar Sync 
  • A Sample Faculty/Staff User "John Smith" - email smithj1@lasalle.edu (substitute your user name and password)
  • A Sample Student User "Jane Doe" - email doej1@student.lasalle.edu (substitute your user name and password)
  • Some free time and a bit of patience

POP3 MS Live@edu email into your GMail Account


The university has changed its policy and now POP3 is enabled.  Student accounts are hosted remotely by Microsoft while Faculty and Staff accounts are hosted locally at the university.  This results in two different names for the POP3 server. The names of the specific servers are indicated below.

Before you start:

You will need your Microsoft Exchange account password.

  • Students

If you have forgotten your password, you can use the Microsoft Outlook Live Beta application to create a new password. Click on the MS User icon in the upper right corner of the application and click "View Your Account." Click on the "change" link across from the "Password" entry to reset your password.

  • Faculty

If you have forgotten your password, you can use the Microsoft Outlook Web Access application to reset your password to a new one. Click on the "Options" link in the upper right corner of the application and select "Change Password" from the menu selections on the left of the screen.

Old Email
Any existing message in your Live@edu account that you would like to send to Gmail should be marked as "unread". This way you can archive previous conversations that are important.

Click Settings from the top right hand corner of the Gmail page

Click the Accounts tab

In the "Get mail from other accounts: (Download mail using POP3)" section, click Add another mail account

Enter the full email address of the account you'd like to access (example: smithj1@lasalle.edu or doej1@student.lasalle.edu) and then click Next Step

Gmail will populate sample settings, make sure they match the following:

  • Faculty & Staff

username: full email address (example: smithj1@lasalle.edu)
server name: mail.lasalle.edu (for La Salle Faculty & Staff)
port #: 995
password: same as the password for your new email

  • Students

username: full email address (example: doej1@student.lasalle.edu)
server name: pop.exchangelabs.com (for La Salle Students)
port #: 995
password: same as the password for your new email

There are four (4) option check boxes:

Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server
(check if you want to leave a copy, uncheck to delete messages after retrieved by Gmail)

Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail
(check this one)

Label incoming messages: 
(personal preference)

Archive incoming messages (Skip the Inbox)
(personal preference)

Click Add Account.

Send @lasalle.edu Mail using your GMail account


Once your account has been added successfully, you'll have the option of sending email from this @lasalle.edu address. This allows you to compose messages in GMail but have them appear to be sent from your La Salle email account. Click Yes to set up a custom From address.

You will be presented with two options for sending @lasalle.edu email from your GMail account:

Send through GMail (easier to set up)


Using this option, GMail will give you simple directions for verifying your ownership of the @lasalle.edu address. It involves GMail sending a secret code to your @lasalle.edu address. If you are able to read that code, then you must have the password and own that account. You simply copy and paste the code back into your GMail account and it is set up. However, messages you send will contain a "mailed by gmail.com" tag that will announce that the mail was sent via GMail SMTP servers. In most cases, that is not a problem, but some SPAM filters may consider this an attempt to spoof the owner of the account and will bounce it. If you find this happening or if you generally prefer that your GMail account not be mentioned, you can use the next method below:

Send through lasalle.edu SMTP servers




  • Faculty & Staff

Select the "Send through lasalle.edu SMTP servers option and use "exchange.lasalle.edu" for the SMTP server set to Port "25". Enter your La Salle email user name (without the trailing @lasalle.edu) and your email password. Do not use a secure connection to the server.

  • Students

Select the "Send through lasalle.edu SMTP servers option and use "smtp.exchangelabs.com" for the SMTP server set to Port "25". Enter your La Salle email user name (including the @student.lasalle.edu) and your email password. Do not use a secure connection to the server.

After you press "Save Changes", GMail will test your settings and tell you if the SMTP accepts or rejects your request. Using this method your sent mail will contain the line "mailed by lasalle.edu".

Synchronize Google Calendar with Live@edu Calendar


The Live@edu service allows Faculty and Staff to share calendars and schedule group meetings and appointments on the Live@edu (Exchange Server Outlook) calendar. Google has recently released a utility to synchronize your Google Calendar with your desktop Microsoft Outlook calendar, but not with the Live@edu Exchange Server. This is a bit of an impediment, but there is a not so elegant, but simple work around.

The process looks like this:


  1. Configure Microsoft Outlook 2007 on your desktop to synchronize with the Live@edu Exchange server
  2. Configure Google Calendar to synchronize with Microsoft Outlook 2007 on your desktop


When you launch Microsoft Outlook 2007 on your desktop both synchronizations occur and there is much rejoicing.

If this is the first time you are using Microsoft Outlook 2007 on your desktop, you will start at the top of the instructions below. If you already have an offline Microsoft Outlook 2007 account configured, you can delete that account or add a new account and also start at the top of the instructions below.

Again, these instructions use a Sample User "John Smith" - email smithj1@lasalle.edu (substitute your user name and password)

Press Next on the dialog box below:



Select Yes and press Next on the dialog box below:



Check Manually configure... and press Next on the dialog box below:



Select Microsoft Exchange and then press Next on dialog box below:



Enter "exchange.lasalle.edu" into the Microsoft Exchange server: box and enter your user name into the User Name: box then press the Check Name button in the dialog box below:



Outlook will prompt you to log into the Exchange server. Enter "exchange\username" and your password. Also check the "Remember my password" so you won't be bothered each time you launch on your office computer. Then press the OK button.




After you have logged into the Exchanged server, your username will be verified and appear as your underlined return email name in the User Name: text box in the dialog box below. Now Outlook must log onto the exact email server under Exchange. It should be prompted as "mail-srv2.email.local". Press the Next button to continue...




Now you need to log on to the email server. Enter "email\username" as your user name, enter your password, check the "Remember my password" option and press OK on the dialog box below:




And we are done! If things went as planned, you should receive the Congratulations! dialog box below. Click Finish to continue...




As Outlook configures itself, it may prompt you about how to handle RSS feeds. Just press the Yes button of the dialog button below:




You can confirm that your local Outlook 2007 program is connected to the exchange server by looking at the status in the lower right corner of the Outlook 2007 window. The system tray may also display an information bubble telling you that it is synchronizing the Outlook 2007 program on your hard drive to the MS Exchange server as shown below:



Download and Install the Google Calendar Sync Utility


OK, last step. Now that our desktop Outlook 2007 application is synchronized with the MS Exchange server, we need to synchronize Outlook 2007 with our Google Calendar.

Download and install the utility provided by Google:

Google Calendar Sync 

When you install the program, you will be presented with the single dialog box pictured below. Enter your Google Account information and leave the "2-way" Sync option selected. This way, updates made to your Outlook 2007 calendar by your colleagues will be updated to your Google Calendar and your Google Calendar updates will be posted to your Outlook 2007 calendar.



The default sync frequency is every 120 minutes. I set mine to every 10 min just because I want to know of upcoming meetings asap.

Epilogue


I think that should do it. New utilities and features arrive seemingly on a daily basis, so if you find a more elegant solution I would love to hear about it.

Since Outlook 2007 is on your hard drive and not in the cloud, the program must be running for the synchronization to occur. If you run Outlook 2007 once a day it will synchronize or you can minimize it and leave it to synchronize throughout the day. You will of course need to lock your computer and remain logged in 24/7 instead of logging out or shutting down to keep the synchronization circuit complete -- one of the disadvantages of this solution not being 100% in the cloud.

I would also be happy to field questions if it doesn't work for your system. Just drop me a comment or shoot me an email. Don't worry if I will get it or not, the Gmail synchronization is working just fine.

Happy synchronizing!

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Comments

Sync between Google and Server

I appreciate this article and the level of detail.

However, what is needed is a way to sync between the two without making any client changes. Any ideas on that?

Requiring client changes is an exponentially more expensive and risky proposition. We need something that the system administrators can setup without individual user action (and the inherent risk).

Last edited May 5, 2010 3:48 PM
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Higher Productivity

I'm also a big fan of Google Apps and Outlook. Basically anything that increases my work productivity and does not break.

One of the many books I have read, but truly have gained great benefit from for my Home Office, is Michael Linenberger's, Master Your Workday Now! He's the guy that made Outlook easy for me.

The book is all about workplace productivity, organizing, but more importantly, developing our work to match more of who we are!

I think he has a promotion going on right now as well. You may want to check it out, or refer to anyone else. http://masteryourworkday.com/

Last edited Mar 19, 2010 6:22 AM
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Windows restriction

The main reason I love anything Google Apps is the fact that I can use it on my Mac (my only computer) or on Linux boxes. Having to use a Windows app to sync the calendars is very disappointing.

Thanks for putting up this guide though. Starting a new position at a new company and everything is Exchange based, so I'm figuring out how to use Google Apps to communicate with the rest of the company (Outlook's offering is such a terrible way of organizing emails specially when you have a 50 email-long thread!!!). I'll probably have to install Windows on a VM and use it to sync my calendar.

Cheers.

Feb 5, 2010 10:58 AM
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Untitled


I'm already using this stuff but loved this post the way you have described with step by step guidelines.

http://www.iyogi.co.uk/outlook-support.html


Last edited Feb 1, 2010 2:05 AM
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Reminders in Outlook not usable when syncing with Google Calendar?

I'm using the 1-way sync from Google Calendar to Outlook 2007 and it seems there is no way to use reminders in my Outlook appointment records. Not that reminders are not propagated from Google or could be set to some default value (such as 15minutes typical in Outlook) but even if I manually set a reminder to an appointment in Outlook, it is removed the next time the sync with Google Calendar occurs. Very annoying -- I've already missed several appointments this way! Any solution? Thanks a lot!

Michal

Last edited Nov 4, 2009 1:28 AM
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Untitled

Be cautious! This seems to work only 2-way sync seems to remove all reminder history data for recurring meetings. So after every sync, you get a reminder for all those meetings, not so handy!

Last edited Sep 30, 2009 7:21 AM
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