About Forwarding

If you want to forward your Exchange email to a different account, you can do so using the Email Forwarding System (EFS), but should also review the information provided below.

Why forwarding isn’t recommended for current employees

Full use of Exchange offers integration between your calendar and email, allowing you to easily accept and send meeting invitations. Exchange use also provides centralized settings for mail filtering and a centralized contacts list, both of which are available from every mail program that is fully Exchange-compliant. You will also have integrated access to BU’s global address list and the ability to restore deleted messages for up to 30 days.

Why forwarding isn’t necessary for departing employees

Faculty and staff who are retiring from Boston University are able to retain their email account hosted on Exchange. Faculty and staff who are leaving employment with Boston University will be deprovisioned from access to the BU Exchange server. (See details on the Account Expiration page.) So, in either case, forwarding is an option but not a requirement.

Forwarding Instructions and Related Details

The instructions outlined below assume that you have an active Exchange account and an account at a service like Gmail. Please note that these instructions feature commercial Gmail simply as an example and not with any intent to promote it over other options.

Set (or unset) forwarding from Exchange to Gmail

You can set and unset forwarding from your Exchange account using the Email Forwarding Service (EFS). When you set up forwarding, mail sent to login@bu.edu will be passed on to mylogin@gmail.com, so you can read it in Gmail.

If you later decide to turn off forwarding from Exchange (and you still have an active Exchange account) you would simply return to the EFS and select the Exchange button to modify the settings and revert back to reading your mail on Exchange.

Each time you login to the EFS it provides you with a summary of your current forwarding scheme; so you should always review that to make sure it is correct.

NOTE: If you do configure forwarding from Exchange using the Email Forwarding System (EFS), Auto-Reply/Out of Office and any other Rules that generate an auto-response will not function. You will need to either a) configure auto-response settings on the account to which you are forwarding OR b) configure your forwarding from Exchange as a Rule that redirects your mail to a different account, rather than using EFS.

Whether or not to keep a copy on the Exchange server

For as long as you are employed at, or retired from, BU, your Exchange account will stay active. So, when setting up forwarding, you will have to decide whether or not to “keep a copy” of your messages on the Exchange server. Read through both of the options described below, since each has its pros and cons.

I still want to (have the option) to read email on Exchange (i.e., with OWA or a desktop/device mail client) and I want to be able to accept meeting invitations:

If you choose to keep a copy of forwarded messages on the Exchange server, you will then have your messages in two places. This option is recommended since it allows you to login to OWA and accept meeting invitations. However, you do have to remember to purge your Exchange email periodically, or you will go over quota. To do that, simply login to OWA occasionally and delete your unwanted messages.

To set up forwarding that leaves a copy on Exchange, go to the EFS, click on Use a custom email address and choose the “Keep a copy of my mail in Exchange” option, as shown below.


I don’t want to read mail using my Exchange account — just at Gmail:

If you don’t want to leave a copy of messages on the Exchange server, you can just forward everything to Gmail, manage your messages there, and not worry about going over your quota on Exchange. One major downside, however, is that you won’t be able to accept meeting invitations through the Exchange calendar interface. In addition, there won’t be a copy of your messages on the Exchange server, should you ever need a back-up.

To set up forwarding from Exchange without leaving a copy, go to the EFS, click on Use a custom email address and leave the “Keep a copy” option blank, as shown below.


Can I export my Exchange Contacts?

Yes. You can export your Contacts from Outlook 2010 and from Outlook 2011…

  1. In Outlook 2011, go to File -> Export
  2. Within the Export Assistant, select Contacts to a list (tab-delimited text)
  3. Then click the right arrow button
  4. and click Done

Can I do the reverse and forward from Gmail to my Exchange account?

Yes! Gmail and some other services will allow you to forward to your BU account from Gmail. So, for example, you could set it up in the Gmail interface so that mail sent to mylogin@gmail.com gets forwarded to login@bu.edu. Just make sure you are careful — don’t set up forwarding from both to the other or your mail will be lost in a loop.

Gmail will also allow you to view your mail in an IMAP mail client as described in the next section. With Gmail configured in a desktop mail client such as Outlook, you would then be able keep the two accounts separate, but manage them through one interface.

Read Gmail with a desktop mail client using IMAP. Use this feature to drag (move) messages and folders from Exchange to Gmail.

Gmail will allow you to use IMAP to work with your mail as an alternative to using Gmail’s web interface. To do that:

1)You first need to Enable IMAP as a one-time change within your Gmail settings (located within Gmail at Settings->Forwarding and POP/IMAP).

2) Then, use Gmail’s provided Configuration instructions (located just below Enable IMAP) to set up a second Account within your mail program that goes to imap.gmail.com over SSL (port 993).

In addition to the convenience that this option offers, it’s also an excellent way for you to transfer messages between Exchange and Gmail. Once you have set up the second (Gmail) account in your mail program, you can then move messages between accounts simply by dragging them. It’s handy to move messages, for example, if you are leaving employment at BU and want to migrate your messages to the Gmail account. See the related page.

What about spam?

Mail that goes through the BU gateway is filtered. In addition, you can configure an additional level of spam filtering on your account, if you wish to.

Please note that BU is not in control of forwarded mail once it leaves Exchange and goes on to Gmail. Gmail has its own layer of spam filtering criteria that you should work with through the provided interface. If you are forwarding mail and you find that messages sent to login@bu.edu are not getting through, check your Gmail spam/bulk/trash folder to make sure they didn’t get filtered on the Gmail side.

Where should I set my vacation/auto-reply?

When you opt to forward mail off of Exchange, you should then work with mail in whatever framework is provided by the account you are forwarding to. For example, if you are forwarding to Gmail, you would need to use Gmail’s “Vacation Responder” to set up your vacation/auto-reply messages (and not Automatic Replies on Exchange).