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Switch from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail

Organize & archive email

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This guide helps you switch from Outlook to Gmail on computer. If you're switching to Gmail on mobile, or need detailed instructions for troubleshooting, visit these Gmail topics instead.

In Gmail, use labels and filters to organize your email. You can also star, snooze, archive, and delete messages to keep your inbox clear.

On this page

Note: The instructions in this guide are primarily web only. Get switching information for mobile devices


Organize email


  • In Outlook: Use folders, rules, and categories.
  • In Gmail: Use labels and search filters (Gmail doesn't use folders). You can drag messages into labels, similar to the way you drag items into folders. Also, you can apply multiple labels to a message, and find messages by clicking any of their labels in the left panel.

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Learn how

 Create a label

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left, scroll down, then click More.
  3. Click Create new label.
  4. Name your label.
  5. Click Create.

Label messages in your inbox

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Select the messages.
  3. At the top, click Labels.
  4. Select a label, or create a new one.
Tip: To apply a label to multiple messages at the same time, check the boxes to the left of the messages, then choose a label above the inbox.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

 Create a filter

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. In the search box at the top, click Show search options photos tune .
  3. Enter your search criteria. If you want to check that your search worked correctly, see what emails show up by clicking Search. 
  4. At the bottom of the search window, click Create filter.
  5. Choose what you’d like the filter to do.
  6. Click Create filter.

Note: When you create a filter to forward messages, only new messages will be affected. ​Additionally, when someone replies to a message you've filtered, the reply will only be filtered if it meets the same search criteria. 

Learn more about filters


Mark email you send as important


  • In Outlook: Select the high importance marker. Importance markers don't appear in messages sent to Gmail accounts.
  • In Gmail: Highlight the message's importance in the subject field.

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Learn how
  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click Compose.
  3. Add recipients.
  4. In the Subject field, add a descriptor, such as:
    • [URGENT]
    • [REPLY BY DEC 1]
    • [APPROVAL NEEDED]
      Note: You can paste in a red exclamation mark "" before the descriptor to mark email you send as important.
  5. Compose your message and click Send.

Mark email you receive for follow-up


  • In Outlook: Use flags to track important messages you receive.
  • In Gmail: Star, snooze, or mark messages you receive as important.

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Learn how

Star an email to make it stand out

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. From your inbox, go to the left of the message, then click Star Star. If the message is open, click More and then Add Star.
  3. If you have multiple stars, keep clicking the star icon until you see the one you want to use.

View email you've starred

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the page, click Starred. You may need to click More first.

You can also use shortcuts to find starred messages by searching is:starred or has: with the star's name, like has:yellow-star.

Snooze an email until later

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail
  2. Point to the email.
  3. On the right, click Snooze Snooze.
  4. Choose a later day and time to get the email.

To snooze multiple messages, select the messages. At the top, click Snooze Snooze.

Tip: To apply a label to multiple messages at the same time, check the boxes to the left of the messages, then choose a label above the inbox.

 Learn more at the Gmail Help Center


Save attachments 


  • In Outlook: Save attachments to your computer.
  • In Gmail: Upload attachments to Google Drive.

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Learn how

Save attachments

Important: Some attachments can be seen or shared, but not saved to Google Drive.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open an email message.
  3. Hover your mouse over the thumbnail, then click Add to Drive Save to Drive.

You can see any files you've downloaded in Google Drive.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center


Get rid of unimportant email 


Hide unimportant threads

Sometimes you might receive an email and decide you don't want to see any more messages in the conversation. You can mute the conversation to have replies automatically skip the inbox and go directly to the archive.

  • In Outlook: Ignore conversations.
  • In Gmail: Mute conversations. 

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Learn how

Mute email threads

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open or select the conversation.
  3. At the top, click More Moreand then Mute.

Tip: To mute more quickly, learn how to turn on keyboard shortcuts.

Get rid of spam

  • In Outlook: Mark as email junk and choose settings for junk email.
  • In Gmail: Report messages as spam, move messages to the spam folder, and block senders.

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Learn how

Report spam

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. Select one or more emails.
  3. Click Report spam Report spam.

Block senders 

When you block a sender, their messages will go to your Spam folder.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open the message.
  3. In the top right, click More More.
  4. Click Block [sender].

Tip: If you blocked someone by mistake, you can unblock them using the same steps.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center


Archive email


  • In Outlook: Set up rules to periodically move messages from your inbox to the Outlook Archive file.
  • In Gmail: Archive messages, or set up filters to automatically move messages to the archive. No need to schedule rules to run at regular intervals. After you archive messages, you can still find them under the label, All Mail.

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Learn how

 Archive email

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Point to the message.
  3. On the right, click Archive Archive.

Tip: If keyboard shortcuts are turned on, you can also press e to archive an email you're looking at.

Archive multiple messages

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Check the boxes next to the messages.
  3. Click Archive Archiveat the top of your inbox.

Find archived email

The All Mail label is added to every message. If a message has been archived, you can find it by opening the All Mail label.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left, click More.
  3. Click All Mail.
Note: If you don’t see All Mail or Trash, scroll to the bottom of the left sidebar and click More.

Move archived email back to your inbox

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the page, go to All Mail.
  3. Right-click the message, then click Move to inbox

Delete email


  • In Outlook: Move messages to the deleted items folder and use mailbox cleanup.
  • In Gmail: Move messages to the trash. Trashed messages are automatically deleted after 30 days. 

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Learn how

Delete email 

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Point to the message.
  3. On the right, click Delete Delete .

Note: If you don’t see All Mail or Trash, scroll to the bottom of the left sidebar and click More.

Delete multiple messages

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Check the boxes to the left of the messages.
  3. At the top, click Delete Delete .

Delete email forever

If you don't want a message to stay in your trash for 30 days, you can permanently delete it.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the page, click More.
  3. Scroll to Trash.
  4. Check the box next to messages you want to permanently delete. Then click Delete forever.
    • Tip: The "Delete forever" option is only available in the trash. You won’t be able to delete items permanently from the Search result view.
  5. To delete all messages in your trash, click Empty Trash now.

Recover email from the trash

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. On the left side of the page, scroll and click More and then Trash.
  3. Check the box next to the messages you want to move.
  4. Click Move to Move to Inbox.
  5. Choose where you want to move the messages.

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