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IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Which email system should you use

UW offers two world-class, cloud-based email systems: UW Exchange Online (Microsoft Office 365) and UW Gmail (Google G Suite). Both email systems also include impressive cloud-based productivity and collaboration tool suites.

Important: Some departments and business units require their personnel to use either UW Exchange Online (Office 365) or UW Gmail (G Suite). Consult with your department or business unit IT support organization before you select a UW email system.

Email feature comparison

UW Exchange Online UW Gmail
FERPA Compatible
HIPAA Compatible*
Email space Up to 100GB


Unlimited with archive mailbox

Email attachment size limit 60MB 25MB
UW Groups available
Local IT support recommended
Full application with Calendaring

* PLEASE NOTE: UW Medicine workforce members and clinical students are prohibited from forwarding their UW email address to UW Gmail. For more information on this policy, please contact

Additional considerations

Support for Exchange Online  Many Exchange features do not work unless the desktop version of Outlook is installed and configured. Local IT support is strongly recommended for anyone who wants to use Exchange Online with Outlook. If you do not have local IT support, we recommend using UW Gmail or limiting your use of Exchange Online to the Outlook Web App.  See this page for more information on UW-IT Exchange Online email client support guidelines.

Migration from Deskmail  A Deskmail Copy Tool is available to move your mail from Deskmail to UW Gmail. You can access this tool through the UW NetID Manage Portal after you change email forwarding to UW Gmail (the tool is provided at no additional cost).

For $25 per email account, supported email migration is available via a third-party consulting company called Comparex, for people moving to UW Exchange Online or UW Gmail.  A UW budget number is required.

Scheduling Across Systems UW Exchange Online and UW Gmail both offer excellent, full-featured calendaring services. However, scheduling “across systems,” that is, between an email account on UW Exchange Online and an email account on UW Gmail is limited. 

It is possible to send and update calendar meeting requests from UW Exchange Online to UW Gmail (and vice versa). However, it is not possible to view “Free/Busy” information for the calendar of a UW email account that is not on the UW email system your account is on. If your UW email account is on UW Exchange Online you will be unable to view the Free/Busy information for a UW Gmail account from within your UW Exchange Online calendar, and vice versa.

Note: To better support calendaring collaboration, your department or business unit may require its members to use either UW Exchange Online or UW Gmail. Before choosing an email system, check with your department or business unit IT support organization. UW-IT strongly recommends that you choose the UW email system used by the majority of people you collaborate with.

Productivity and Collaboration Tools UW Exchange Online and UW Gmail both have associated productivity and collaboration tool suites. Regardless of the the email system you choose, you can take advantage of the tools available in both systems.

  • UW Exchange Online is part of Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 includes OneDrive, Skype, and online versions of Word, Excel, and other Office applications.
  • UW Gmail is part of Google G Suite (formerly “Google Apps”). G Suite includes Google Drive, Calendar, Sites, and other Google Apps like YouTube.

Activation UW Exchange Online (Office 365) should activate automatically for all UW students, staff, and instructors, but you will need to manually activate UW Gmail (G Suite) using the Manage UW G Suite page on the UW NetID Manage Portal.

Your primary email system, where your email is delivered, is determined by forwarding. Use the Manage UW Email Forwarding page on the UW NetID Manage Portal to change forwarding to your chosen email system.