Using GMail’s Mail Fetcher with other E-mail Systems

As we are transitioning from GRICS Edu-Group Portal to GMail at work for our e-mail system a lot of people have been asking about how to manage their existing e-mail using GMail, so that they don’t have to use two e-mail systems.

Thankfully Google have made our lives easy by including the Mail Fetcher within Google Drive. Whilst my instructions are going to be for the Portal system that we are using, this will work with any POP3 based mail system. 

Log into Gmail

Click on the Gear in the top right of the screen

Click on Settings

Click on the Accounts and Import tab at the top of the screen.

Click on the Check mail from other accounts link halfway down the page

A Pop-up box will appear asking you for the email address of the account that you want to access, in here you put in the e-mail of your portal account, or the pop3 account that you want GMail to check for you.

Click on the Next Step button

In the window that now appears you will see that there are some options, the first thing that you will need to do is check that your username is correct. You should also enter the password for the portal (or the system that you want it to check). You should find that the POP3 server us already filled in for you and the port number too. If you find these boxes blank, you should contact your existing mail provider for these settings. You can also choose here to do the following:

  • Leave a copy of the message on the server (this will leave a copy in the portal and give you a copy in GMail, however this is dependant upon the server)
  • Always use an SSL Connection (this isn’t necessary for the portal, so leave it blank – but it is needed for some systems)
  • Label incoming messages (labels are a little like folders, but you can give one message many labels – they help you manage your inbox and keep track of messages)
  • Archive incoming messages (this means that they won’t appear in your inbox, but they will be available under the ‘All Mail’ label)

Once you have made your choices, click on the Add Account button at the bottom of the window.

You will now find that your mail appears in your inbox, or in your ‘All Mail’ label. 

A WORD OF WARNING: If you have a mailbox full of mail on the Portal, GMail will now go and fetch all of that mail and import it into your GMail Inbox. It will mark it all as unread, disregarding if you have already read it on the Portal. You will need to either go through and delete the messages that you don’t want to move over, or you will need to sort through after they have been imported.

WORD OF WARNING 2: GMail will only fetch e-mails from the Inbox in your mail system, if you are using folders, the messages that go into these folders, or which is already in your folders, will not be imported.

Now that you have imported your mail, you will be thinking about how you can go about managing the labels, and sorting your e-mail. For that job you will need to use Filters. These filters can be set up in the Filters tab under settings (Gear > Settings > Filters).

Filters, look at your incoming e-mail and then follow a set of pre-prescribed rules. Depending on what you ask your filter to do there are different actions which you can perform automatically. Filters can be based on:

  • Who the e-mail is from
  • Who the e-mail is sent to
  • The subject of the e-mail
  • The text within the e-mail
  • Things which it doesn’t contain
  • If it has an attachment
  • If it doesn’t contain a chat
  • The size of the message

So to create your filter, at the bottom of the filters tab click on the link Create new Filter

Choose the criteria that you want to filter by in the window which now appears

Click Create Filter with this Search

Now choose what you want to do with this mail, you can choose from:

  •  Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
  •   Mark as read
  •   Star it
  •   Apply the label (You choose the label you want)
  •   Forward it (add forwarding address)
  •   Delete it
  •   Never send it to Spam
  •   Send canned response (this allows you to use a pre-set automated response find out more)
  •   Always mark it as important
  •   Never mark it as important
  •   Categorize as

Now click on Create Filter (Next to to this is a box which allows you to apply the filter to existing messages in your inbox, checking this box, will apply this filter to existing mail as well as new mail)

You are all done… Your e-mail will now come to your inbox, and you can control what happens to this e-mail once it arrives. 

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