Graphic with an envelope icon and text Project: Campus Email

Project Overview

The Campus Email Project will use a phased approach to unify email into a single system for the Iowa State University community. Most students utilize a branded version of Gmail (CyMail), while employees utilize Microsoft Outlook (sometimes referred to as Microsoft “Exchange”).

Back to top

Project Details

In the pre-planning stage, the Campus Email project team gathered feedback from key stakeholder groups including the Information Technology Leadership Committee, Technology Enterprise Advisory Committee, Faculty Student IT, Student Government leadership and college deans. Moving forward with the effort, the project will centralize email to Outlook for ease of use and management, while also reducing the duplication of services and resolving issues that stem from CyMail and Outlook co-existing, as they are not inherently designed to cooperate. 

Back to top

Current Status

Beginning fall  2021, incoming students were assigned a Microsoft Outlook student email account (no longer referred to as CyMail). All returning students since fall 2021 were able to continue using their Iowa State Gmail (CyMail) account. During the entire project those wishing to move to Outlook could do so. In April 2022, all CyMail account holders were notified of the decision to automatically move all CyMail accounts to Outlook in June 2022. 

Back to top

Schedule & Timeline

October 2022 

  • ITS will begin permanently deleting email and calendar items remaining in CyMail.  

September 2022

  • CyMail email and calendar items will maintain read-only access through September 30, 2022.

Fall 2022 

  • All students will begin fall semester using Outlook for email and calendaring.  

June 2022 

  • All students still utilizing CyMail for email and calendaring will be automatically moved to Outlook. 

  • CyMail email and calendar items will maintain read-only access through September 30, 2022.

April 2022 

  • All students still utilizing CyMail for email and calendaring will be notified that they will be migrated to Outlook in June but can migrate themselves at any time with instructions provided. 

June 2021 

  • Incoming students participate in orientation and learn about Outlook as their student email platform. 

April 2021 

  • ITS assigns incoming students (fall 2021 entry) an Outlook email account. 


  • ITS gathers feedback from key stakeholder groups including the Information Technology Leadership Committee, Technology Enterprise Advisory Committee, Faculty Student IT, Student Government leadership and college deans.

Back to top

Comparable Features

Refer to this table of useful and popular features in Gmail and their equivalent as they appears in Outlook (web). Students and staff can configure Outlook to appear and function similarly to Gmail for an easier transition. 

Gmail Feature Outlook
“Starred” and “Important” emails 
Setting message urgency  “Flagged” and “Pinned” emails 

Schedule send 

Scheduling emails to be automatically sent at a later dateDelay Delivery 
Filtering unwanted emails Junk Email
Permanently deleting emails Deleted Items
Archive / All Mail
Archiving emails where they can be retrieved if necessary  Archive
Categories and Labels 
Organizing emails  Category tags and Folders 
Google apps 
Opening connected apps  Outlook App launcher 
Google calendar 
Calendaring and event management  Outlook calendar 
Google Tasks 
Managing online to-do lists  Microsoft To Do 
Communicating with other email users via chat dialogue  Microsoft Teams 
Starting a videoconference from the email screen  Teams call 
Adjusting the spacing of content on the screen 

Display density

Reading pane 
Choosing if and where a reading pane appears when a message is selected  Reading pane (hiding can make Outlook function like Gmail) 
Changing the inbox theme, background, and message/font colors  Theme / dark mode 

For additional resources on using Outlook email, click here

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

Iowa State is transitioning to campus-wide use of Outlook to provide a more secure, unified email service for campus. Faculty and staff currently use Outlook. Students using CyMail will transition to Outlook.

If your computer already has Microsoft Office 365 installed, Outlook is already available to you. Follow these instructions to install Microsoft Office 365. You can also access web-based Microsoft Office 365 apps online.

Outlook is also available as a mobile app and can be downloaded from your app store.

You can access your Outlook email account through the Outlook web application or by downloading the Outlook desktop application.  

If using the Outlook web application, log into your Okta dashboard ( and click on the Outlook application tile (pictured). The tile will automatically appear in your dashboard. 

To access and install the Outlook desktop application, follow these instructions for downloading Microsoft Office 365 applications.

Okta tile for Outlook

Outlook is the enterprise email solution used at Iowa State by students, faculty and staff. To learn more about Outlook and how to use the software, refer to “Outlook: Learn how to use Outlook email.”

All messages and calendaring items will be copied to Microsoft Outlook automatically in June 2022. Messages will remain in CyMail and will be accessible as view only until September 30, 2022.

The Campus Email migration project will not impact your access to Google Suite apps, including Drive, Photos and others.

Microsoft Exchange is the software that provides the back end to a system for email, calendaring, etc. Microsoft Outlook is the application students, faculty and staff use to view their email, send messages, schedule meetings and more.

No. “CyMail” refers to the Google email application previously used by students and the name will no longer be used. Students, faculty and staff will all use Outlook for campus email.

Communications will be sent to current students who are using CyMail. Information will be provided about the automatic move in June 2022 and how students can move their account to Outlook sooner, if the student desires.

Yes. Graduate and Vet Med students will also move to Outlook automatically in June 2022. Students may voluntarily move to Outlook at any time before June 2022 if they prefer.

Yes. With cloud storage products like OneDrive and CyBox available to all Iowa State students, group collaboration can continue. Students can access these tools from their Okta dashboard.

No, there is no need to adjust how you format or send an email message. Create and send the message as you normally would.

Outlook automatically identifies email identified as spam or junk. These items are moved to your account’s junk folder where it can be evaluated. To learn more, refer to this article, "Outlook: Mark "Safe Senders".

To organize email in Outlook, create folders and move messages to the preferred folder. Rules can also be created to automatically place delivered email in a specific folder. Refer to this article to learn more, “Outlook: Set up Rules in Outlook.”

Yes. Your Net-ID and your email address will remain the same.

If you voluntarily move your email account to Outlook, your existing messages and calendaring in CyMail will not automatically transfer to your Outlook account. You can move these items to Outlook by following these instructions.

If you wait until June 2022 for your account to automatically move, your access and messages will automatically move to Outlook.

Students who experience technical issues with their email - whether they use Outlook or CyMail - can contact the IT Solution Center for assistance. Complete an incident form, email or call 515-294-4000.

Back to top