There are a variety of advanced features within SFU Connect that will help you manage your messages more efficiently. Learn how to organize your tasks, set up alerts and search for messages. Click on a page on the right for more details and step-by-step instructions.

Purpose of this how-to guide

The purpose of this how-to guide is to provide a process for SFU Connect users to back up critical email data at the end of their employment or study period at SFU.

Using Gmail as an example, this guide aims to demonstrate the steps in setting up a synchronization of mail folders between an SFU Connect account and an external email account that supports IMAP in order to provide a means of moving SFU Connect mail data to the external account.

Please note that the instructions in this guide may also be applied to other external email services that support IMAP connections.


  • An SFU Connect account
  • A Gmail account with IMAP enabled
    Note: Instructions for enabling the IMAP function in Gmail are beyond the scope of this article.
    Please refer to Gmail's support article for more details

Understanding the migration setup process

The process will involve setting up an IMAP connection to your Gmail account from inside your SFU Connect account.

This will create a link between both accounts, referred to as a ‘sync’. The Gmail mail folders will now appear in your SFU Connect account; you are now able to manage the folder contents of both accounts.

You can then drag email messages from your SFU Connect mail folders to the synced Gmail mail folders. Because of the sync, the moved messages will also appear in the mail folders of your Gmail Account.

After you have moved your SFU Connect email messages to the Gmail Mail Folders (and verified that the messages appear in your Gmail account), you may then disconnect the IMAP connection in SFU Connect.


  1. Sign onto SFU Connect (

  2. Click on the Preferences tab.

  3. Next, click on Accounts from the menu on the left hand side.

  4. Click on Add External Account.

  5. Fill in the dialogue with the following information:
    • Email address: Your full Gmail email address (e.g.,
    • Account Name: A name/description for your Gmail account
    • Account type: Select IMAP
    • Username of Account: Your full Gmail email address (e.g.,
    • Email Server:
    • Password: Your Gmail account password
    • Advanced Settings: Check the box next to "use an encrypted connection (SSL) when accessing this server"

    Below is an example:

  6. Once you have finished, click 'Save' (near the top left of the screen) to finish setting up your Gmail account in SFU Connect.

    Note: If you have a large Gmail account, it may take several hours for the sync to complete.

  7.  Click on the Mail tab.

    You should see a new folder group labeled 'MyGmail Account' (the Account Name you provided in Step 5). Click on the small triangle on the left of the [Gmail] folder to expand the rest of the folders.

  8. Open a new browser window or tab and sign onto your Gmail account. You will see that the folders/labels are synchronized. Keep this window or tab open. In Gmail:

     In SFU Connect:

  9. Return to the Mail tab in your SFU Connect account. Go to a mail folder containing messages that you would like to move. Then, click and drag to move the messages from your SFU Connect folders to the folders under MyGmail Account.
    Moving a maximum of 50 messages at a time is recommended.
  10. Click on the MyGmail Account folder into which you had moved the message(s). The moved message(s) should now appear in that folder.

  11. Click 'Get External Mail' to update the accounts. This may take several moments depending on the number of messages.

  12. Return to your Gmail account window/tab to verify that the messages have been successfully moved. If necessary, click 'Refresh' (located beside the 'More Actions' menu). You should now see the message(s) appear in the appropriate folders.

  13. Messages may take anywhere between several hours and several days to transfer to Gmail. Once you have confirmed that the messages have been successfully moved within Gmail, you may close the IMAP connection in SFU Connect by returning to Preferences > Accounts.

    Do not do close the connection or rename folders if you are unsure that your messages have been transferred to Gmail, as doing so may cause loss of mail.

    Once you are certain that your messages have been successfully transferred, choose 'MyGmail Account' and click Delete. Next, click Save near the top left corner of the screen to commit changes.


  14. A prompt to confirm the deletion of 'MyGmail Account' will appear. Click Yes to confirm.

  15. If you are an SFU Alumnus, and if you have not already done so, you may sign up to activate Alumni Email Forwarding so that new messages will be forwarded to your external email account. Information can be found at
    For staff, students and faculty members, you can set forwarding on your account to forward new messages by going to Preferences > Mail and under 'Receiving Messages', enter your external email address in the ‘Forward a copy to’ field. Click Save to commit changes.

    Next, go to Mail Filters under Preferences, click on New Filter and set up a filter with the condition of Size over 0 B, as demonstrated in the following screenshot:

    Click OK to save the filter.
  16. The migration process is now complete and new messages sent to your current SFU email address will be forwarded to your external email address until the expiry date. Be sure to let all of your email contacts know that they should begin sending email to your external email address.

For assistance with migrating mail to Gmail, see Getting Help

Back to top