UO Email Systems: Exchange and IMAP


The University of Oregon uses two different email systems: Exchange and IMAP. If you are unsure of whether you are an Exchange user or an IMAP user, see below to learn the difference.


How do I know if I am using Exchange or IMAP?

If you are a student and/or access your email through Webmail, you are using IMAP.

If you are using Outlook to read your email or accessing your email through outlook.uoregon.edu, you are using Exchange. Exchange is available only to faculty and staff (and some student and graduate employees upon request).

For those using Exchange:

  • To view your emails using a web browser, you will need to go to the Outlook Web App (OWA).
  • You will mostly likely be using Outlook to view your emails. You may use other email clients, such as Mac Mail or Thunderbird, but Outlook is strongly recommended for Exchange users.
  • You will have an email forward of <username>@ad.uoregon.edu and you will not be able to modify it at duckid.uoregon.edu.
  • You will not be able to set up other email clients as IMAP for your uoregon.edu email address. You will need to contact your Exchange Administrator for instructions on how to configure an email client for Exchange.
  • For instructions on how to set up Exchange on your mobile device, see Setting up Exchange for Mobile Devices

For those using IMAP:

  • To view your emails using a web browser, you will need to go to Webmail.
  • You can use a mail client to view your emails, including Mac Mail, Thunderbird, and Outlook (the desktop application).
  • You can create an email forward at duckid.uoregon.edu. Learn more here.

If you are still unsure if you are using IMAP or Exchange, please contact the Information Services Technology Service Desk.

What is the difference between Exchange and IMAP?

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) is a standard protocol for email retrieval that allows an email client, such as Mac Mail, Thunderbird, or Outlook, to access email on a remote mail server. In other words, email clients using IMAP leave messages on the server until you explicitly delete them. IMAP also allows multiple email clients to manage the same mailbox. For example, if you read your emails on your Macintosh using Mac Mail, you can also read and manage your emails on your iOS devices using the Mail application. If you move or delete an email using Mac Mail, that same action will be replicated on your Mail application and visa-versa.

Exchange is an email based collaborative communications server for businesses and organizations, such as the University of Oregon. Exchange uses a similar syncing style that IMAP uses to sync emails, contacts, calendars and other features. The syncing feature that Exchange uses is referred to as "Exchange ActiveSync." The most common email clients used for Exchange are Microsoft's Outlook 2010 for Windows and Microsoft Outlook 2011 for Macintosh. For more about Exchange at the UO, see UO Microsoft Exchange.

The biggest difference between IMAP and Exchange is the technology that's used to store the mail. IMAP uses a remote mail server to store mail, while Exchange users a server that is part of the Microsoft Servers line of server products.

Where do I find help?

Visit our service page about Exchange or Basic Email, or contact the Technology Service Desk.

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Article ID: 30852
Thu 5/25/17 3:59 PM
Fri 10/6/17 3:24 PM