What Are the Differences Between Gmail and Outlook?

Considering a switch from Microsoft Office to Google Apps for Work?

Here’s a brief overview of some of the differences between Gmail and Outlook. These collaboration solutions have their differences, both in organization and overall user experience.


Layout and Formatting

Some of these differences are noticeable if you’re familiar with both solutions, while some of them might be Here are some notable deviations from the Outlook formula:

  • Conversations. In Outlook, each email appears individually as a separate conversation in your inbox. Gmail features grouped conversations, so you can track all responses with the original document in a single thread.

  • Organization. Outlook allows you to store or categorize information in different folders: Inbox, Junk, Flagged, and so on. Gmail lets you apply several different labels to your message, and easily access it by searching for any of its tags, so for example one email could be stored in multiple tags where in folders, a conversation can only reside in one folder.

  • Clearing up your inbox. Outlook offers a simple delete option to keep your inbox clear, but Gmail goes a step further. If you hate a cluttered inbox but are uncomfortable with deleting emails in case you need them later, you can archive them instead. With archiving, you can come back to messages you need later—they’ll be stored neatly in a separate folder.

  • Marking emails. Outlook and Gmail offer different ways to mark items as important. Outlook uses flags while Gmail offers a couple of options: you may elect to tab items as important or star them for easy access later. To access starred items, simply click the label on your inbox menu.

  • Getting things done. Outlook allows you to create independent tasks synced to your Calendar, but Gmail offers more. Tasks automatically sync to your Google Calendar, but you can also add email messages to your to-do list in lieu of creating new tasks.

At first glance, you’ll see that Gmail is a more efficient way of going about your everyday business.


Accessibility and Composition

If you’re considering a switch from Outlook to Gmail, you’ll find the two are similar in terms of compatibility—but they do have some key differences.

Outlook and Gmail both offer apps for easy access on your mobile device, and you can access your inbox from any device with an internet connection. One key difference: while you must install a version of Outlook on your computer (it comes as a part of Microsoft Office), Gmail has no physical installation component.

Simply access Gmail from your favorite browser.

Once you log into Gmail, you’ll find that composing and sending email has never been easier.

You’ll find all the features you love about Outlook in Gmail: Compose emails with the text alignment and font you want, and add your own personal signature. Add attachments, links, and images.

Having a Gmail account also gives you access to Google Drive, a feature that enables you to quickly and effectively collaborate over one document. Simply add a Google Drive link to share with coworkers or managers, and they can add tracked changes. Collaboration has never been easier.


How Gmail Lets You Do More

Business moves at the speed of technology.

Gmail lets you keep the pace by adding extra features that allow you to continue working no matter where you are. If you’re offline, simply compose emails and save them as Drafts, and Gmail will send them automatically once you’re back online.

Some email services place caps on the size of your attachments. If you need to send large files, Gmail can send them as a Drive link. Drive documents can send files up to 30 GB—or, if you have a storage plan, 30 TB.

Gmail also ups your efficiency by offering “canned” responses. Create email templates you can send out to multiple recipients with just a few clicks. For example, inform candidates of a hiring decision using a filled out email template so don’t need to retype the same messages over and over. Just compose your reply once, and then save it using the canned responses tab.

Are you an organization fanatic? Keep your inbox clean with auto filters that sort through your mail. Set certain email recipients as important, or filter them by position: manager, co-worker, vendor, and more.


Gmail Tips and Tricks

As the world’s largest email service, Gmail has several extra features and available add-ons to help your computing experience reach its full potential. Here are some of our favorite tricks, add-ons, and plug-ins to make your business more efficient:

  • Undo send. Did you miss a recipient or just regret sending that last email? Enable the “undo send” option in your Gmail account, and you’ll never send an accidental email again.

  • Mass unsubscribe. Despite our best efforts, we’re all destined to receive spam. Declutter your inbox by taking advantage of the “mass unsubscribe” option. If you’re sick of getting newsletters from conferences you attended years ago, there’s an unsubscribe button next to the sender’s email address. You can also banish junk emails for good by mass deleting and typing “unsubscribe” into your search box as a search term.

  • Do you have a time lag between when you compose emails and when you want to send them? Download the Boomerang for Gmail plug-in so you can write emails when you want and automatically send them when you’re ready.

  • Do you hate it when your inbox looks overcrowded? Choose the “comfy” option to add more white space between messages and in the right-side navigation. Your eyes will thank you. Enable comfy mode by clicking the gear icon on your screen.



Gmail and Outlook have similar base features. But when it comes to a true cloud solution, convenience, added features, and plug-in options. From ease of access to an intuitive layout, organizing capabilities, and composition techniques, Gmail offers a comprehensive business communication solution. If you’re looking to switch email services, now is the time.

With user experience and design in mind, Gmail provides a superior, more intuitive experience than Microsoft Outlook.