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The A-Z Process For Migrating Your Organization From Outlook to Office 365

Robert Allardice
A technical writer with experience to fix issues faced by technical users at cloud platforms.
・7 min read

Technology is advancing, so as the organization using a desktop-based email client. More and more industries are opting for cloud suite due to its flexibility and scalability. If you are reading this guide then probably you may have make-up your mind about switching your business over a cloud platform. However, there is a chance that you are completely new to Microsoft Office 365 and don’t know a thing about its architecture. Therefore, in this guide, we will explain the a-z process for migrating your organization from Outlook to Office 365 in a hassle-free manner.

In this guide, we will be explaining the most commonly used and recommended method by Microsoft MVP’s - Office 365 Import Service. Although there are many blogs and articles on its working, most of them don’t consider the user as a layman for Office 365. And there are many other things they forget to explain and that too without any screenshot. But don’t worry, this guide is a complete package that explains everything you need to know for migrating data to Office 365 user account.

Methods to Migrate Outlook Data to Office 365

The process of migrating organizational data from Outlook to Office 365 can be processed in two steps:

  • Method 1: Export Outlook Data of Each Employee

  • Methods 2: Import the Outlook Data Files into Each Office 365 User Account.

Both the above steps are important and need to be done carefully to stay away from errors and improper migration. Step 1 requires MS Outlook account of each employee. You can guide your employees to export their Microsoft Outlook data.

Step 1: Export Emails, Contacts, Calendars from MS Outlook

If you already have the Outlook PST files of each employee then you can skip this method and starts migrating organizational data to Office 365. Else, guide the below steps to your employee to export their Outlook data:

  1. Open MS Outlook Account >> Go to File Tab.
  2. Now, click on the “Open/Export” option in the left-panel
  3. Then, click on the “Import/ Export” option from the window (as shown below). Alt Text
  4. From the pop-up menu, choose “Export to a file” from the list >> Next. Alt Text
  5. In the next window, choose the “Outlook data file (.pst)” from the available options >> Next. Alt Text
  6. Select the Account / Mailbox need to be exported from MS Outlook >> Next. Alt Text
  7. Browse the location to store the exported data from Outlook account >> Finish. Alt Text

Step 2: Import Service (Network Upload) – To Migrate Emails into Office 365 Account

The Import Service method require can be done in two ways, you can either upload your Organization PST files on Azure Storage and then use Network Upload or use the Drive Shipping method to do the job.

The network Upload method is complex but free. You just need to execute some steps to complete the job. Whereas Drive Shipping method is executed by the Microsoft Team itself, you just need to pay 2$ per GB of PST file.

For the simplicity and execution of tasks for free, we recommend using Network Upload, and below we are going to explain the steps of it.

1: Export Role For Global Admin

Before starting with the Import service, first, you need to assign Global Admin with Mailbox Import/Export role in Exchange Online. Unfortunately, it takes 24 hrs to process the changes.

  • Go to https://admin.portal.com and open the Exchange Admin Center in it and then click on Permissions options.
  • Next, click on Admin Role list, select the “Organisation Management” option.
  • Now, click on “+” button to add a role.
  • Click on the plus to add a role
  • Choose “Mailbox Import Export” as a role and click on the OK button.

Now, the role has been set, wait for 24hr for changes to reflect. However, you can create an import job in the next 5 minutes.

2: Create Import Job in Admin Center

Follow the below steps to create the new Import Job after setting permissions in Exchange Admin Center.

  1. Visit https://protection.office.com & go to Information Governance and then click on Import. Alt Text
  2. Click on the “New Import Job” button, provide the name to the job and then click on Next button. Alt Text
  3. Choose the option for “Upload Your Data” or “Ship Hard drive” >> Next. Alt Text
  4. From the import data window, click on the “Show network upload SAS URL” link and copy it to the clipboard. Alt Text
  5. From same window, click on Download Azure AzCopy to get the tool. Then install the tool on your machine and save the SAS URL at save location.

3: Upload Files Using AzCopy Tool

The Azure Azcopy tool is a command-line utility to upload the files in the temporary Azure storage. This tool will upload all the PST files located in the select folder to Azure Storage.

  1. Search for Microsoft Azure Storage AzCopy in the search bar of your computer. Alt Text
  2. Copy the below code and Paste (by providing necessary details) it in the Azure tool command-line interface.

AzCopy.exe /Source:"" /Dest:"" /V:"" /Y

  1. Now the command-line will check for the PST Files and will show the details. Alt Text
  2. Go to the Search bar and search for Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer and then click on the plugin icon as shown below. Click on the Local & Attached option. Alt Text Alt Text
  3. For Connect to Azure Storage, select “Use a Shared access signature (SAS) URL option >> Next. Alt Text
  4. Paste the SAS URL saved in the previous section and then click on Next button. Alt Text
  5. Click on the “Connect” button on the Connection Summary window. Alt Text
  6. Now, you can view the uploaded PST files in the Azure Storage Explorer. Alt Text

4: Mapping PST Files with Office 365 User Accounts

After the PST file has been successfully uploaded in Azure Storage, the next thing to do is map PST file with Office 365 user accounts. For that you can create a CSV file with the following details:

• Workload 
• FilePath
• Name
• Mailbox
• IsArchive
• TargetRootFolder
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5: Finish Import Job

After finishing the mapping the PST files with the Office 365 user accounts you can proceed with import job.

  1. Now, visit protection.office.com again & open the Import Job.

  2. Click on both the checkbox option and click on Next.
    Alt Text

  3. Next, click on “Select Mapping Files” browse the mapping CSV and then click on “Save”.
    Alt Text

  4. Finally, click on “Upload to the Cloud” and then click on Close.
    Alt Text

  5. Finally, click on the “Ready to Import to Office 365” >> Import to Office 365.
    Alt Text

  6. In the next tab, click on the filter option (optional) >> Next.
    Alt Text

  7. From next menu, click on the “import data”.
    Alt Text

  8. Now the progress will begin and starting migrating your organization from Outlook to Office 365
    Alt Text
    That’s it! The above steps will let you migrate complete Outlook data into Office 365 user account. You can simply close the window, the progress will be complete automatically.

Is it too difficult for your to execute Import Service (Network Upload)

If you are having issues with the process or stuck due to some error, then you can use the Drive Shipping method to do the job.

Although Drive Shipping is an alternative solution for Network Upload but it's quite costly. There are other workarounds that are ways cheaper and simpler than Drive Shipping and Network upload. Take the help of an automated Office 365 Import tool available in the market. You can click on the guide - import PST to Office 365, it will provide a demonstration of the best utility we that will help you to easily migrate your organization Outlook (PST) to Office 365.

We recommend using an automated tool because:

  1. You don’t have to go through the hassle of all the workload of manual solution. The task can be done in 5 steps which will take less than a minute to execute.

  2. Automated tool can be used again for the same user if need to migrate Outlook data to Office 365 user account. Whereas, drive shipping will cost you every time you need to execute the task.

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