University of Oregon

How do I know if my email uses Exchange or IMAP?


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

If you are a student, you are using IMAP.

If you are faculty or staff and are using Outlook to read your email, you are most likely using Exchange. Exchange is available only to faculty and staff.

For faculty and staff using Exchange, the following will apply:

  • You will not be able to view your emails using Webmail. To view your emails using a web browser, you will need to go to
  • 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> and you will not be able to modify it at
  • You will not be able to set up other email clients as IMAP for your email address. You will need to contact your Exchange Administrator for instructions on how to configure an email client for Exchange.

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 are the servers that are 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?

For IMAP users, see Using UO Webmail or Configuring Your E-mail Program.

For Exchange users using Outlook, see Outlook Guide for Windows and Macintosh.

For more assistance with either IMAP or Exchange, contact the Technology Service Desk.

Can I set up Exchange on my mobile device?

Yes. For instructions on how to set up Exchange on your mobile device, see Setting up Exchange for Mobile Devices