New process for auto-forwarding Office 365 email

February 26, 2020

What is happening?

Beginning in late February, the way that users can set up auto-forwarding for their Office 365 email is changing. New users and those that are not currently auto-forwarding will no longer have access to the standard interface for enabling email auto-forwarding.  As an alternative, if desired, users can set up inbox rules to auto-forward email from their Office 365 accounts.


In general, the University expects its employees to use Harvard systems for work-related email.  As a recipient of federal grants, the University is also required to retain copies of all data related to federally funded research. As such, a University policy has been created that requires non-student users who wish to auto-forward their email to also retain a copy on Harvard’s email system at the time of forwarding.

The interface that is being removed makes keeping a copy of their email on Office 365 optional. The alternative method, making use of inbox rules, delivers the email to the Harvard mailbox before the messages are auto-forwarded.

What will change?

  • On February 27, 2020, HUIT will disable the auto-forwarding interface for any new Office 365 accounts created after this date, and for any existing accounts not currently using these settings to auto-forward email.
  • Impacted users who have existing auto-forwarding settings will be contacted directly with instructions to change their settings to add a new Office 365 inbox rule.
  • Later in 2020, HUIT will disable the auto-forwarding interface for all remaining accounts. Following this change, all email auto-forwarding must be managed by Office 365 inbox rules.

What do I need to do?

  • If you do not currently use the auto-forwarding settings, no action is required.
  • If you use the existing auto-forwarding settings, you will be contacted soon with instructions on how to set up a new Office 365 inbox rule to replace your current settings.

More information and help

  • If you have questions about this change or Harvard’s email retention requirements, submit a ticket on the IT Help Portal, or call the IT Service Desk on (617) 495-7777