Issues receiving emails when routing address is set to an external email

If your mail routing address is set to an external email address (e.g. Gmail,, etc.) in your WatIAM account instead of your UWaterloo email address, you may not be able to receive your emails in your personal email inbox. This will result in missing or misplaced emails. The reason for this is that forwarding from one organization to another, through an intermediary (i.e. UWaterloo in this case) does not work well. Many sites restrict their mail systems to prevent mail spoofing and email phishing attacks. Since UWaterloo is not one of the servers permitted to forward emails on behalf of these websites, email providers such as Google (Gmail) will reject our attempts at forwarding.

For more information about the cause of this issue, take a look at this page:, under “SPF will break when an email is forwarded”.

The steps below outline the settings needed to have email forwarded to an external email from your UWaterloo email address.

Part 1 - Update your mail routing address in WatIAM

Contact the IST Service Desk to update the mail routing address in WatIAM to a UWaterloo email address.

Part 2 - set up an inbox rule to forward all emails to your personal email

CONNECTSetting up an Inbox Rule

Make sure you are selecting "forward" messages instead of "redirect".

  • The difference between forwarding and redirecting.


If you use forward, your email will be forwarded to another email address, but they will arrive as if the original email came from the user's address.


If you use redirect, your email will be redirected to another email address specified by the inbox rule. This rule will redirect the emails as if they came directly from the original sender's email address.

Microsoft 365: Go to > Outlook, and follow the guide:


Need help?

Contact the IST Service Desk online or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357.

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