This guide assumes that you already know the basics of using Outlook Web App (OWA, Full version), such as reading, replying to, deleting email, and composing new messages. If you need help with any of these tasks then please refer to the Introduction to OWA.
In order to make the best use of your University email, you will need to know how to attach files to messages, manage your Inbox, use the address book, set up mail forwarding, and more. Please browse the sections below for more information.
Some people prefer to see a simpler interface. It is possible to switch to the more basic OWA-Light. Please see OWA (Light) guide for further details (note that this document requires some updating for Exchange 2010.)
 It is possible to get this to run on Linux on Chrome by changing the user-agent string. You can do this by starting Chrome with the following command : /opt/google/chrome/google-chrome --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.2; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/6.0.481.0 Safari/534.4"
Folders are the most common and convenient way to organise your email. With Nexus, you can create as many folders as you wish, and each folder can contain messages, sub-folders, or both. Folders appear under the Mail Account you are accessing. Favourite folders for quick access may also be displayed above the Account folders.
You can create a new folder at the top level (so it appears alongside your Inbox
in your folder list), or as a sub-folder of your Inbox, or a sub-folder of another
folder. In each case, you right-click on the
name of the parent folder, and choose
[Create New Folder....]
To make a new folder at the top level, right-click
on your mailbox name (normally
your own real name) in the
Navigation Pane at the left side of the
screen, and choose
[Create New Folder...].
Click on any folder that you wish to create a sub folder within, and (as before)
right-click and choose
Folder...]. Figure 2 also shows an
example of a nested folder structure (see the folders within Top
folder in the graphic).
To delete a folder, right-click on the name
of the folder within the
Navigation Pane and choose
[Delete] from the menu. A
dialog box appears asking you to confirm folder deletion. Once confirmed the
folder, along with all messages and sub-folders contained within it, is moved to
Deleted Items folder.
Deleted folders and their contents can be restored as outlined in Restoring deleted items.
To rename a folder, right-click on its name
[Rename] from the menu. The name of the folder is then
highlighted and you can simply type in the new name.
Alternatively, to move or copy a message, select the message and click the
Move button to open the menu. You now have a choice of selecting
a recently used folder, choose
[Move to Folder…] or
The simplest way to select multiple messages is to hold down the
(Control) key on your keyboard (shift + click on a MAC) whilst clicking each
message. For more advanced methods of selecting multiple messages, please see Operations on Multiple Messages.
A new feature has been introduced in OWA 2010 (that is switched on by default) that messages where messages with the same subject line are grouped together to view as a conversation. This is similar to how other email systems work (such as Gmail). If you wish to disable this and go back to viewing other messages one at a time then click on View on the top menu bar and then Untick/tick Use Convesations
When you delete an item (whether it is an email message, a folder, a contact, a
calendar item etc.), it is moved into your
Deleted Items folder. If
you want to recover an item which is still in your
folder, you can simply drag and drop it to another folder, or
right-click and choose
[Move to folder] as described in Move or Copy
items to a New or Existing Folder.
If the 90 day period has expired, or if you (or your email client) already deleted the item
Deleted Items folder, it is still possible to recover the
item for a further 7 days. To do this right-click
Deleted Items and choose
[Recover Deleted Items].
You will now be presented with a
Recover to Folder dialog similar to
that described above in Managing Folders.
It is common to want to do operations on more than one message at once. For example, to delete your first three messages, or to copy all messages with the word "orchestra" in the subject to a specific folder.
You can select multiple messages by holding down the
<Ctrl> (Control) key
on your keyboard, or
<CMD> if you using a Mac, while you click on each one. If all the messages
are adjacent to each other, you can click on the first one, hold down the
<Shift> key, and then click on the last one to select the messages and
everything in between them. You can re-sort the messages to make this easier (e.g.
sort by sender, or by subject). See Sorting Messages for
You can use simple or advanced searching to identify groups of messages with some shared characteristic, such as having the word "orchestra" in the subject. After selecting the messages you are interested in you can then delete, move, or copy them in the same way as for a single message.
To perform a
Simple Search, type your search terms in the search
box and choose
[This Folder and Subfolders]
[Entire Mailbox], these options are accessed by clicking the
single arrow to the right of the
By default, messages in your Inbox, and in other folders, are arranged by date, with
the newest message at the top. OWA provides many other ways to arrange messages,
which can help you to find a particular message or group of messages when you want
to. To change the arrangement of messages, use the options that you can see under the
[Arrange by Date] and
[Newest on top].
- Sort messages by the date (and time) when they were received
- Sort messages alphabetically by sender
- Sort messages alphabetically by recipient - most useful for sorting your Sent Items
- Sort messages by their size including any attachments
- Sort messages alphabetically by subject line. (Where the subject line begins with "Re:" or "Fwd:" this is ignored for sorting.)
- Sort messages into types - separates non-email items such as meeting requests
- Sorts messages depending on whether they have an attachment
- Sorts messages by importance - low, normal and high. The importance is set by the sender.
- Flag Due Date
- Sorts messages according to the "Due date" assigned to them
- Flag Start Date
- Sorts messages according to the "Start date" assigned to them
- Group messages by thread - messages and replies appear together. Conversation mode has to be selected by Ticking the box.
OWA allows you to set a Flag and/or a Category for each
message. Flags can help you keep track of items that need to be followed up
before a specific date, by providing a visual indication, and, if specified, a pop-up
reminder. A flag has a
Due Date, and may
Reminder Date. Categories are coloured markers which can be
applied to messages, contacts, calendar items etc. This allows you to easily
differentiate between items which fall into separate groups, such as work versus
personal, or department versus college. It is particularly useful for adding a visual
indicator for particular types of item in your calendar so that they stand out, such
as birthdays, or important appointments. Items may have more than one category
assigned. There are six built-in categories named after their associated colours, and
you can add more categories of your choice.
For more advanced options, right-click
on the flag symbol and choose
Date and Reminder....]
When the reminder date/time is reached, you will receive a pop-up message to
remind you about the related item. You can dismiss the reminder, or click
Snooze to be reminded again later. Reminders can be easily
acessed at any time from the
Reminder icon showing the number of
Category icon brings up a list of possible categories,
you can select one or more by clicking them, or clear categories by clicking
[Clear Categories]. For more advanced options, including creating a
new category, changing the colour of a category, or deleting a category, click
OWA allows you to set up Rules to manage your messages. For example, you could create a rule to automatically direct any message containing the word "orchestra" in the subject line into a particular folder (instead of your Inbox).
To create a new rule, click on the dropdown button next to the
and choose the
type of rule that you want. If none of the options apply, choose
[Create a new
rule for arriving messages] to access the full range of options.
However, OWA can only access rules that are set as active. Outlook gives you the able to disable them (to make them inactive). If you choose to do then we advise that you only use Outlook to set rules as if you create a new rule from OWA it will delete any rules that were inactive in Outlook.
Email messages are text. To send other kinds of file, such as figures, word processed documents, spreadsheets, and so on, you need to use attachments. You can attach any file that your browser can access, for example on a local USB drive or hard disk, within certain size restrictions (see Nexus Frequently Asked Questions ). In order to be able to read the attachment, the receiver needs to have appropriate software to read the file. For example, if you send a Word 2007 document, they will need to use Word 2007, or another application which understands Word 2007 file format, to read it. Some email servers will not accept attachments which they consider risky, such as executable files, so it is best to check with the recipient before sending.
Browse and use the dialog box to browse through your drives
and directories to find the file you want to attach. Select the desired file and
Open. The file name will appear in the
Attachments text box. To complete the process click
Attach. The name of the file will now appear in the
Attachments section, above main body of your message.
When you receive a message with an attachment, a small
appears next to the message in your Inbox. When you view the message in the
preview pane, or by opening it, you will see a list of attached files at the top
of the message.
To view the attached file, click its name in the attachments list. You may be given some information about the dangers of downloading unknown files from the network. If you do decide to go ahead, you can either save the file to be opened later or you can choose to open it now. If you open it now, your browser will attempt to find an appropriate application and open it in that (e.g. Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word), based on the filename extension (the last part of the filename).
If you want to save the file after you have opened it, use the application's
[File/Save As...] command to put it in an appropriate location. Do not use
[File/Save] because the Browser will
then choose its own location and you will not know which drive and folder the file
has been saved to!
If you receive a HTML file as an attachment and it contains code that could automatically run when you download it from Outlook Web Access, the 'offending' code gets silently stripped out (and any CSS gets commented out). This hppens in both OWA Light and Full versions. If you need the code to remain available in the attachment then use an email client (e.g. Outlook or Thunderbird) instead.
Every email message you send or receive includes some additional technical data known as the Message Headers. This information is very useful if you are having technical problems, and your IT support staff will often ask you to include this information in any support request you make.
When sending a message, there are several options available in addition to specifying
the recipient in the standard
To: field, which can be accessed by
Options... button at the top of the screen.
- Set how urgent the message is - most email programs will display an icon for priority. The default importance is Normal, you can also choose High or Low.
- You can specify whether the message is personal, private, or confidential here. This is not commonly used.
- Show Bcc
- Enables the Blind Carbon Copy field, allowing you to send a hidden copy of your message to one or more people. Other recipients do not see Bcc recipients.
- Show From
- By default this is ticked to show what account the message came from.
- Request a delivery receipt for this message
- When this option is selected, you will receive a message to let you know when the message has been delivered to the recipient's mailbox. It does not imply that they have read the message or are aware of its presence.
- Request a read receipt for this message
- Selecting this specifies that you want to recieve notification when the recipient reads the message. The recipient can choose whether or not to comply with this request. Some email clients never send read receipts.
Select Organize E-Mail then Delivery Reports and then you search for sent mail. You can select a field to search by or leave it blank to search all messages. You can find out information about a message by double clicking on it.
Many people like to have a standard closing phrase, or details of their job title, address, contact details, and so on in their messages. A signature allows you to do this without having to type the information in each time.
If you choose to
[Automatically include my signature on messages I send],
every time you compose a new message you will see your signature text at the bottom
(you can then change or delete it for that message). Alternatively you can add the
signature to messages manually by clicking the
button at the top of any message:
Even if you can read a message in the
Preview View, you cannot print
it unless you open it fully. This is achieved by double-clicking on it in your
messages listing. The message then opens in a new window with a toolbar at the top.
The University email servers will automatically intercept some junk mail (commonly called spam) before it reaches you, in particular, the University attempts to filter out any emails containing malware (programs or documents which are damaging, intrusive or annoying to the recipient). You can read more about how it works on our Junk mail pages.
- Safe Senders and Recipients
- Specify the addresses of any senders whose messages should not be considered spam (sometimes known as a whitelist).
- Trust e-mail from my Contacts
- Select this option to include address in your personal Contacts list as safe senders
- Blocked Senders
- Specify the addresses of any senders whose messages should always be considered spam (sometimes known as blacklist).
You can use OWA to set up the
Outlook Automatic Replies, which replies
to your emails with a pre-written message of your choice. All the messages you
receive while the
Automatic Reply is active are received and stored in
your Inbox as normal and can be read, replied to, saved and so on at any time,
including while the Out of Office facility is active. The system replies
only once to each person who sends you a message, however many times they
subsequently email you. This count is reset each time you switch off the
Automatic Reply system.
Automatic Replies, click
[Options] and then
[Set Automatic Replies…] Choose
replies, and, if desired, choose the start and finish date for when you
want the service to be active. If you leave this blank,
Replies will start working immediately and will remain active until you
switch it off.
You can set up two separate auto-responses, one for people who email you from within
the University, and the other for senders who are outside the University system. In
each case, type in your message, and if you wish, format the text using the buttons
above the box. When you are happy with your messages, click on
Outlook Web Access offers two places to look up email addresses:
Contacts and the shared
Global Address Book. All
university members are listed in the
Global Address Book, unless they
have opted out.
Contacts is a private list where you can store other
contacts and distribution lists.
Nexus provides a directory containing the email address and department/college of
each current University member. This is available through the
Address Book. To access the global address book, click on the
small book icon at the top right of the screen.
To find someone in the
Global Address List, type their name (first
name or family name) in the search box and click the
icon or press enter. When you see the name you are looking for, click on it to
display the details. The
reading pane icon is above the search box
and can be toggled on/off by clicking the icon.
If someone has sent you a message, you can add them to your contacts directly.
Right-click on their name in the
Reading Pane and choose
[Add to Contacts...]
To add extra details, or to change existing information about a contact,
double-click on their name in your contacts list. This opens up the contact
details screen where you can add, update, and delete information as needed.
Save and Close to store the information.
To send an email to one of your contacts, you can either select them in
Contacts, right-click, and
or simply add them to the
To: field of any message.
For more information about address books, including details of how to import your existing address book, please see Contacts.
A Group is a way of grouping contacts together so that you can send messages to a number of people at the same time, such as a small research group. If you want to email a large group of people at once, it is better to create a special mailing list instead.
In the next screen, enter a name in the
Group Name box, and then
enter the email addresses of the group members (click
to choose them from your contacts and/or the global address list). These should
be separated by semi-colons.
Add to Group to move the new member(s) into the list.
When you have finished adding members, click
Save and Close at
the top of the screen to return to your contacts list. You can always add and
remove members later by double-clicking on the name of the Group.
When you compose a message (or meeting request etc), you can use any
combination of full email addresses, Nexus user names, individual aliases, and
Group aliases in your
To: field, as long as they are separated
You can check how OWA will interpret your aliases by clicking the
Names icon in the toolbar. Where more than one possibility is found,
you will be presented with a list of options to choose from. The same applies
Switch to contacts. Select the top contact by left clicking on it once. Then hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard at the same time as the DOWN cursor key, which will scroll down and select all of the contacts.
Right click on any of the selected contacts, and select Forward as Attachment. This will open up a new email message with the contacts attached, which you can then send either to yourself or to another email address.
To add an appointment, double-click on the calendar in the position where you want the new appointment to appear. For example, if you are viewing by month, double-click on the day on which the appointment begins.
The level of detail you want to add to the appointment will depend on the specific circumstances. If the appointment is merely to act as a reminder to yourself, you will probably just want to put a suitable subject, and perhaps a location. You can use the free text area for any notes or comments, and can even attach files. This is most useful when the appointment or meeting is to be shared with others.
By default, OWA will remind you 15 minutes before each appointment by popping up a reminder window. However, you may wish to be reminded earlier or later. You can set the reminder time for your appointment to be one of a range of intervals between 0 minutes and two weeks before the scheduled start time.
You can also choose whether to mark the duration of the new appointment as
Away in your calendar. Other people can use this information to
help them to schedule meetings with you.
To invite people to the meeting or event, open the event screen by double-clicking
on it in your calendar (or create a new event). Go to the
Assistant] tab and enter the name of those you would like to invite.
You can search for people in the global address book by typing in part of their
name and pressing
<Enter>. You can also select people from your contacts,
or type in email addresses directly. Separate multiple entries using semi-colons.
You might also want to add a shared resource such as a meeting room or a piece of
equipment, if these have been set up in Nexus. In this case, add them to the Add a
room section. You do not need to add yourself, as the meeting organiser is
You will now see your selected attendees listed on the left of the screen, and in the centre is a line for each one showing their free and busy times. Where no information is available, e.g. for people who are not Nexus users, this is shown with a grey stripy bar. You can now click anywhere along the time-line to set the beginning of your meeting, or choose from the suggestions on the right.
You can also choose whether or not your attendees are automatically prompted to
send a response, by checking or unchecking the box labelled
response to this invitation, on the
Within the message are buttons allowing you to
Tentatively Accept, or
Decline the request.
OWA will inform you if the meeting time conflicts with (or is adjacent to) another
appointment in your Nexus calendar.
Whichever response you choose (Accept, Tentative, or Decline), when you click the
appropriate button you will be offered three options:
[Edit the response
[Send the response now], or
[Do not send
a response]. If you choose to send the response now, OWA will send an
automated response which appears in the organiser's Inbox, telling them whether
you can attend. If you choose to edit the response, an email message will be
created which you can add your own text to. Finally, if you choose not to send a
response, the meeting organiser will still be able to tell whether you have
accepted or not, by looking at the meeting in their calendar. However, they will
not get a message in their Inbox informing them of your decision.
When you respond, the meeting request message will be automatically moved to your deleted items folder. If you accept (even tentatively) the meeting request, the event will be saved in your calendar. If you want to change your response later, open the event by double clicking on it, and you can send a new response.
Assuming you have the necessary rights for viewing the calendar, you can now see
the shared calendar next to your own in the
Calendar View. You can
hide/ unhide calendars by ticking/ unticking them in
Private calendar events: Some clients do not fully support private items and your private items may be revealed to those you share your calendar with. Please see the "How private are my private calendar entries?" entry in the Nexus FAQ for more details.
Right-click on your
name and select
Open other Users Inbox - This is your
name as it appears on the lefthand side of the OWA interface, not the
name as it
appears in the top righthand side of the interface.
You will see a list of tasks, with completed tasks crossed out, and overdue tasks
highlighted in red text. You can choose between viewing only tasks, or viewing both
tasks and flagged items (see Setting Flags and
Categories), using the options in My Tasks on the left. Click on the name of a
task or flagged item to see more details in the
Reading Pane, or
double-click to open. Tick the checkbox next to a task to mark it as complete.
Enter the required details, in particular the due date, and the reminder date (if
desired), and click
Save and Close to create the task. When the reminder
date is reached (if set), a popup screen will appear to remind you about the
Like Contacts lists and Calendars, Task lists can be shared on Nexus. To view
someone else's tasks, once they have given you permission, you will need to manually
enter the following address (URL) into Internet Explorer:
replacing email@example.com with the university email
address of the person who has shared their tasks with you.
If you type an incorrect username or password you will be returned to the login screen and you will see the message "You could not be logged on to Oxford Nexus. Make sure that your username and password are correct, and then try again."
If you have forgotten your password, go to https://webauth.ox.ac.uk to reset it.
When this happens we recommend resetting IE to Factory Settings. This will affect any addons or saved data but not any Favourites. To do this go to Internet Options --> Advanced --> Reset Internet Explorer.
We have had reports of users on Google Chrome (Windows) using Skype Click to Call, with the result that users are not able to send email from OWA. In order to resolve this, please disable Skype Click to Call by going to Options --> Under the Bonnet -- Addons, and disabling it.