Please Note: This documentation is being phased out in favour of the new OWA 2010 version. Only use this documentation if you have Not been upgraded to OWA 2010. If you have been upgraded please see the new OWA 2010 documentation instead.
This guide assumes that you already know the basics of using Outlook Web Access (Full version), such as reading, replying to, and deleting your 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.
See also: OWA (Light) guide for non-Internet Explorer users.
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 (the folder which will
contain your new 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
Create New Folder... (see Figure 1, Create a folder at the top level).
Then type the name of the folder into the resulting box, e.g. "Conference" (see Figure 2, Type in the name of the folder).
The following image (Figure 3, Example of folder structure) shows an example of nested folders.
To delete a folder, right-click on the name of the folder within the
Pane and choose
Delete (see Figure 4, Delete a folder). This will move the folder, along with all messages and sub-folders contained within
it, to your
Deleted Items folder.
When you move the mouse pointer over the name of another folder, that folder's name will be highlighted if it is possible to drop the folder there. In the example above (Figure 5, Restore folder from deleted items), the "Jo Smith" mailbox is highlighted because the mouse pointer is over its name, and releasing the mouse button will move the Research Project folder and any subfolders out of Deleted Items and restore it as a top-level folder within the mailbox.
To rename a folder, right-click on the name of the folder in the
Pane and choose
Rename (see Figure 6, Rename a folder). The name of the folder is then highlighted and you can simply type in the new
To move a message, right-click on it in your list of messages and choose
to Folder... from the resulting menu (see Figure 7, Move a message).
A window will appear, listing all the available folders.
Now you can type in the name of the new folder, and press Enter to confirm creation
of the folder (see Figure 9, Create a new folder to move your message into). Finally click
Move to move the message into your new folder.
To move a number of messages at once, select all the messages and then follow the above procedure to move all the highlighted messages to a new folder (see Figure 10, Move multiple messages).
The simplest way to select multiple messages is to hold down the
(Control) key on your keyboard whilst clicking each message. For more advanced methods
of selecting multiple messages, please see Operations on Multiple Messages.
As well as moving messages, you can copy them to a new or existing folder. This means that you still have the original copy in its original folder, but you will also have an extra copy in the folder specified.
When you delete an item (whether it is an email message, a folder, a contact, a calendar item etc.), it will be moved into your Deleted Items folder. It will stay in that folder for 90 days from the date of deletion, before being automatically removed from the system. Beware, some email clients will automatically empty your Deleted Items folder when you log off! Check the settings for your client if you are not sure.
If you want to recover an item which is still in your Deleted Items folder, you can
simply drag and drop it to another folder, or right-click and choose
folder as described above in 1. Managing Folders.
If the 90 days has expired, or if you (or your email client) already deleted the item
from your Deleted Items folder, it is still possible to recover the item for a further 7
days, using OWA (Full version only). Click
Options at the top-right of
your screen, and then choose
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 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 more details.
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. You can then select some or all of the results by clicking on them as described above.
By default, messages in your inbox, and in other folders, are sorted by date, with the newest message at the top. OWA provides many other ways to sort messages, which can help you to find a particular message or group of messages when you want to.
To re-sort messages, click on the label
Arrange by: at the top of the
message list (see Figure 12, Sort messages). You can then select a sort option
from the list below:
- Sort messages by the date (and time) when they were received
- Group messages by thread - messages and replies appear together. Each thread or
"Conversation" can be collapsed by clicking on the
[+]next to it.
- 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 (see 5.1. Setting Flags)
- Flag Start Date
- Sorts messages according to the "Start date" assigned to them (see 5.1. Setting Flags)
The sort order is shown next to the name of the sorting scheme, and you can reverse the order by clicking on the label (e.g. see Figure 13, Reverse the order of your messages).
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 on or before a specific date, by providing a visual indication, and, if specified, a pop-up reminder. A flag has a Start Date, Due Date, and may have a 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. Built-in categories cannot be renamed using OWA, you will need to use the full version of Outlook if you wish to rename them.
You can set the default flag (follow-up starts today, due today, with no reminder) by clicking on the small flag symbol next to the date of receipt, in your message list (see Figure 14, Set default flag).
For more advanced options, right-click on the flag symbol (Figure 15, Set advanced flag), and choose
Set Date and Reminder....
This allows you to set a start and/or finish date for following up on the item, and a reminder date (see Figure 16, Set follow-up reminder).
When the reminder date/time is reached, you will receive a pop-up message to remind you
about the related item, e.g. see Figure 17, Follow-up reminder. You can dismiss the
reminder, or click
Snooze to be reminded again later.
Clicking the category icon brings up a list of possible categories, you can select one
or more by clicking them, or clear categories by clicking
Categories. For more advanced options, including creating a new category,
changing the colour of a category, or deleting a category, click
A simple search will filter the messages in your current folder by a keyword which you specify. Messages will match if the keyword appears in the subject line or body text, sender or recipient's name or email address, and some other less common text fields such as attachment name or username.
To search for messages with a particular keyword, simply type the keyword into the
Search <Folder> box (where <Folder> is replaced by the name
of the current folder) above the list of messages, and press
click on the magnifying glass) - see Figure 20, Simple Search Box.
This will give a list of all the messages in that folder which contain the keyword anywhere in the subject line or message body, or in the name or address of the sender or recipient, or in other fields in the message header. The search is not case-sensitive.
For advanced search options, click on the two arrows next to the search box, to expand the search pane (see Figure 22, Advanced Search).
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 access the Rules screen, click
Options and then choose
Rules (see Figure 23, OWA Rules screen).
To create a new rule, click on the
New Rule button 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.
Rules are shared between Outlook and OWA. You can create rules in OWA and they will be active whether you use Outlook or OWA. However, OWA cannot access rules that you have made inactive from Outlook, and if you create a new rule from OWA it will delete any rules that you deactivated from Outlook.
Email messages are text. To send other kinds of file, such as graphics, 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 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 2003 document, they will need to use Word 2003, or another application which understands Word 2003 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.
To send a message with an attachment, begin by starting to compose a new message as normal. Then click on the paperclip icon at the top of the screen (see Figure 24, Attach files icon).
This opens a new window where you can select the file that you want to attach (Figure 25, Attach a file). Click
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 choose
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
When you receive a message with an attachment, a small paperclip icon 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 (e.g. see Figure 26, Message with attachments).
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
[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!
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.
To view the header information for a message, open the message by double-clicking on it,
and then click the
Message Details icon at the top of the screen: Figure 27, View Message Headers. You can copy and paste this information into a different
message or another application in the usual way.
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 clicking the
Options... button at the top of the screen (see Figure 28, Message Options screen above).
This opens a pop-up screen (see Figure 29, Message Options screen) which has the following options:
- Set how urgent the message is - most email programs will display an icon for
priority. The default importance is
Normal, you can also choose
- 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.
- 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.
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.
To set up an automatic signature in OWA choose
Options (at the top right
of the screen) and then click
Messaging (on the left-hand side). You will
see a screen which looks like Figure 30, Create/Modify Signature, where you can enter your
signature and choose whether OWA should apply it by default to all new messages.
If you choose to
Automatically include my signature on outgoing messages,
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
Insert Signature button at the top of any
printer iconin this toolbar to open up the
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 at http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/junkmail/.
In addition to this protection, you can choose whether to apply further filters to your
email. In OWA, click
Options and then choose
(see Figure 34, Junk Email filtering options). As well as switching filtering on or off, this screen
allows you to access more advanced features:
- Manage Safe Senders List
- Specify the addresses of any senders whose messages should not be considered spam (sometimes known as whitelist).
- Also trust e-mail from my Contacts
- Select this option to include address in your personal Contacts list as safe senders
- Manage Blocked Senders List
- Specify the addresses of any senders whose messages should always be considered spam (sometimes known as blacklist).
- Manage Safe Recipients List
- Specify any To: addresses for which you want to disable filtering, for example, if you are forwarding mail from another server which is already spam-filtered, or if you never want to filter messages sent to you via a particular mailing list.
- Treat all e-mail as junk unless...
- This specifies that all messages should be filtered to your Junk mail folder, unless they come from someone in your Safe Senders List, are sent to someone in your Safe Recipients lists, or come from senders within the University.
You can use OWA to set up the Outlook Out of Office Assistant, which automatically replies to your emails with a pre-written message of your choice. All the messages you receive while the Out of Office Assistant 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 Out of Office system.
To enable the Out of Office Assistant, click
Options and then select
Out of Office Assistant. Choose
Send Out of Office
auto-replies, and, if desired, choose the start and finish date for when you
want the service to be active. If you leave this blank, the Out of Office Assistant 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
Save at the top of the
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.
Advanced Searchbutton opens up a window where you can make different kinds of searches, such as searching for first or last name only, username (here called alias), department or a combination of these.
To view your contacts, click on
Contacts in the Navigation
Pane on the left-hand side of your browser. If you have not used Contacts
before, this will be empty: Figure 38, Contacts view before any contacts are added
To add a new contact, click
New. Enter their details, particularly
their email address, and then click
Save and Close (at the top of the
screen). See Figure 39, Create New Contact
The newly created contact should now be visible in your contacts: Figure 40, Contacts view with new entry
If someone has sent you a message, you can add them to your contacts directly.
Right-click on their name in the preview pane and choose
Contacts... (see Figure 41, Add sender 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 same screen as when you add a
new contact, but already filled in with their information. You can add, change, and
delete information as needed and then click
Save and Close to store
To send an email to one of your contacts, you can either select them in
Contacts, right-click, and choose
New Message (see
Figure 42, Compose a message to a contact), or simply add them to the
of any message (see 15.2.5. Message recipients).
For more information about address books, including details of how to import your existing address book, please see Contacts.
A distribution list 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 - see http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/maillists for more information.
To create a new distribution list, click on the small down-arrow next to the
New button at the top of your contacts list (see Figure 43, Create new Distribution List) and click
In the resulting screen (Figure 44, Create Distribution List), enter a name in the
List Name box, and then enter the email addresses of the group
Members to choose them from your contacts and/or the
global address list). These should be separated by semi-colons.
Add to List 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 distribution list.
When you compose a message (or meeting request etc), you can use any combination of
full email addresses, Nexus user names, individual aliases, and distribution list
aliases in your
To: field, as long as they are separated by
You can check how OWA will interpret your aliases by clicking the
Names icon in the toolbar (see Figure 45, Check Names). Where more
than one possibility is found, you will be presented with a list of options to choose
- Shows a grid with a small box for each day of the current month. A list of appointments is given for each day, but times are not displayed. Click the small arrow at the top right of a box, to see more details of the appointments on that day.
- Shows a column for each day of the current week from Sunday to Saturday (this can be changed in Calendar Options). Time of day goes down the screen and appointments are positioned against the appropriate time slots.
- Work Week
- By default, this is the same as Week. If preferred, you can choose which week days form part of your working week, by going to Calendar Options and unchecking the days which are not work days (normally Saturday and Sunday). By reducing the number of days shown, you can leave more space on your screen for work days.
- As Week view, but showing only one day. When you select an event, further details are shown in the preview pane.
If you already have a calendar in Outlook 2003/2007 or Entourage 2008, you can upload it to Nexus so that you can access it via OWA. To do the upload, you will need to set up Outlook or Entourage to connect to your Nexus account. Please see Calendars for details.
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. In the example above, the main text has been filled in with a schedule for the day. You can use this 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 Free, Busy, Tentative, or Out of Office 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 click the
Select Attendees button.
You can search for people in the global address book by typing in part of their name
<Enter>. Then select the person you want to invite, and click
Optional to add them. 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
Resources section. You do not need to add yourself, as
the meeting organiser is automatically included.
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
Request a response to this
invitation, on the
Responses from your invitees will appear in your inbox, unless the attendee chooses not
to send a response. In either case, you can check what responses have been entered by
opening the event and going to the
To add or edit recurrence options, open the event by double clicking on it in your calendar, and click the recurrence icon as shown in Figure 51, Meeting Recurrence.
At the top of the message are buttons allowing you to Accept, 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, as in the example above (Figure 53, Receive Meeting Request). In this case, you can click the link
conflicting appointments to see more details.
Whichever response you choose (Accept, Tentative, or Decline), when you click the
appropriate button you will be offered three options:
Edit the response before
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 Tracking tab
of 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.
- First, log in to OWA using your personal username and password.
- In your web browser address bar type this account in the form of:
- A language screen may appear. Select the appropriate language.
- The screen refreshes and shows your project mailbox. You can now perform standard email activities in your project account mailbox.
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 5. Setting Flags and Categories), using the options on the left. Click on the name of a task or flagged item to see more details in the Preview 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 task.
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 have forgotten your password, go to https://webauth.ox.ac.uk to reset it.