This guide assumes that you already know the basics of using Outlook Web Access (Light 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, use folders to manage your email, use the address book, set up mail forwarding, and more. Please browse the sections below for more information.
See also: OWA (Full) guide for Internet Explorer users.
You can structure your mail however is most convenient for you, with folders within
folders to any depth you like. To manage your folders, click on the link
Folders... in the
Navigation Pane at the left side of the
screen. This opens the
Manage Folders screen (see Figure 4, Manage Folders
To create a new folder, select name of the folder which you want to be the parent
folder, in the
Create folder in: box. To create a top-level folder,
choose your own name as the parent folder. Then type the name of the new folder into the
resulting box, e.g.
Big Project (see Figure 5, Create a new
To move a folder, select the folder in the
Folder to move: box, then
choose a new parent folder for it, and click
Move. The folder and all
its contents (including any sub-folders) will be moved to the new location. Built-in
folders cannot be moved.
To delete a folder, select the folder in the
Folder name: box, and click
Delete. This will move the folder, along with all messages and
sub-folders contained within it, to your
Deleted Items folder. Built-in
folders cannot be deleted.
To move a message, open the message by clicking on it in your list of messages, and
Move from the toolbar at the top of the message (see Figure 6, Move a message).
You can now select one of your recently-used folders by clicking the radio button next
to its name, or choose any folder from the list. Once you have chosen your destination
Move to move the message.
You can move a number of messages at once, from your message list. Click in the
checkbox next to each one so that a green tick appears, or select all by clicking in the
checkbox at the top of the list (see Figure 8, Move multiple
messages). Then click
Move in the toolbar at the top of the list and follow the procedure
When you delete a message, 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, simply select
the item and click
Move in the toolbar above the message. Choose the
folder you want to restore it to and click the
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, but you will need to log in to the full version of OWA, which requires Microsoft Internet Explorer. This is installed on the computers in the Computing Services Help Centre. Please see the instructions for recovering deleted items using OWA Full Version for details.
By default, messages in your inbox, and in other folders, are sorted by date, with the newest message at the top. OWA provides several other ways to sort messages, which can help you to find a particular message or group of messages when you want to.
- Sort messages by importance - low, normal and high. The importance is set by the sender.
- Sort messages into types - separates non-email items such as meeting requests
- Sort messages depending on whether they have an attachment
- Sort messages alphabetically by sender
- Sort messages alphabetically by subject line. Where the subject line begins with "Re:" or "Fwd:", this is ignored for sorting
- Sort messages by the date (and time) when they were received
- Sort messages by their size including any attachments
You can see which column your messages are sorted on, by looking for a small arrow next to the column heading. For example, in Figure 9, Sorting messages, messages are sorted by subject.
To search for messages containing a particular keyword, simply type the keyword into the
Type here to search, above the list of messages, and press
Enter (or click on the magnifying glass). The results are shown in your
message list (see Figure 10, Search for messages
The search will identify all messages in the current 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.
As well as searching the current folder, you can search the sub-folders, or you can search in all folders, by choosing the appropriate option from the drop-down list next to the search box. All search results appear in one list, even if the messages are stored in separate folders, but you can perform actions on the search results (e.g. move to different folder) as if they were together in a single folder.
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, or the
attachments link (see Figure 11, Attach files icon).
Next click on
Browse on the left hand side of the resulting screen
(Figure 12, Browse to file(s)). This will open a dialog box where you can browse the
available drives and folders to choose the file you want to attach. Once you have
located the file, click
Open. The file name now appears in the
attachment box, click
Attach to upload the file ready for sending.
The name of the file, and its size, will now appear in the list of Attachments, in the
main part of the screen (Figure 13, Attach files). You can add further
attachments in the same way. If you wish to remove an attachment, click the checkbox
next to it and then click
When you receive a message with an attachment, a small paperclip icon appears next to the message in your inbox. When you open the message, you will see a list of attached files at the top of the message (e.g. see Figure 14, Message with attachments).
To view an 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, or choose to open it now. If you open it now, your browser will attempt to find an appropriate application based on 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
[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!
Some attachments can be viewed as a webpage, by clicking on the link
Webpage next to the name of the file. This is particularly useful if you are
using a computer which does not have the appropriate application, such as Microsoft Word
or Adobe Acrobat, installed. It is also a safer way to view potentially harmful
attachements, but you should never open any type of attachment, even from someone you
trust, unless you are expecting it.
In this case, you will see a notification at the top of the message, informing you of the name of the blocked attachment (e.g. see Figure 15, Message with blocked attachment).
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 (in the Navigation pane on the
left-hand side). You will see a screen which looks like Figure 16, 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
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). If the signature is not automatically
added, you cannot use it in OWA Light, as there is no option to add the signature when
writing a message. However, your signature created in OWA Light will also appear in OWA
Full and in Outlook, where you can add it at the time of writing the message.
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. The system 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 into the appropriate box, ensuring that the
Replace my current
Out Of Office message with the following checkbox is ticked. When you are happy
with your messages, click
Save at the top of the screen.
The University email servers will automatically intercept some junk mail (commonly called spam) before it reaches you, in particular, 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 OWA, click
Options (top right of the screen) and then choose
Junk E-Mail to open the Filtering options screen (Figure 18, Junk Email filtering
- 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
- Blocked Senders List
- Specify the addresses of any senders whose messages should always be considered spam (sometimes known as blacklist).
- 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 delete 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.
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.
The address book opens in a separate window (Figure 20, Global Address Book). To view further details, click on a person's name.
The newly created contact should now be visible in your contacts: Figure 23, Contacts view with new entry. You can view or edit their details by clicking on their name.
To add extra details, or to change existing information about a contact, click on
their name in your contacts list to view their full details (see Figure 24, View full contact
details), and then click
Edit Contact. 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
Save and Close to store the information.
To delete a contact, select them in your contacts list and click the
Delete button at the top of the list (see Figure 25, Delete
contact). The contact will be moved to your Deleted Items
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 www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/email/maillists for more information.
You can specify the people you want to send a message to, using any combination of
email addresses, Nexus usernames, individual Contact names or display names, and
distribution list names in your
To: field, separated by semi-colons.
Check Names to automatically convert usernames and aliases into
email addresses based on your contacts and/or the global address book. Where a name
cannot be uniquely matched, a list of suggestions will appear in the left-hand pane
(e.g. see Figure 27, Check names of
recipients); click on the correct one to select it or
Delete next to the original name to remove it.
For more information about address books, including details of how to import your existing address book, please see Contacts in Nexus.
Navigate between different dates by using the mini-calendar on the left of your screen. Appointments will be marked in the calendar against the relevant time slot. To view full information about a calendar entry, or to edit it, click on its title.
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, click on the
New Appointment button in the
navigation bar above the calendar. When the new appointment window opens, add the
necessary information. Click on
Save and Close to add the appointment to
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.
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.
This activates the attendees fields: Required, Optional, and Resources. You can add
people to the Required and Optional fields in the same way as when sending an email
message - choose them from the list of recent recipients on the left of your screen, or
Optional buttons to choose
people from the Global Address Book. 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 a list of suggested times, and information about how many attendees are available. These start from the day you have selected for the meeting, and go forward for a week. However, within a given day, the suggested times are listed in reverse order. If an attendee has a conflicting appointment, this will be noted next to the suggested time. You can choose a new time by clicking on it
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. You can check what responses have been received by opening the meeting/event in your calendar. At the top of the screen you will see a banner telling you how many attendees have accepted, how many declined, and how many tentatively accepted.
To add or edit recurrence options, open the event by clicking on it in your calendar, and click the recurrence icon as shown in Figure 32, Meeting Recurrence.
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 34, Receive
Meeting Request). In this case, you can click the link
conflicting appointments to see more details.
At the top of the message are buttons allowing you to Accept, Tentatively Accept, or
Decline the request. Before you click one of these, decide whether you want to
Send the response now,
Edit the response before sending,
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 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.
OWA Light provides very limited support for tasks. You can view your task list by
Click to view all folders in the left-hand pane, and choosing
Tasks. This will give you a list of all tasks, but there is no indication
of which tasks are completed, or when they are due to be finished. Better support for
Tasks is available in the Full
version of OWA (Internet Explorer only), or by using Outlook/Entourage.
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 user name and password are correct, and then try again.
If you have forgotten your password, go to https://webauth.ox.ac.uk to reset it.