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About Outlook Web Access (OWA)

To submit an FAQ about OWA, visit http://www.ohio.edu/oitech.

What is OWA?

OWA (Outlook Web Access) is the online companion to Microsoft Office Outlook. There are two versions of OWA available: OWA Premium and OWA Light.

What is the difference between OWA Premium and OWA Light?

 OWA Premium employs a fully-featured interface that is similar to the Outlook client but is only available to those using Internet Explorer 6 or later as their browser. OWA Light also has a rich set of features for a 'light' application and is accessible with via Safari, Firefox, Opera and older Internet Explorer browsers. OWA Light is the preferred application for those using a dial-up connection, anyone working in a lock-down browser mode (e.g. kiosk), or for blind and low vision clients who need accessibility support. For more information about OWA Light, read the product designer's blog about OWA Light. Both OWA Premium and OWA Light will provide access to mail and calendars.

Are there features in Outlook that are not available in either OWA Premium or OWA Light?

 Yes. See the Feature Comparison between Outlook Web Access (OWA) and Outlook chart. For BGSU's E-mail system, compare column 1 to column 3.

Do Mac OSX clients have access to OWA Premium?

Since their is no version of IE 6 or later for Mac OS X, only Mac OS X clients with a method to run Windows on their Mac will have access to OWA Premium from a web browser.

What is the default timeout period for inactivity on OWA Premium and OWA Light?

The default timeout period for inactivity is 15 minutes on both OWA Premium and OWA Light. Your connection is considered inactive when there are no web services requests. Note: Typing content into the body of an e-mail message is not considered a web service request. If you are typing a long message, you will need to click on the save icon periodically so you don't get logged out and loose your message. The 15 minute timeout period has been implemented for security purposes.

I've heard that I can recover deleted email messages using OWA. How is that done?

When you delete an e-mail message, it goes into your Deleted Items folder. If you have not also deleted the message from that folder, you can view it or move it to another folder. If you have removed the e-mail from the Deleted Items folder and still want to recover it, OWA Premium may let you do that. Under Options, choose Deleted Items and you will see e-mail messages you have recently deleted that you can recover.

What are the options for viewing attachments?

In addition to opening an attachment and viewing it using a specific application, OWA (Outlook Web Access) allows you to open certain attachments as a web page. You will want to use the Open as Web Page link if you don't have the application that created the document installed on your system or if you want to make sure you do not leave a copy of the document on the system you are using to open it. The web page that provides a copy of the attachment will be deleted when you close your session.

Why is some content blocked and what can I do to see it?

HTML content is blocked. A message like the one below will display with the directions on how to make the blocked content viewable.


How do I create vacation messages?

Both OWA Premium and OWA Light have an Out of the Office Assistant accessible from the Options menu. The only difference between them is that OWA Premium allows formatted text and OWA Light only allows plain text.
  • Click Options on the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the page.
  • Within Options, click 'Out of Office Assistant' in the navigation pane on the right.
  • For Out of Office Assistant options, change the selection to 'Send Out of Office auto-replies' and the form elements will become available so you can compose your message. You have the option of sending different messages to different groups. You may set both a start and end time for your auto-replies.
  • Click the Save button on the horizontal navigation at the top of the page.

I often send email to the same group of people. How do I create a distribution list?

Distribution lists can be created in OWA Premium but not in OWA Light. To create one, use the down-arrow next to the New Contact icon and select 'Distribution List'.

Is there any filtering mechanism for junk email?

Yes. Incoming messages are scanned by the filters and those which are determined to be SPAM with the highest level of certainty are discarded at the gateway, while messages which are identified as suspected SPAM or bulk mailings will be placed in a quarantine area. The quarantine offers a web interface that gives the user the ability to review messages identified as SPAM and choose to release for delivery those that they feel may have been misidentified by the filters. Additionally, the quarantine interfaces allows the user to set up custom blacklists (to block mail from undesired senders or domains) or whitelists (to explicitly allow messages from certain senders or domains) and manage their quarantine settings. Due to the large amount of SPAM messages received, the quarantine will be configured with a 14 day message retention time limit, after which messages will be deleted automatically. This will give users a reasonable amount of time to review quarantined messages without placing unreasonable demands on the storage space dedicated to the quarantine.

Why can't I find my folder when I use OWA Light?

In order to view your folders when using OWA Light locate and select the Click to View All Folders option on the left hand menu.

Once you have clicked this option a drop down menu will appear from which you can select the folder that you are looking for. Folders that are commonly used will appear directly below the Click to View All Folders option so that this process will not be needed to access them.

What features in OWA Premium are not available with OWA Light?

  • The Tasks module
  • Task specific properties: Only the text of the task items can be read through OWA Light.
  • Reminders
  • HTML composing of messages: OWA Light users get only plain text textboxes with no editing or formatting options.
  • Flags and Categories
  • Weekly view in Calendar: OWA Light shows the daily view only.
  • Free/Busy grid in Appointment/Meeting Scheduling Assistant: OWA Light users get only "Suggested Times".
  • Print
  • Spell Check
  • Conversation View
  • Account Quota information
  • Recover Deleted Items
  • Calendar month view
  • Add/edit distribution lists
  • S/MIME features
  • Add/edit rules
Note: The full featured (premium) version of OWA is only available when accessed using Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher on a Windows platform. OWA Light offers more limited functionality on other supported web browsers and platforms. For more information, see: Microsoft's Differences Between OWA Light and Premium