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.
1.2. Managing Folders
You can create new folders as sub-folders of your inbox, or at the same level as your inbox. Folders may contain messages and/or other folders.
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
Manage Folders... in the
Navigation Pane at the left side of the screen. This opens the
Manage Folders screen (see Figure 4, Manage Folders screen).
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 folder) and click
To rename a folder, select the folder in the
Current name: box, type in the new name in the box below, and click
Rename. Built-in folders, such as Inbox, Drafts, or Deleted Items, cannot be renamed.
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.
1.3. Move Messages Between folders
By default, mail messages sent to you are placed in the
Inbox, and messages that you send are placed in the
Sent Items folder. However, you can move a message to any folder you want.
To move a message, open the message by clicking on it in your list of messages, and choose
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 folder, click
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 above.
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 or Outlook. OWA-full compatible browsers are installed on the computers in the IT Services Help Centre. Please see the instructions for recovering deleted items using OWA Full Version for details.
3. Sorting messages
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.
You can sort messages by any of the column headings in your inbox, simply by clicking the column label:
- 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
Each of these sorting options has a default order, such as A on top, newest on top, or largest on top. You can reverse the order by clicking on the column heading again.
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 box marked
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 within folder).
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.
To clear the search, click the red
X next to the search box.
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.
Please note the search results in OWA are limited to the first 100 matches found. So you may need to set other criteria to see old messages.
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.
5.1. Attaching a File to a Message
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
Once you have selected all the files that you want to attach, click
Done to return to the message.
5.2. Receiving an Attachment
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 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!
Some attachments can be viewed as a webpage, by clicking on the link
Open as 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.
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' OWA. If you need the code to remain available in the attachment then use an email client (e.g. Outlook or Thunberbird) instead.
5.3. Blocked Attachments
The Nexus server blocks some types of email attachments which are particularly unsafe, such as Microsoft Access databases, and executable files.
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.
Once you are happy with your signature, click
Save at the top of the screen to confirm your changes.
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.
8. Filtering Emails
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://help.it.ox.ac.uk/email/junkmail/.
In addition to this University-wide protection, you can choose whether to apply further filters to your email.
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 options).
As well as switching filtering on or off, this screen allows you to access more advanced features:
- 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.
Remember to click
Save at the top of the screen to confirm your choices.
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.
9.1. The Global Address Book
Nexus provides a directory containing the email address and department/college of each current University member. This is available through the Global Address Book.
To access the global address book, click on
Address Book in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
The address book opens in a separate window (Figure 20, Global Address Book). To view further details, click on a person's name.
Contacts is your personal list of people you might want to contact through Nexus. As well as email addresses, Outlook can store their postal address, telephone number, notes etc.
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.
9.2.1. Adding Contacts
To add a new contact, click
New Contact above the contacts list to open a blank Contact Details screen.
Enter their details, particularly their email address, and then click
Save and Close (at the top of the screen).
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.
9.2.2. Editing and Deleting Contacts
You can make changes to, or delete, contacts from your list (but you cannot update the Global Address List).
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 click
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 folder.
9.3. Distribution Lists
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://help.it.ox.ac.uk/email/maillists for more information.
You cannot create a distribution list in the Light version of OWA. However, if you have created a distribution list using the Full version, or using Outlook, you can view and use it from OWA Light.
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 click
Delete next to the original name to remove it.
The same applies to the
For more information about address books, including details of how to import your existing address book, please see Contacts in Nexus.
To view your Nexus calendar, click the
Calendar button on the left of the screen.
You can change the calendar display by using the buttons in the top navigation bar: Day, Work Week, Week, Month.
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.
10.1. Adding an appointment to your calendar
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 your calendar.
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.
10.2. Choosing Attendees and Scheduling
To invite people to the meeting or event, open the event by clicking on it in your calendar (or create a new event). Click the
Invite Attendees button.
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 click the
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.
Once you have finished adding attendees, click on the
Scheduling Assistant tab to view free/busy times.
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
Once you have finished, click
Send at the top of the screen to send the invitations.
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.
If you need to make any changes to the meeting, you can do so and then click
Send Update to inform the other attendees.
10.3. Creating a recurring event
If you have an event that occurs regularly, you can add the whole series at once, by using the recurrence options.
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.
Use the buttons to select from a range of frequencies, and to set the date of the first occurrence, and if desired, the end date. Click
Save when finished.
10.4. Responding to a meeting request
When you receive a meeting request, it appears in your inbox just like an email message.
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
View the 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, 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 clicking on it, and you can send a new response.
12. Accessing a mailbox only account using a web browser
You need to use the Nexus email address of the account you want to access. In this example we are using a psychology email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 clicking
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, or by using other installed clients such as Outlook.
14. Login Problems
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.
Check your username and carefully retype your password.
If you have forgotten your password, go to https://webauth.ox.ac.uk to reset it.