You can access your Exchange account through any web browser using Outlook Web App (OWA). However, you are able to access additional features if you are using Internet Explorer.
OWA has the option of choosing a "private" computer or a "public" computer. If you select "private" you will be able to stay connected for hours rather than minutes. It is not recommended that you select "private" if you are on a public computer.
Internet Explorer users can choose between a "Full" and "Light" version of Outlook Web App. The "Full" version uses features created using features unique to Internet Explorer. All other browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Etc.) will use the "Light" version.
The first thing you will likely notice about the Full version of OWA is the fact that it features a Reading Pane which allows you to view emails in the same screen as your inbox. This saves you the hassle of having to load a page to view each email message. The Reading Pane is also present in the Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, and Public Folders sections, allowing you to view additional information on each item in a similar fashion.
The Full OWA has another time-saving feature allowing you to look up someone's email address without having to actually open your contacts list. Simply type in the person's name into the search box in the top right-hand corner of the web page, and a box will pop down as you type showing you the name and email that matches what you typed.
With the new version of OWA, you are also able to open another email account while logged into your account, assuming you have been given permissions to do so. Simply click your name in the top right-hand corner of the screen and a box will pop down that says "Select Mailbox". You can then type in the name of a person for whom you are a delegate, and a separate window will pop up displaying all the folders that you have permission to view.
Public folders are yet another new addition to the Full version of the Web Access. If your department uses public folders to store calendars or other information, you will now be able to access them using OWA by simply clicking the "Public Folders" from your list of places on the left side of your screen.
Tasks have now been integrated into the browser environment with OWA 2007. Only available in the full version, you can now view any tasks that you may have associated with your account, and make any necessary changes to them without having to use Office Outlook 2007.
The Full OWA now supports the creation and editing of Rules, which can be accessed from the options menu. You can use rules to do anything from automatically moving certain messages to redirecting messages to another account.
The Full OWA also offers more advanced options for composing messages. You can now choose different fonts, colors, etc. for your messages, and change the format (HTML or Plain Text) of your message if necessary.
More advanced Calendaring options are available in the Full version of OWA than are in the Light. The Full version offers reminder alerts for calendar events, as well as automatic calendar processing, which will automatically add/remove/edit events when you receive meeting updates, cancellations, etc. More time increment options are also available, allowing you to break your day down further into 15 minute intervals instead of the normal 30 minutes.
In the Full mode on OWA, you can choose to automatically empty your deleted items folder when you log out, which can help make it easier to keep your mailbox under its size limit. You can also recover items that you have deleted from the server (via empty deleted items). This feature can be accessed by going to Options > Deleted Items.
With the Full version, you have the ability to filter your contacts by type: Distribution Lists and People. You can also see the members of lists in the "reading pane."
The last feature that the Full version sports over the Light version involves basic UI functions, like the ability to hide the sidebar for more screen space, different display themes, and a basic layout more similar to the installable Outlook program.
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