Outlook Web Access is an Internet-friendly way to check your Microsoft Exchange mail. Your mailbox is located on the Microsoft Exchange Server computer where your e-mail is delivered. Using Outlook Web Access allows you to check that mail from anywhere you can access the Internet.

How does Outlook Web Access work?
Although Outlook Web Access (OWA) doesn’t provide the complete power of Microsoft Exchange 5.5, you do have access to crucial functionality such as message creation, addressing, folder viewing, management, calendaring, and collaboration applications. Don’t be confused in thinking that Microsoft Outlook Web Access was developed as a replacement for Exchange. Its purpose is to be an enhancement for users who are away from the office.

What are the limitations of Outlook Web Access?
The following lists some of the limitations of Outlook Web Access:

  1. Offline use
  • User must connect to Exchange physically through the Internet to view information.
  • Offline viewing of messages is not available.
  1. E-mail
  • Spelling checker, auto-resolve addresses, and digital encryption are unavailable.
  • Message flags such as Reply, Message, and Forward are unavailable.
  • Inbox rules, three-pane viewing, and the ability to drag-and-drop messages into folders are unavailable.
  • Microsoft Office integration is unavailable.
  1. Calendar and group scheduling
  • Monthly calendar view is unavailable.
  • Other specialized views are unavailable. Simple calendar views are fully functional.
  1. Public folder access
  • Outlook views are not in table format.
  • In a nutshell, OWA was designed to give you simple access to your mail through a connection to the Internet. Future versions of Exchange server will reduce the limitations of Outlook Web Access.

    How do I use Outlook Web access?
    Checking your Outlook Web Access Mail is very easy. Assuming your company supports Outlook Web Access, complete the following steps to access you mail:

    1. Connect to the Internet from any computer.

    2. “Surf” to the following address: http://www.yourdomain.com/exchange. You can get the exact URL from your network administrator. You will see the Outlook Web Access appear, as seen in Figure A.

    Figure A
    After you type the URL in your browser, the Outlook Web Access will appear.

    3. Inside the Log On box, type your alias. Press [Enter] or click on the Click Here button inside the login instructions, as seen in Figure B.

    Figure B
    Type your alias in the Log On box, then press [Enter] to continue.

    4. A login box appears for security reasons, as seen in Figure C. You will be asked for a username and password. For clarification purposes, this is your network username. In most cases, your alias and username will be the same as on the computer in your office. Sometimes, however, they can differ. You will be provided with an e-mail describing your alias name and username. Your password is the same as your network password.

    Figure C
    For security reasons, a login box will appear. Enter your network username and password to continue.

    5. Click OK on the dialog box. In a few moments, your mail will appear. If you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to call the IT department.

    Jake Necessary is a network engineer in Hamilton, OH. If you’d like to share your opinion about or experience with Outlook Web Access, please post a comment below, or follow this link to write to Jake.

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