Using Outlook Web Access

Microsoft's Outlook Web Access (OWA) enables you to work with your HMS email account using a web browser. Outlook Web Access is only available to individuals using Internet Explorer on a Windows PC. Outlook Web Access Light is the version that's available for the Macintosh or any non-Internet Explorer web browser on the PC.

Logging On
The OWA Window
Message Management (Reading, Replying, Forwarding, Deleting)
Creating Messages
Message Drafts
Message Attachments
Folder Management (Creating, Renaming, Moving, Deleting)
Logging Off

Logging On

  1. Make sure you're connected to the Internet via a wired or wireless connection.
  2. Open Internet Explorer.
  3. Connect to http://email.med.harvard.edu

    OWA Log On

  4. If logging on from a shared computer (Internet cafe, public kiosk, etc.) select "This is a public or shared computer." If logging on from your own desktop or laptop computer, choose "This is a private computer."
  5. You can choose to use Outlook Web Access Light if you wish. If you're working from a slow connection it is sometimes faster, but the feature set is quite different. You can view instructions on how to use OWA Light here.
  6. Enter your eCommons Username and Password and click Log On.

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The Outlook Web Access Window

If you currently use Outlook on your Windows computer, you'll find Outlook Web Access looks and works much the same. There will be some differences, such as you won't have access to any Personal or Archive folders that may be stored locally, but otherwise, the main window should seem similar to what you're used to.

OWA Window

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Preview Pane

Preview Pane Tool

The Preview Pane lets you see the contents of a highlighted message. The Preview Pane will display to the right of the folder list. You can adjust the Preview Pane so that it displays below the folder list or doesn't show at all.

  1. Click the Preview Pane tool on the Folder Toolbar.
  2. Choose Off to hide the Preview Pane or choose Bottom to display the Preview Pane underneath the folder message listing.

Resizing the Preview Pane

  1. You can change the size of the Folder List and Preview Pane sections by placing your mouse pointer on the double line that separates these two areas.
  2. When the mouse's arrow is on top of the double line separator the shape will change to a double headed arrow.
  3. Press the left mouse button and drag to change the size to your liking.

Folder Message View

The default folder view will show multiple lines for each message. Clicking the Single Line/Multiple Lines tool on the Folder toolbar will change the folder view.

  • Multiple Line view lets you see the full name of the sender as well as the Subject line.
    Note: you'll see fewer messages in the folder listing at one time.
  • Single Line view shows messages in columnar format.
    Note: if the Preview Pane is on the right, you'll see truncated text in each column. Show the Preview Pane on bottom to see more of each message.

Folder Lines

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Message Management

After connecting to Outlook Web Access (OWA), your message Inbox will display. Unread messages appear in bold. As you continue to work in OWA, new messages will automatically display in your Inbox. To check for new messages at any time, click the Check Messages button on the Outlook Toolbar.

Sorting Inbox Messages

Messages within the Inbox display in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent messages appear at the top. You can rearrange the order of the messages but the method will depend on how you have the folder list displayed.

Multiple Lines

MultiLine Arrange

When the folder view is shown in multiple lines, the top bar displays the words "Arrange by: Date" which is followed by a drop down arrow.

  1. Click the drop down arrow to the right of the word Date to display a list of choices.
  2. Select a message attribute to sort by.
  3. The messages will be sorted in either ascending or descending order, depending on how the folder is sorted. To change the sort order, click the option setting on the far right of the bar. For example, if sorted by Date the option will read "Newest on top". Click once on this link to change the option to "Oldest on top".

Single Line View

When the folder view shows messages in a single line, the top bar displays column headings for each field.

Clicking this Column Heading Sorts by...
Message Priority Message priority.
Message Type Message type. Message types include email, meeting invitations and notifications.
Attachment Status Attachment status. If the message has a document attached, it will be display with a paper clip in this column.
Message From Message sender name.
Message Subject Message subject line.
Message Received The date the message was received.
Message Size The message size.
Category Column Category.
Flag Status Flag Status.
Note: Clicking on the same column heading twice reverses the sort order.

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Reading New Messages

New and unread message will display in bold. If using a Preview Pane, clicking on a message will display the message content in the Preview Pane. To view the full message:

  1. Double click anywhere on the message line.
  2. The message will appear in a new window.
  3. Click the close box in the upper right of the message window to return to the Inbox.
    Message Close

Reading Other Messages from within a Message

Once a message window is opened, you can read messages from the Inbox that were shown before and after the viewed message by using the up and down arrows in the message toolbar.

  1. Click once on the Subject line of a message to open it.
  2. To read the previous message (the one shown above the current message in the Inbox), click the up arrow. Previous Message
  3. To read the next message (the one shown below the current message in the Inbox), click the down arrow. Next Message
  4. Click the close box in the upper right of the message window to return to the Inbox.
    Message Close

Forwarding a Message

Forwarding a message lets you send a message originally sent to your to another individual.

  1. Click once on the Subject line of a message to open it.
  2. Click the forward button. Forward
  3. Enter an email address in the To... field or click the To... button to select from the Global Address List or your Personal Address Book.
    1. Search for a name by typing all or part of the individual's name and then clicking the Search icon.Search
    2. Click either the To ->, Cc -> or Bcc -> button.
    3. Repeat steps a and b above to add others to the addressee list.
    4. Click OK when done to return to the message.
  4. Enter any other text you'd like to include with the forwarded message.
  5. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

Replying to a Message

Replying to a message creates a new email with the sender's name in the To... field and the same text in the Subject line. Replying to a message lets you have a conversation with the same topic heading with an email correspondent.

  1. Click once on the Subject line of a message to open it.
  2. To reply to the original sender only, click Reply
    OR
    to reply to all message recipients click Reply to All.
  3. Add additional email addresses in the To..., CC: and Bcc: fields if desired.
  4. Enter the message text.
  5. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

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Deleting Messages

Deleting messages will move selected messaged to the Deleted Items folder. The Deleted Items folder can be set to empty automatically upon logging out of email or manually by clicking on the Empty Deleted Items Folder button on the toolbar.

To Delete a Single Message

  1. Select the folder you wish to delete an item from.
  2. Open the message.
  3. Click the Delete button on the message toolbar.

To Delete a Multiple Messages

  1. Select the folder you wish to delete items from.
  2. Click the checkbox next to the sender's name for each message to be deleted.
  3. Click the Delete button on the message toolbar.

Creating and Sending a Message

Follow the steps below to compose and sent and email message.

  1. Click the New Message button.
  2. Enter an email address in the To... field or click To... to select from the Global Address List or your Personal Address Book.
  3. To send someone a Carbon Copy, enter an email address in the Cc.. field or click Cc... to select from the directory listings.
  4. To send someone a Blind Carbon Copy, enter an email address in the Bcc... field or click Bcc... to select from the directory listings.
  5. Add additional email addresses in the To..., Cc: and Bcc: fields if desired.
  6. Enter the message text.
  7. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

Message Options

Message options lets you select a level of message importance and sensitivity as well as indicating if you'd like to be notified of the message receipt status.

  1. Create a new message as described above. Compose and address the message as you normally would.
  2. Click the Options button on the message toolbar.
    Message Options
  3. Select the message appropriate to your needs:
    1. Importance: Low, Normal or High
    2. Sensitivity: Normal, Personal, Private, Confidential. Messages will be marked accordingly, but recipients not using Internet Explorer or Outlook on a Windows computer will not see this indicated in the message body.
    3. Show Bcc: To display the recipients in the BCC field
    4. Request a delivery receipt if you want to be notified that the message has reached the recipient's Inbox
    5. Request a read receipt if you want to be notified that the recipient has opened or viewed the message.
    6. Click OK.
      Message Options
  4. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

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Message Priority

Setting a message priority is a way for you to indicate the message's level of urgency to the addressees.

  1. Create a new message as described above. Compose and address the message as you normally would.
  2. Select a priority level from the message tool bar.
    • Click Low Priority for low priority
    • Click High Priority for high priority
  3. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

Message Drafts

If you started a message in OWA but don't have the time to finish it, you can save a draft of the message that can be opened and completed at a later time.

Saving a Message Draft

  1. Create a new message as described above.
  2. Enter all or part of the message text.
  3. Click the Save button.

Retrieving and Sending a Draft Message

  1. Click the link for the Drafts folder to display the draft messages.
  2. Click the Subject line of the draft message to be completed.
  3. Complete the message text and any other changes that need to be made.
  4. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

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Message Attachments

Use the steps below to send a file along with your email message.

Note: There is an 8 MB file size limitation on attached documents. To send large documents you can use the HMS Secure File Transfer service, which allows large file size transfers.

  1. Create a new message.
  2. Compose and address the message as you normally would.
  3. Click the paper clip icon to select a document as an attachment.
  4. Click the Browse... button and navigate through your documents to locate the file you wish to attach.
  5. Click the Attach button.
  6. Repeat steps three through five to add other document attachments.
  7. Click Send when the message is completed.
    Send

Folder Management

Folders provide a way to organize your email messages. Outlook also provides some folders for you, such as the Deleted Items and Sent Items folders. Messages can be moved or copied into folders. If you access your HMS email account from multiple locations, any folder you create while using Outlook Web Access will be available to you from either your desktop email application (Entourage, Mac OS X Mail) or OWA.

Creating Folders

  1. Click Manage Folders... Manage Folders to show folder management options.

    Create Folder
  2. Select the enclosing folder, i.e. where you want the new folder created. If you want to create the folder on the top level, choose your account name which will be at the top of the folder list.
  3. Enter a name for the new folder.
  4. Click Create.

Renaming Folders

  1. Click Manage Folders... Manage Folders to show folder management options.
  2. Select the folder to be renamed.
  3. Enter a new name for the folder.
  4. Click Rename.

Moving Folders

  1. Click Manage Folders... Manage Folders to show folder management options.
  2. Select the folder to be moved from the drop down list.
  3. Select the destination folder; i.e. where the folder is to be moved to.
  4. Click Move.

Deleting Folders

Note: Deleting a folder removes the folders an messages stored within that folder. Please delete with caution!

  1. Select the folder you wish to delete.
  2. Click Delete.

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Logging Off

  1. When you're ready to exit from Outlook Web Access simply click Log Off on the far right of the OWA toolbar.
  2. Once you've logged off, you'll be prompted to close all browser windows, i.e. completely exit from the program. This is especially important if you are using a public or shared computer.



Copyright 2014 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Site Updated: 7/25/2014
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