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Client Features in Outlook Web Access

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 will reach end of support on April 11, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Applies to: Exchange Server 2007, Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Exchange Server 2007 SP2, Exchange Server 2007 SP3

This topic describes the new and enhanced client features in Outlook Web Access in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. These new features are available only when you use an Exchange 2007 server that has the Client Access server role installed to open a mailbox that is on an Exchange 2007 server that has the Mailbox server role installed. There are two versions of Outlook Web Access: Outlook Web Access Light and Outlook Web Access Premium. Outlook Web Access Light supports accessibility features for users who are blind or have low vision, and it will run on most Web browsers. It provides a simplified user interface and reduced feature set compared with Outlook Web Access Premium. Outlook Web Access Premium requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or later versions and provides features that are currently not available in the Light version, such as Unified Messaging and the ability to check spelling.

For more information about how to use the features in Outlook Web Access Premium and Light, see the Outlook Web Access Help.

Client Features

The following table lists some of client features and functionality of Outlook Web Access in Exchange 2007.

Client features and functionality in Outlook Web Access

Feature and functionality Description User experience

Logon Screen

User logon screen for Outlook Web Access.

The logon screen has been redesigned to more clearly present the logon options to users.

Users continue to be able to specify Private or Public when they log on.


Navigation in Outlook Web Access resembles navigation in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007.

Navigation in Outlook Web Access has been improved in several ways. These improvements include the following:

  • More flexible view of messages. The user can select how the list of messages is displayed, where the reading pane appears, and can choose from multiple grouping and sorting options that are available through a drop-down menu.

  • Easier navigation through the list of messages by using controls at the bottom of the page.

  • Improved notifications. Notifications and reminders appear within the Outlook Web Access window and can be accessed by using drop-down menus in the toolbar until they are cleared.

  • Enhanced search capability that lets users quickly perform searches on mail and task folders. Users also have an option to refine their search through an extended search menu.

  • Customizable navigation pane. The user can modify the width of the navigation pane by dragging the vertical bar between it and the content list. The user can also reduce the navigation pane content by clicking an icon at the top of the navigation pane. This minimizes each section of the navigation pane to a small button along the side of the page.


Move items by dragging them to a new location.

Outlook Web Access now supports using a drag-and-drop operation to move folders and items within folders from one location to another.


Right-click items to see actions that are available.

In many areas, Outlook Web Access supports right-clicking to open a menu of the actions that are performed most frequently.

Arrange By

Choose how messages are arranged.

The Arrange By selection is available in message folders, such as the Inbox. By clicking Arrange By, the user can arrange messages by date, from, and other options.

Conversation is a new option that arranges messages in a threaded view by subject.

Address Book

The improved Address Book makes it easier for users to search Address Lists and Contacts.

The Address Book in Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access includes the following improvements:

  • Easier and more efficient searching for information in Address Lists and Contacts.

  • Clearer options when you are using the Address Book to select meeting attendees and resources. The Address Book provides options to limit the view to resources, or to limit the search to specific address books.

  • When users compose e-mail messages or meeting invitations, they can select any recipient field or click the Address Book icon in the mail form to search the Address Book for e-mail recipients or resources, such as meeting rooms.


The Calendar has been improved to make it easier for users to find information and manage their schedules.

The Calendar includes the following improvements:

  • Faster access to meeting details through the optional reading pane in the Day and Week views.

  • Faster navigation through the calendar by using the date picker in the navigation pane.

  • Multiple view options enable users to view their calendar by using week, work week, or single day views.

  • The ability to modify calendar items by dragging them to a new time.

Flagging Messages

Flagged messages automatically appear in Tasks.

When a user adds a follow-up flag to a message, it automatically appears in Tasks.

Junk E-Mail

Manage junk e-mail from Outlook Web Access.

Users can review the contents of the Junk E-Mail folder in Outlook Web Access, and move any messages that have been incorrectly designated as junk to the Inbox by selecting them and clicking the Not Junk button on the toolbar.

Explicit Logon

Explicit logon opens another mailbox in a new window.

Explicit logon enables a user to select and open any mailbox to which they have been granted full access. Each mailbox that is opened is displayed in a new Web browser window.

For more information about explicit logons, see How to Enable Explicit Logons in Outlook Web Access.

Scheduling Assistant

The Scheduling Assistant makes it easier to find times and resources for meetings.

When scheduling a meeting, users can switch from the Appointment tab to the Scheduling Assistant tab to add attendees, search for a conference room, and find a meeting time. The Scheduling Assistant offers the following enhancements:

  • Improved management and scheduling of meeting attendees and meeting locations. The user can enter the names of meeting attendees or meeting rooms directly in the Scheduling Assistant or perform an advanced search by using the Address Book.

  • An easier way to search for meeting times when all attendees and resources are available. The Suggested Times section of the Scheduling Assistant uses free/busy information to choose optimal times for attendees and resources. Promising times are color-coded and labeled as Great, Good, or Poor. The availability of each attendee and resource is organized by Required, Optional, and Resource.

Windows SharePoint Services and Windows File Shares Integration

Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access includes a new feature that supports read-only access to documents and document libraries on Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file shares.

The Windows SharePoint Services and Windows File Shares Integration feature makes information about Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file shares available to users even when they are not connected to an internal network.

  • Users can access documents and document libraries on Windows SharePoint Services and Windows network file shares without connecting to a virtual private network (VPN).

  • Outlook Web Access lets users retrieve documents on internal Windows SharePoint Services sites or Windows file shares from a link embedded in an e-mail message.

  • Users can browse the contents and hierarchies on Windows network file shares and Windows SharePoint Services document libraries through Outlook Web Access.


The Search function in Outlook Web Access has been re-designed to provide more accurate and faster results and to reduce manual work and time that is spent finding items in a mailbox.

The Search feature contains the following improvements:

  • Quick access to basic search of any folder through the search window at the top of each folder list.

  • One-click access lets users extend the search to other folders by using the drop-down list next to the search field.

  • Advanced search by using the expansion icon next to the search window. Advanced search lets users specify what part of messages, contacts, or tasks to look in. It also lets them search based on From or To values and to search by category.


Search results are limited to the first 100 matches found.

Type-down Search

Type-down search enables users to find items quickly in message, Contacts, and Tasks folders.

To use type-down search, in a message folder, use Arrange By to select From, To, or Subject, and then start to type. For example, to search for any message whose subject begins with "agenda", select Subject from Arrange By, and then type "agenda".

Type-down search also works in Contacts and Tasks folders and the Address Book, and always searches based on the current Arranged By setting.

Reminders and Notifications

Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access includes several changes to the Reminders and Notifications features.

The Outlook Web Access Reminders and Notifications features include the following improvements:

  • Reminders and notifications are presented as an overlay on the current Web browser window.

  • Users can click Reminders to view a list of current reminders. Reminders is located in the upper-right corner next to the Help icon.

  • Notifications that new mail has arrived are less distracting than in earlier versions of Outlook Web Access. A notification appears as a brief overlay to the main window. A user can access the newest message by clicking the notification.

  • Notifications tell the user whether the new message is an e-mail message, a voice mail message, or a fax message.

Regional Settings

Users can select the language, date, and time settings they want Outlook Web Access to use.

The Regional Settings feature contains the following improvements:

  • The language setting is now independent of the browser language. Users can select the language that they want to use in Outlook Web Access from a list of languages under the Regional Settings section in Options.

  • Outlook Web Access automatically sets the date style, time style, and current time zone based on the language setting.


Users can select various Messaging options in Outlook Web Access.

The Messaging feature contains the following improvements:

  • Users can set options, such as the number of items that they want Outlook Web Access to display, and determine how notifications are displayed. All notifications, except Out of Office notifications, appear as mail items that can be dismissed and displayed on demand. Outlook Web Access shows separate notifications for different types of messages. These include e-mail, voice mail, and fax items.

  • Users can create a personal signature. They can also decide whether they want their signature to be included on all outgoing e-mail messages.

  • Users can select HTML or Plain text as the message text format type to use when they compose an e-mail message. Users can also change the font style, color, and size, for their messages.

  • Users can select how Outlook Web Access responds to requests for read receipts. Users can select to always send a response to read receipts, never send a response, or to be prompted before they send a response.

  • Users can specify how items are handled after they are displayed in the Reading pane. For example, they can specify that an item is marked as Read when the selection changes.


Outlook Web Access Premium lets users check the spelling of message before they are sent.

The spelling checker feature in Outlook Web Access offers all the options available in the spelling checker feature in Outlook 2007. These options include the following:

  • Ignore words in UPPERCASE

  • Ignore words with numbers

  • Always check spelling before sending

Users can also select which language to use when they check spelling.

Calendar Options

Users can select calendar and reminder options in Outlook Web Access.

The Calendar Options feature lets users control the following settings:

  • Users can turn on week numbers, select the first day of their week, and set time increments for the calendar display.

  • Users can select the days to show for their work week, and set the start times and the end times of their work days.

  • Users can set reminder notifications on their calendar and task items. They can also select to receive an audio notification when a reminder is due and the default reminder time that they prefer.

  • Users can control how meeting requests are handled.

    • New meeting requests can be tentatively added to the calendar.

    • Requests and responses that are out of date can be moved to the Deleted Items folder.

    • Meeting forward notifications can be automatically moved to the Deleted Items folder.

Out of Office Assistant

Users can auto-reply to senders when they are out of the office or send messages to senders for a specific period of time.

The Out of Office Assistant feature contains the following improvements:

  • Users can schedule their Out of Office messages in advance.

  • Users can customize separate Out of Office messages for their internal and external e-mail senders.

  • When users send Out of Office messages to external senders, they can select to send the messages to external senders who are included in their Contacts list or to anyone outside their organization.

Junk E-Mail options

Users can now manage their junk e-mail settings from within Outlook Web Access.

The Junk E-Mail feature gives users lots of control over potential junk-e-mail. They can:

  • Turn junk e-mail filtering on or off.

  • Create lists of Safe Senders, Blocked Senders, and Safe Recipients.

  • Enter e-mail domains or complete SMTP addresses.

  • Always trust e-mail from their contacts.


The option to always trust contacts does not work if the user has more than 1024 contacts.

  • Block any e-mail that does not come from somebody in their organization or does not match their Safe Senders or Safe Recipients lists.

Search Folders

Search folders are virtual folders that provide a view of e-mail items that match a set of criteria. For example, the default Search folder Unread contains a view of all unread messages.

The Search Folders icon is always visible in Outlook Web Access, even if you have disabled the feature.

Custom Search folders that a user has created in Microsoft Office Outlook will not be visible unless they have been initialized on the server that is hosting the user's mailbox. Search folders that are created in Outlook when users are working in Online mode are automatically initialized on the server. Custom Search folders that are created when users are using Outlook in Cached Exchange or Offline mode are not automatically initialized on the server and will not be visible in Outlook Web Access. To initialize these folders on the server, switch Outlook to Online mode and open each of the Search folders. You can then switch back to Cached Exchange mode.

Change Password

Users can change their Active Directory account password in Outlook Web Access.

By using Change Password in Options, users can change their Active Directory password. If the user account is in a different forest from the Exchange server, the password expiration warnings will not work.

Note   The OWA password change feature has a password length limit of 63 characters.

General Settings

A set of miscellaneous settings that control the user experience.

Users can set the following options in General Settings:

  • E-mail Name Resolution   In the Premium version of Outlook Web Access, users can select whether to check first in the Global Address List or Contacts. This option is set in Messaging in Outlook Web Access Light.

  • Appearance   Users can select the color scheme that they want to use for their Outlook Web Access session.

  • Accessibility   In Outlook Web Access Premium, users who are blind or have low vision can select Use the blind and low vision experience in the Accessibility section. This setting is set in Accessibility in Outlook Web Access Light.

Voice Mail

Voice mail options are a new feature in Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2007.

By using the voice mail options, users can:

  • Play or record a greeting through a telephone.

  • Set the play or record number that the Exchange server will use to play messages to them or to record messages.

  • Turn on missed call notifications.

  • Reset their voice mail PIN.

  • Select which folder to read when they access data from a telephone.

Users can play voice messages in Outlook Web Access by clicking the Play button on a voice message.

Resource Mailbox

Resource mailboxes can be configured and managed by using Outlook Web Access.

When a resource mailbox is opened by using Outlook Web Access, Resource Settings is added to the Options menu. The owner of a resource mailbox can set the following properties through Outlook Web Access:

  • Resource scheduling options

  • Resource scheduling permissions

  • Resource privacy options

  • Response messages

Deleted Items

Users can decide how Outlook Web Access handles deleted items.

In Outlook Web Access for Exchange 2007, users can set Outlook Web Access to automatically empty their Deleted Items folder when they log off. This option is set in Messaging in Outlook Web Access light.

Mobile Devices

Users can manage their mobile devices in Outlook Web Access.

Users can perform the following mobile device tasks in Exchange 2007 Outlook Web Access:

  • Remove devices that are no longer being used.

  • Initiate a remote device wipe to help protect their e-mail information on a lost telephone or mobile device.

  • View the status of devices that have a partnership with their Exchange 2007 mailbox.

The user receives a warning message when they click an embedded link

Users may be prevented from opening potentially unsafe links.

If a user clicks an embedded link that uses a protocol that is not recognized by Outlook Web Access, the link will be blocked and the user will see the warning "Outlook Web Access has disabled this link for your protection". This protects users from potentially harmful content.

The user receives a warning that a request will not be processed

Some user requests will be blocked by Outlook Web Access. This feature is available only in Outlook Web Access Light.

Every form request that is sent to the Client Access server that is hosting Outlook Web Access, such as a request for a new e-mail message, includes a unique identifier. If Outlook Web Access receives a request that does not include the correct identifier, it will reject the request. This prevents unauthorized processes from using Outlook Web Access as a transport mechanism.

There are some differences between the features that are available in Outlook Web Access Light and Outlook Web Access Premium. Table 2 lists these differences.

Table 2   Comparison of Outlook Web Access Light and Outlook Web Access Premium

Feature Light Premium

Spelling Checker

Not available


Reading Pane

Not available


Accessibility for Blind and Low Vision Users


Not available

Notifications and Reminders

Not available


Weekly Calendar Views

Not available


Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file share Integration

Not available


Compose Messages by Using HTML

Only plain text is available in Outlook Web Access Light


Calendar Options

Limited to the following features:

  • Show week numbers

  • Set the first day of the week

  • Select days of the week

  • Set day start and end times


Arrange By

Limited to a subset of choices, depending on the folder type


Right-Click Menu

Not available



Not available


Explicit Logon

Not available


Type-down Search

Not available


Resource Mailbox Management

Not available


Appearance (Color Scheme)

Not available


Voice Mail Options

Not available


New in Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

Change to Outlook Web Access Light   With Exchange 2007 SP1, Outlook Web Access Light will monitor user activity so that Outlook Web Access does not time out while a user is composing a long entry.

Changes to Outlook Web Access Premium   The following features have been added to Outlook Web Access Premium in Exchange 2007 SP1.

  • Users can create and edit personal distribution lists.

  • Users can create and edit server side rules.

  • WebReady Document Viewing has added support for some file formats of the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

  • Users will have access to the dumpster from Outlook Web Access and will be able to use the Recover Deleted Items feature.

  • A monthly calendar view has been added.

  • Move and copy commands have been added to the Outlook Web Access user interface.

  • Public Folders are supported through the /owa virtual directory.

  • S/MIME support has been added.

  • Additional customization features that have been added include the following:

    • The ability to integrate with custom message types in the Exchange store so that they are displayed correctly in Outlook Web Access.

    • The ability to customize the Outlook Web Access user interface to seamlessly integrate custom applications into Outlook Web Access.

For More Information

For more information about new features in Exchange 2007 SP1, see New Client Access Features in Exchange 2007 SP1.

For more information about how to manage Outlook Web Access features, see How to Manage Segmentation in Outlook Web Access.

For more information about how to manage Outlook Web Access, see Managing Outlook Web Access.

For information about how to access public folders from Outlook Web Access, see How to Enable Users to Access Public Folders from Outlook Web Access.