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Microsoft Outlook Web Access Options You Need To Know About

written by: Winston Smith•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 2/6/2011

Properly configuring Microsoft Outlook Web Access options makes for a more useful and effective email experience. This article explains how to set up the auto-reply feature, control the amount of spam you receive and create a professional email signature.

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    Introducing Outlook Web Access (OWA)

    Outlook Web Access (OWA) Logo Microsoft Outlook is a powerful communication and time management tool used by many professionals and companies. Whether you want to send email, organize meetings or keep track of your tasks, you can do it all in Outlook. What happens when you're away from your office computer and you need to check your Outlook calendar? Outlook Web Access (OWA), accessible through most web browsers, is the answer to your problems. To get the most out of OWA, review the Microsoft Outlook Web Access options discussed in this article.

    You should also be aware that OWA tends to work best with the Internet Explorer web browser, so use that if you can. Other browsers, such as Firefox, will work but they may not offer full functionality.

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    Setting Up Outlook's Out of Office Assistant

    To relax while you're on vacation and minimize the stress you have when you return, it is important to set up an auto reply message. These automated feature automatically replies to any email you receive (e.g. "John Smith is out of the office until March 15. If your question is urgent, please contact Vanessa; vanessa.smith@company.com.") Fortunately, Outlook Web Access (OWA) makes this easy to do. The feature is called the "Out of Office Assistant." Two aspects of the Assistant are particularly worth noting:

    • Different Out of Office Messages: If you wish, you can send one message to senders inside your organization and a different message to senders outside your organization.
    • Scheduling: You can set the out of office assistant to spring into action at whatever time you wish. For example, if you expect to have a busy week and worry about forgetting to set up your auto-reply, you can set up the "out of office" assistant a week in advance and choose what time of day you want it to start.

    Once you have set up the Out of Office Assistant, you can relax and hit the road with the peace of mind that a computer is handling your email until you return back to the office.

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    How To Cut Down on Junk E-Mail in Outlook Web Access

    Junk e-mail is a fact of life in the digital age but Outlook Web Access has a tool to help you reduce the amount of messages you receive. When you open up the Junk E-Mail option, the first setting you should enable is "Automatically filter junk e-mail." While OWA is not perfect, it can filter out the majority of junk e-mail (also known as spam) that is sent to your account. For the majority of users, enabling this option will take care of the spam you receive. Two additional features are worth mentioning however:

    • Safe Senders List: If you put an email address on this list, you will always receive those messages - they will never be filtered out. This feature is helpful if you registered on important email lists or if you always want to make sure emails from specific clients arrive safely in your Inbox.
    • Blocked Senders List: This list is the opposite of the Safe Senders List. If you list an address here, you will never see a message from that sender again. This feature is powerful and should be used carefully.
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    How To Set Up Your Email Signature

    Effective use of email goes beyond simply writing in a clear way. You should also make it easy for people to contact you and understand who you are. Setting up an email signature in Outlook Web Access will add a block of text to the bottom of every email you send. Here is an example email signature:

    Jane Smith, MBA

    Managing Director, Public Markets

    Asset Management Company

    Tel: 555-555-5555

    Email: jane.smith@assetco.com

    To set up your email signature, click "Options" in the top right of Outlook Web Access, then click on "Messaging." The email signature option is the first option available to you. While you do not have the use the example shown above as a model, it is a wise idea to include those basic contact details in some format.

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    References

    • Microsoft's Outlook Web Access (OWA) - http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/code/owa/index.html
    • Requirements for OWA Light and Premium Interfaces - http://help.ic.utoronto.ca/content/68/432/en/requirements-for-owa-light-and-premium-interfaces.html