Outlook Web App

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Outlook Web App
Outlook Web App (logo).png
Outlook web app.PNG
Outlook Web Access on Internet Explorer
Developer(s) Microsoft
Type Webmail, calendaring software
License Part of Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365; licensing terms tallies
Website microsoft.com/exchange/en-us/outlook-web-app.aspx

Outlook Web App (OWA), originally called Outlook Web Access and before that Exchange Web Connect (EWC), is a webmail service of Microsoft Exchange Server 5.0 and later. Outlook Web App comes as a part of Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Office 365.


Outlook Web App is used to access e-mail (including support for S/MIME), calendars, contacts, tasks, documents (used with SharePoint or in 2010, Office Web Apps), and other mailbox content when access to the Microsoft Outlook desktop application is unavailable. In the Exchange 2007 release, OWA also offers read-only access to documents stored in Microsoft SharePoint sites and network (UNC) shares.[citation needed] Microsoft provides Outlook Web App as part of Exchange Server to allow users to connect remotely via a web browser. Some of the functionality in Outlook is also available in this web "look-alike". The most important difference is that Microsoft Outlook allows users to work with e-mail, calendars, etc., even when an internet connection is unavailable, whereas OWA requires an internet connection to function.

Outlook Web App also is used to function on Microsoft Office 365, with use of Microsoft Lync and SharePoint document sharing.


The Outlook Web Access interface available since Exchange 2000 comes in two options: one with a complete feature set (known as "Premium") and one with reduced functionality (known as "Light" or sometimes "Lite"). Prior to Exchange 2010, "Premium" access required Internet Explorer. Exchange 2000 and 2003 require Internet Explorer 5 and later,[1][2] and Exchange 2007 requires Internet Explorer 6 and later.[3] Exchange 2010 requires Internet Explorer 7 or later, Mozilla Firefox 3.01 and later, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari 3.1 and later for full functionality; however, Exchange 2010 performs checks on the operating system type to restrict Mac OS X and GNU/Linux users to Firefox or Safari, thereby making Google Chrome only officially compatible on the Windows operating system, even though there is very little difference in its JavaScript and rendering capabilities between platforms.[4] The lacking Google Chrome and Linux support came with Exchange 2013, since then, even offline access is supported under Linux.[5]

In all versions of Exchange, the "OWA Light" user interface (UI) is rendered for other browsers. While the basic interface did not support search with Exchange Server 2003, the UI has been reworked for Exchange Server 2007. On Exchange Server 2007, OWA Light now supports search for mail items, and managing contacts and the calendar has also been improved.[6][7] On Outlook Web Access 2010, a user may now connect email accounts to one's Outlook Web Access. That feature is most ignored due to professional uses of Outlook Web Access.

On Exchange 2007, a user would get a pop-up that a new message was sent, but this was dropped on Outlook Web Access 2010.

Comparison to alternative web-based groupware[edit]

In previous versions, OWA provided a limited user experience to those not using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. As of OWA 2010 (provided with Exchange 2010), browser support for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers is available.[8] However, Microsoft still purposely excludes user agents that do not match its list of "supported browsers" from using the full version of the application. Some popular browser/OS combinations, such as Chrome on Linux, were excluded, but today this is no longer an issue.[5]

Several alternatives to OWA/Exchange exist. In addition, many businesses may opt for either hosted options provided by other companies such as Google Apps or Yahoo!'s Business Mail option, or may install local alternatives to Exchange server such as Zimbra, Kolab, Zarafa, or Scalix.

Use of OWA handheld/smart phone mail[edit]

OWA is used for several 3rd party clients to Microsoft Exchange Server.

OWA app is now available for use for Apple products under iOS7.


The first component to allow client-side scripts to issue HTTP requests (XMLHTTP) was originally written by the Outlook Web Access team.[9][10][citation needed] It soon became a part of Internet Explorer 5.0. Renamed XmlHttpRequest and standardized by the World Wide Web Consortium,[11] it has since become one of the cornerstones of the Ajax technology used to build advanced web applications.


There are multiple ways to log into Outlook Web App. On Office 365, one will need to put in one's Microsoft Online Services ID. On regular Exchange servers, one will be greeted to log in by user domain\username or either username@domain. One must have the correct server to log in.


Outlook Web Access was created in 1995 by Microsoft Program Manager Thom McCann on the Exchange Server team. An early working version was demonstrated by Microsoft Vice President Paul Maritz at Microsoft's famous Internet summit in Seattle on December 27, 1995. The first customer version was shipped as part of the Exchange Server 5.0 release in early 1997.


  1. ^ "Exchange 2000 Outlook Web Access". Microsoft Corporation. 2002. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  2. ^ "Improvements in Outlook Web Access 2003". Microsoft Corporation. 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  3. ^ "Client Features in Outlook Web Access". Microsoft Corporation. 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  4. ^ "Outlook Web App Supported Browsers". Microsoft Corporation. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  5. ^ a b Supported browsers for Outlook Web App - support. Office.microsoft.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  6. ^ "Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access". Microsoft Corporation. 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  7. ^ "Client Features in Outlook Web Access". Microsoft Corporation. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  8. ^ "Outlook Web App Supported Browserss". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  9. ^ Le Roy, Bertrand; Matt Gibbs (2006). "Some history: from XmlHttp to UpdatePanel". ASP.NET AJAX UpdatePanel Control (in English). O'Reilly Short Cuts. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-596-52747-1. 
  10. ^ Hopmann, Alex. "The story of XMLHTTP" (in English). Archived from the original on 2007-06-23. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "The XMLHttpRequest Object". W3C. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01. 

External links[edit]