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Microsoft 365 - Best Practices

This document contains aggregated information about best practices for interacting with your Office 365 email and calendar account. References to other documentation are provided for deeper reading.

Office applications available via Outlook on the web

Faculty/staff/students now have the ability to download/install Office applications via Outlook on the web.

Use the latest version of Microsoft Outlook

The latest version of Microsoft Outlook will provide the best performance, most functionality, and highest level of security when interacting with your UW-Madison Office 365 Email and Calendar account.

The DoIT Techstore sells a discounted subscription-based "Microsoft Office 365 University" for both Windows and Macs. The 4 year subscription provides you with updates as they are released, which includes the latest client versions. For more information about this product, visit the product's page on the Techstore website:

Discounted options for Microsoft Office also exist for departmental purchasing.

Manage your mailbox size

Degraded performance can occur if your mailbox or folders sizes are exceptionally large. The University of Virginia recommends keeping fewer than 5000 messages in all active folders (including Sent). If you access your mailbox from a mobile device, they recommend keeping fewer than 2000 messages in folders. Move messages to archival folders if your active folders are growing large.

Forwarding and Calendaring

Do not forward your email off of the system. Doing so can break calendaring functionality. Because email and calendaring in Office 365 are tightly integrated, forwarding email off of the system can prevent calendar meetings and invitations from showing up on your calendar. Calendar items must be processed on the server, and forwarding the email prevents this from occurring.

In addition, mail delivery cannot be guaranteed after messages are forwarded off our system. Once we've forwarded the messages to another system, it is entirely up to the receiving email system whether or not to filter the message or delivery it properly.

Calendar Notifications

When prompted, always send calendar updates to the organizer and other participants. These notifications are not unnecessary "spam". It is critical that notifications are sent to all participants in a meeting so that their calendars accurately reflect the meeting participant status. Choosing not to send these notifications because they may be perceived as annoying or spam is not recommended.

Calendar Sharing

If you would like to change default sharing levels or provide other users with additional access to your calendars, always use the built-in levels rather than creating custom levels. This ensures that you're on a common footing, and permissions are more predictable. This allows for simpler troubleshooting, should it be necessary.

Regarding providing others permissions, always use the lowest level possible to provide the access needed. If you need someone to create meetings for you, but not accept meetings or edit meetings, grant them "Editor/Author" permissions.

Local Spam Filtering

There is a system-wide spam filter in effect for the UW-Madison Office 365 mail system. If you enable additional spam filtering in local email clients such as Outlook, Thunderbird, or Apple Mail, you may be reducing functionality of the existing spam filter or accidentally marking incorrect messages as spam.

Mobile devices and calendaring

It is the Office 365 team's recommendation to never respond to calendar invitations or invite others on a mobile device. Functionality handling invitations on mobile devices is limited and inconsistent. It is recommended to use Outlook on the web or Outlook desktop client to handle invitations.

Connection Protocols

If you intend to interact with your Office 365 account using a desktop/mobile client, the only supported clients are Microsoft Outlook. To configure Outlook, use these instructions.


Keywordsmicrosoft office 365 o365 m365 microsoft 365 best practices exchange email calendar clients mobile outlook versions wep apps o365 m365 microsoft 365   Doc ID29065
OwnerO365 S.GroupMicrosoft 365
Created2013-03-13 09:33:45Updated2023-02-02 09:22:50
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Microsoft 365
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