Office 365 - Getting Started with Outlook on the web

This article will walk you through the basics for your mail, calendar, and contacts in Office 365. When you use your web browser to view your mail, calendar, and contacts, you're using Outlook Web App.

You may have used Outlook on the web to access your mailbox in the past, or this may be the first time you've seen Outlook on the web. Outlook on the web has been updated with a new look, but it still has the features and functionality that you rely on plus several new features. This article will introduce you to Outlook on the web.

In this article

Notifications, navigation, and settings

At the top of Office 365, you'll find a set of links that will take you to different parts of your Office 365 account. This article focuses on the features that are supported by Outlook on the web: notifications, links to each type of information stored in your mailbox, and links to your personal information and options.

Outlook on the web navigation bar

  1. These icons will appear when you have a new message, or a calendar or task reminder. You can click the envelope to see a preview of the latest new message, or the calendar to view and manage calendar and task reminders. The icons appear only when there is a new message or an active reminder.
  2. Click here to switch to other areas of Outlook on the web.
  3. Chat status, personal information, options, and help. Use this area to sign in to chat and to manage your chat status, change your personal information, go to options, or sign out of your account.

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Open an item in a separate window

By default, you read and create items in Outlook on the web either in the reading pane, or in a window that overlays the main window. But that isn't always what you need. Sometimes you need to be able to view or edit an item in a separate window.

For most items, to open them in a separate window, look for the pop out icon Open in new window in the upper corner of the item you're working on. Click it to open that item in a separate window.

To open a message that you're reading in a separate window, click the extended menu icon extended menu and select open in separate window.

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Working offline

Offline access lets you use Outlook on the web on your laptop or desktop computer when you're not connected to the Internet. For information about setting up offline access, see Using Outlook on the web offline.

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After you've signed in to Office 365, click Outlook to go to your Inbox in Outlook on the web. For more information about messages in Outlook on the web, go to Mail Overview.

Mail in Outlook on the web

This is where you'll find your messages.

  1. Create a new message by clicking icon new new mail.
  2. Folders. The folder list includes the folders in your mailbox and Favorites. It may include other folders, such as archive folders. You can collapse this pane by clicking the folder icon at the top. You can expand and collapse folders in this view by clicking the triangle icons next to the folder names.
  3. Search window. Type what you want to search for here, such as the name of a person you want to find messages from, or text that you want to search for to find a particular message.
  4. List of messages in the current folder. Each entry in the list view has additional information, such as how many messages there are in a conversation and how many are unread, or if there is an attachment, flag, or category associated with any messages in the conversation. A conversation can have one or more messages. When a conversation is selected, you can delete it, add a flag, or add a category by clicking the icons. At the top of the list view are filters that you can click to quickly find messages that are unread, that include your name in the To or the Cc line, or that have been flagged. In addition to the filters, you'll see the name of the folder you're viewing and the view that you've selected.
  5. The reading pane, where the conversation that you've selected is displayed. You can respond to any message in the conversation by clicking the links at the top of the message.

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After your Inbox, the calendar is probably where you'll spend the most time when using Outlook on the web. For more information about calendars in Outlook on the web, go to Calendar Overview.

Calendar week view

  1. Create a new event by clicking new new event. An event can be an appointment, a meeting, or an all-day event.
  2. Use the calendars to navigate from one date to another. Shading will show you what week you're currently viewing, and darker shading marks the current date. You can use the calendar icon at the top to collapse or expand this side of the calendar view.
  3. You can view more than one calendar at a time. This section lets you add other people's calendars and select which to display.
  4. This is another area that you can use to navigate from one day to another. Click any of the dates to jump to that date. Or click the arrows on either end to see the dates before or after what's displayed.
  5. The main window, where calendars will be displayed.
  6. Select the view you want, and share or print your calendar.

Month View

The month view can be very crowded. To make it more usable, there's now an agenda displayed for the selected day:

Calendar month view

  1. Shading shows the current date.
  2. Slightly lighter shading shows the selected month.
  3. Shading shows the selected day and the number tells how many non-displayed items there are on each day. Double-click an item to open it. You can create a new event on any date by double-clicking the white space on that date.
  4. Shaded item is an all-day event.
  5. The agenda for the selected day. You can create a new item on the current date by double-clicking the white space in the agenda.

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This is where your contacts are stored. From here, you can find, create, and edit your contacts. Also, you can search for contacts in your organization's directory. For more information about contacts in Outlook on the web, go to People Overview.

People view

  1. Create a new contact by clicking new new contact.
  2. All the places you can find contact information.
  3. Search. Type a person's name here to search for them in your contacts and in your organization's directory.
  4. List of all contacts in the current folder.
  5. The contact card for the selected person.
  6. Actions you can take directly from the contact card. Click the icons to send a message, start a chat session, or create a meeting request.


Tasks stores tasks that you create or that are sent to you, and also messages that you've flagged. To view your tasks, click Tasks below the folder list. When you view your tasks, the default view is Flagged Items and Tasks. You can change that by selecting Tasks in the folder list. For more information about tasks in Outlook on the web, go to Tasks Overview.

Tasks in Outlook on the web

  1. Create a new task by clicking new new task.
  2. Use this column to view flagged items and tasks, or just tasks.
  3. Filters. Select the filter depending on what items you want to see. Tasks and flagged items that don't have a date associated with them and that aren't completed will appear only when you select all.
  4. List of items that meet the current filter criteria. Click any item to view it in the reading pane. You can use the controls in the list view to make changes to an item's status. For example, you can mark a task as complete, or remove a flag from a message.
  5. The reading pane, where the content of the items you've selected is displayed. You can use the controls in the upper corner to make changes to the item if it's a task. If it's a message, the controls will be the same as you would see while reading your mail.

 Note    Tasks may not be available to you depending on your organization's settings.

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See Also:

Keywords:microsoft office 365 outlook web app email calendaring contacts people tasks owa o365   Doc ID:30330
Owner:Ara M.Group:Office 365
Created:2013-05-23 12:14 CDTUpdated:2016-05-04 15:53 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Tech Store, Office 365
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