How to streamline your communications with Microsoft Outlook Web App

Meet Kevin, an undergrad at a large university in Oregon. Kevin lives on campus and uses his laptop everywhere from the library to his dorm, to the hallway outside the classroom. And he never goes anywhere without his branded phone, which he checks before, during, and after class. Kevin’s university provides Live@EDU for all its students and staff. With these great tools, he can do his homework, stay on top of his social life, and have non-stop access to all of his files. And the fact that it’s free? Bonus.

This semester, Kevin’s course load will help illustrate each of the tools within Live@EDU, their features, and the many ways the Microsoft Office Web Apps make life easier for both students and faculty. 

Outlook Web App is a communication hub to manage your email, contacts, classwork, tasks, and busy schedule. You can access it from different devices* connected to the internet, so the information is at your fingertips as the day unfolds: new email, additional tasks, and assignment updates.

Kevin’s classes: His full course load – Environmental literature, Modern Art History, Organizational Behaviour, and Personal Finance.

Assignment: Everything from staying on top of homework to having a great social life.

Kevin needs to organize his busy life and keep track of everything. While organization isn't a natural instinct, Outlook makes it easy to streamline social tasks, connect with others, and email with the tool used by most businesses across the globe.

Here’s how Kevin manages his life with Outlook Web App:

It's 1:45 on a Thursday, and Modern Art History starts in a little less than an hour. Kevin just finished skimming the reading and there's enough time to check Facebook, return some emails, and start planning the barbeque this weekend. Email comes at you from all directions, and Kevin sorts his inbox by main categories in his life: school, friends at college, friends from home, and family. Outlook lets you create folders and email rules, which simplifies inbox organization. Also, the rich search capabilities within Outlook make lost messages a thing of the past. He can search by keyword, sender, date, or any other specific piece of information he needs to find.

How to Organize your Inbox

To create folders to organize your email, right-click on your Inbox, choose Create New Folder and enter the new folder name. You can automatically organize incoming messages by adding rules. A rule is an action that Microsoft Outlook automatically performs on sent or received e-mail messages, based on conditions that you specify, such as moving all messages from a specific person into a folder other than your Inbox.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

Around 2:00 his Environmental Literature professor sends him a meeting request for an outline review, but Kevin wants to suggest a new time. He can see the free/busy options by viewing the two calendars side by side. Outlook Web App‘s scheduling abilities eliminate the back-and-forth hassle of planning meetings, and you can also share your calendar for viewing with users who are not on Outlook Web App, such as Gmail users. With a few simple clicks, the meeting is scheduled.

How to Set up a Meeting and Invite Others

To invite others to a meeting, open your calendar and select ‘New Meeting Request’ to create an invite to which others can respond. Once you add the recipient, the free/busy tool loads with possible dates and times. If you would like to mark a time off your calendar for yourself, create a new appointment.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

With group projects, the people you work with need to be easily accessible in your contact list for a quick chat or email. The Organizational Behaviour project will be done in groups of four students. Kevin adds each of the students’ names into his contact list so they show up on his chat list, and auto-fill into his email address box.

How to Add a Contact

If you are adding contact information for someone who is not in your school’s address book system, go to Contacts, and then click on ‘New Contact’ to populate their information.

To add someone within your school, click on ‘Address Book’ and scroll or search for their name to avoid having to manually enter their information.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

A moment later his neighbour across the hall sends him an email about the upcoming barbeque that weekend. Kevin sees that he is online, so instead of replying to the email, he sends a few quick chats—who is bringing the drinks, and would they be able to borrow the extra barbeque for Saturday? All the details are coordinated in seconds.

How to Chat with Someone

The coloured dots next to a person’s name indicate their availability—green means available to chat, red means they are busy, and yellow means they are away. In order to chat with someone, right click on their name, and a dialog box will prompt you to begin a chat.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

While he's waiting on a response, Joseph sees some email he needs to return. Yes, mom, the alumni game is in a couple months, and thank you for the box of cleaning supplies she sent to his dorm. Smart lady, she knows guys wouldn't spend money on stuff like that.

How to Import other Email Accounts

Your Outlook Web App email can include up to five other connected accounts, such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo! Mail accounts. You will need to make sure that the other accounts have POP or IMAP enabled. From within Outlook Web App, click on Account > Connected Accounts > New to add each external email account. Find detailed steps on how to connect additional accounts here.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

At 2:30 his phone dings with a reminder: class starts in 15 minutes. With his entire schedule, contacts and email accessible on his smart phone, Kevin is only rarely late for class.

How to Connect a Mobile Phone

To set up a mobile phone, click on ‘Options’ at the top of the email interface, and select ‘Phone’.

Screenshot of Outlook Web App

It's 2:37, and time to walk over to his Modern Art History class, now with a plan for the barbeque this weekend, a time to meet with his literature professor to review his outline, the contact info for his group project team added, and an email response to his mom.

All of this is possible with the Outlook Web App, but for more options, features, and customization, there is the software version of Outlook.

Some features of the software version includes:

  • Importing social media feeds
  • Full searching and filtering capabilities
  • Ability to operate mail merges and create templates

*Supported Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari browsers are required

To learn more about the options available to you with the software version of Microsoft Outlook, click here.

Want to share this with your students? Click here to find this information in an email template you can send to others, or share the link directly.

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