Mail (Outlook Web App)

Office 365 Quickstart for Outlook Web Application Email PDF

For information on setting up your signature, automatic replies and mailbox forwarding please visit our support page

Getting Started With Mail

One tool that is provided with the Outlook Web Applications is mail. The University of Guelph provides students with 50 GB of email storage with Office 365. 
To access this resource, log into the Outlook Web App using or click the "Mail" icon in the App Launcher, you will see:

Layout of the Mail Screen in the Outlook Web App

  1. New email: Create a new email by selecting New.
  2. Folders pane: Includes a list of folders in your mailbox. Collapse the pane by selecting Folders at the top of the list. Expand and collapse folders in this view by selecting the triangle Triangle Symbol next to the top-level folder, add a folder by selecting the + sign or right-click an existing folder and select Create new folder.
  3. Search window: Type the name of a person to locate a contact or emails from that contact, or type text that you want to search for to find a particular message, and then select  .
  4. Inbox list: Displays how many messages there are in a conversation and how many are unread, or if there is an attachment, flag, or category associated with the messages. Select All  in the upper right of the list to filter, sort, or choose how to view your emails (as messages or conversations).
  5. Reading pane: Displays messages or conversations that you select in the folders pane. Respond to any message in the conversation by selecting it and then selecting Reply . Print an email here by selecting the 3 dot menu “…”  menu and then selecting Print. 

Use the command bar above the reading pane to perform common email actions such as New Message, deleting, archiving, categorizing and moving emails.

Back to Top

General Email Usage

New Delete Archive Junk Sweep Move To Categorize

  1. New: Create a new email or calendar event.
  2. Delete: Delete the highlighted message.
  3. Archive: Store highlighted emails in designated folder to be kept permanently, if you haven’t used Archive before you will have to set it up.
  4. Junk: Move the highlighted message to the junk folder or report message as a "Phisher" (Someone seeking personal information).
  5. Sweep: To delete a batch of emails. Select the folder where the emails reside, and then choose Sweep on the command bar. The sweep function has several options: automatically delete incoming mail, keep only the latest email, or delete email older than 10 days (all these options apply to a particular sender).
  6. Move to: Move highlighted messages to another folder.
  7. Categories: Also called tags in Zimbra. Categorize the highlighted message with the built-in categories, or you can create your own category (your own tag).
  8. “…” or the “More” menu: Find other actions to apply to a message such as Mark as unread / read, Pin/Unpin, Flag, Clear flag, Print …


Sending an Email

  1. Begin by clicking New.
  2. The following will appear on the right side of the screen: Visualization of the "Send" message.
    1. To: Add the email address of the recipient(s) the email is directed to.
    2. CC: Add the email address of the recipient(s) you want a copy of the email sent to.
    3. BCC: BCC can be found on the "To" line at the very end. BBC sends a copy of the email to the recipient(s) without other recipient(s) knowing.
    4. Add a subject to the "Add a subject " line.
    5. Add the message body in the "Add a message or drag a file here" section. For more information on adding a file please see the "Attachments" section of this page.
  3. Once the message has been constructed, push the "send" button at the bottom.


Responding to an E-mail

Once a message is selected, it will appear on the right of the screen:

Screenshot of email "Subject Line" from demo user 4

  1. Subject Line: This is the "subject" of the email.
  2. Under the Subject Line: Information of who the email is from and who it was sent to is displayed under the subject.
  3. Message Body: This is where the email message body will be found. 
  4. Reply: The default choice for an email is "Reply" this can be changed to "Reply All" in the settings.
Submenu under Reply
  1. Reply: Reply directly to the sender of the email only.
  2. Reply All: Reply to everyone who received the email.
  3. Forward: Forward to another user.
  4. Change Default: Change the default to "Reply All" or "Reply".
  5. Reply all by Meeting: Schedule a meeting with everyone who received this email.
  6. Delete: Deleted the email.
  7. Delete all messages from <user>: Delete all messages from this user.
  8. Mark as Junk: Mark this email as junk. The email will be moved to the "Junk Email" folder.
  9. Mark as Phishing: Report this email as a phisher, someone trying to get personal information.
  10. Mark as read: Marks the email as "read".
  11. Flag: Flag the email for follow up. All flagged items are available through the Task application in the App Launcher.
  12. Print: Allows you to format the printing of the email.
  13. Open in a separate window: Opens the email in another window

Email Signatures

When creating a Signature with Office 365, you are given two options. 

  1. Automatically include my signature on new messages I compose.
  2. Automatically include my signature on messages I forward and reply to.

Your signature is automatically added to the bottom of your email depending on the chosen settings from above.

Signature Setup:

  1. Click the gear in the top right corner.
  2. Search "Signature".
  3. Click "Email Signature".
  4. Enter the settings you would like as well as your signature.
  5. Click "Save" at the top left of the window. Signature Setup Preview

Back to Top

Email Automatic Reply

Setting up Automatic Reply:

  1. Click the gear in the top right corner.
  2. Search "Automatic Replies".
  3. Click "Automatic Replies".
  4. Enter the settings you would like as well as your automatic replies.

Back to Top

Email Forwarding

Setting Up Email Forwarding:

  1. Click the gear in the top right corner.
  2. Search "Forwarding".
  3. Click "Forwarding".
  4. Enter the settings you would like and the email address you wish to forward to.

Back to Top

Attaching Documents to an Email

Adding Attachments

Embedded Picture:

  1. Compose the email. Click on the Picture icon at the bottom of the email.
  2. Locate the picture you would like to insert.

Attached Document:

  1. Compose the email. On the top bar or the bottom of the email, click the Attach icon.
  2. Find the file in either the OneDrive or your Computer.
  3. Attach the email as a OneDrive file to allow recipients to work on the file in real time or attach as a copy.
  4. Send the email.


Downloading Attachments

Messages with attachments have the paperclip icon   if the attachments are created in any of the Microsoft Office Application. Outlook Web App will open the attachments in its intended format.

Picture of the Outlook Web App attachment download.
Click the down arrow and select "View" to see the contents of the attachment. If you want to download the attachment, click the down arrow and select "Download". You can also save the attachment in your OneDrive for Business, if the attachment is large and will use your quota (50GB).

Back to Top

Managing your Email Folders

You can create additional folders to organize your messages any way you want. For example, you can create a folder for a specific project, or for all messages sent by a particular person, or all messages sent to a distribution group that you’re a member of.
To create a new folder, right-click the parent folder you want to create the new folder in. If you want a top-level folder (a folder at the same level as your Inbox), you would use your mailbox as the parent folder.

To create a folder that’s a subfolder of your Inbox:

  1. Click "More" on the right side of the screen. More
  2. Locate your name on the side and right-click it and select "Create new folder". Create new folder
  3. Enter the name of the folder you would like. 

Back to Top

Archiving an Email

You can archive email messages to the default Archive email folder or choose another folder to send archived emails to.

  1. Select the email that you want to archive, and on the task bar, click Archive
  2. Select "Ok".


NOTE: Online Archive mailboxes are not included in search. If your account is configured to have an Archive folder, go to the folder and search from there. Your Archive folder is under the Folders list and shows as Archive.

Back to Top

Inbox Rules

Select "Settings"  > "Options", which opens the options panel on the left. "Under Mail" > "Automatic processing", select "Inbox rules and sweep rules".

Select "Add" under "Inbox rules". Type a name for the rule in the "Name box" and then select a condition and action from their respective drop-down lists.
You can add additional conditions or actions by selecting "Add condition" or "Add action".

Add exceptions to the rule by selecting "Add exception" and then choosing one from the "Add exception" menu.
Either leave the "Stop processing more rules" check box checked or uncheck it. By default, the option to stop processing more rules is turned on. With this option on, when a message comes in that meets the criteria for more than one rule, only the first rule will be applied. Without selecting this check box, all rules that a message meets the criteria for are applied.
New Inbox Rule

Back to Top

Retention Policies

Users can set their own Retention Policies on non-system folders (folders that are created by the user). 

If you are looking for the Retention Policy on the Deleted Items folder, refer to this link

Retention policies determine how long an email will remain in the inbox. To select the retention policy, click on the  icon.

Select Mail > Automatic processingRetention policies and choose the desired retention policy from the preset options: 1 Month Delete, 1 Year Delete, 5 Year Delete and Never Delete. 

Add a Retention Policy 

To add a Retention Policy to a non-system folder:

  1. Go to your inbox and right-click on a folder you created
  2. Select Assign policy 
  3. Select the policy you would like to assign to the folder


Back to Top

Email Searching

When you are in Outlook, you can search for messages and people.

  1. Enter your search keyword in the "Search Mail and People" box. Outlook search mail and people box  
  2. As you type, Outlook offers suggestions to search for, such as the option to show messages that include the keyword you typed, or messages from a contact.
  3. Select one of the suggestions, or just press enter to see all the possible results.
  4. Further refine your search by selecting the scope in the left navigation pane. Scope is dynamic and changes based on your search. You might, for example, see the scope that appears in the following screenshot on the left or on the right. Options for refining your search
  5. To reduce the time to show search results, initially you might only get a subset of the results. Depending on the type of search, you might get additional results—up to the 250 results limit—by choosing "Get more results" at the bottom of the search results. Get more results

    NOTE: Online Archive mailboxes are not included in search. If your account is configured to have an Archive folder, go to the folder and search from there. Your Archive folder is under the Folders list and shows as Archive.
  6. To clear your search results, choose Discard X to remove search in the search box.
  7. TIP: If you're searching for a contact, choose the Search People link at the bottom of the list of suggestions to limit the search to your contacts and your organization’s directory. When you select that link, Outlook automatically will switch to People and give you different filters. The default filter is My contacts and directory. Refine search according to people

Back to Top

Shared Mailboxes

You can share your entire mailbox or share a specific folder or your inbox.

  1. To share a folder of your inbox, right-click the folder you want to share and select "Permissions". Right click email folder and select permissions
  2. In the Permissions pop-up, select the Name of the user and specify the Permissions level you want to give to the person you are sharing the folder with. Click the Add permissions icon sign to add a new person you want to share the folder with and specify the Permission level. Folder permission pop-up
  3. Manually select the permission settings or choose from the following preset permission levels.Permission Settings


With this permission level (or role) You can: 
Owner Create, read, change, and delete all items and files, and create subfolders. As the folder owner, you can change the permission levels that other people have the folder. (Doesn't apply to delegates.)
Publishing Editor Create, read, change, and delete all items and files, and create subfolders.(Doesn't apply to delegates.)
Editor Create, read, change, and delete all items and files.
Publishing Author Create and read items and files, create subfolders, and change and delete items and files that you create. (Doesn't apply to delegates.)
Author Create and read items and files, and change and delete items and files that you create.
Nonediting Author Create and read items and files, and delete items and files that you create
Reviewer Read items and files only.
Contributor Create items and files only. The contents of the folder don't appear. (Does not apply to delegates)
None You have no permission. You can't open the folder.

Sharing a specific sub-folder

  1. If you want to share a specific sub-folder from your email, you must first grant the minimum permission attribute of Folder Visible for your mailbox to the person with which you wish to share the folder .  Right click on your mailbox and on the pop-up menu select Permissions.
    Mailbox right-click menu 
  1. Assign permissions as shown below.  Note that if you do not take this step, the person you are sharing the sub-folder with will not be able to see or navigate to the sub-folder when they try to add it to their own email.  The Folder Visible attribute must always be set for the parent folder(s) to the folder that you want to share. For example, if you wish to share the folder '\Projects\Action Items' you would also need to modify the permissions on '\Projects' to be Folder Visible for the target user.
  2. Permissions view


Back to Top

Tagging (Categories) Emails

To create a new category either right-click the email or go to the Command bar and then select "Categories" > "Add new category". 

Email options categories     Category settings 

Name the new category and assign a color. You can assign the same color to multiple items.  You can use the new category in Mail, Calendar, and Tasks.

To apply categories to items, right-click the email or go to the Command bar and choose Categorize then select the desired category. If you want to manage your categories, right-click a message, go to "Categorize" > "Manage" categories.

The category will be located in the top right of the email message. The result of categorizing emails

Back to Top

Outlook Desktop Client: Inbox Customization

  1. Open the Outlook Desktop Client (Outlook 2016 was used for testing).
  2. On the "ribbon" select "View".
  3. Then click "View Settings".
  4. Click "Conditional Formatting".
  5. Click "Add".
  6. Under the "Name" field, enter something that will help you remember what the formatting is for. For example if you are formatting emails from "User1" maybe "User1 Email Format" would be a good title. 
  7. Click "Font" to customize the email to your liking. 
    /!\ NOTE: The colour changes will be applied to the text only and not the body.
  8. Click "OK".
  9. Click "Condition". This is where you can customize the conditions that the format changes will take place. In this example we are changing all messages from "User1".
  10. Click "From" and follow these instructions: 
    1. In the window that appears, search for the person that you would like to add by their first and last name. Once you have found the person, click "From ->" to add then to the front field.
    2. Search for your name in the field and click "Sent to ->". 
      /!\ NOTE: You are only able to add users from your contact list. This includes everyone on the UoG Directory and your personal contact list.
  11. Click "OK".
  12. Click "OK".

You should notice that the format of the messages from that user has changed. This will help you know if the formatting has been set up correctly. 

Back to top


Advanced Query Search

Type in the word from the first column to determine where you want to search, followed by a colon and then the word you are searching. For example, category:urgent. This will search all of the inbox for email marked with the category urgent.

From Searches the From field.
To Searches the To field.
Cc Searches the Cc field.
Bcc Searches the Bcc field.
Participants Searches through To, Cc and Bcc field.
Subject Searches the Subject field.


Search the message body.


Searches the date sent. You can search for a specific date or range of dates separated by two dots (..). You can also search for relative dates: today, tomorrow, yesterday, this week, next month, last week, past month. You can search for the day of the week or month of the year.

IMPORTANT: Date searches must be entered in month/day/year format (MM/DD/YYYY).

Receive Searches for the date received. You can use the same search terms as for Sent.
Category Searches the Category field.

For more information on AQS, see the Microsoft page about AQS.

Back to top

Distribution Groups

An Office 365 Distribution Group can be used to quickly email a group of U of G internal users. Each Distribution Group is defined by an email address that distributes the emails to all members of that specific Distribution Group.

While there are a number of options to create these types of groups (e.g., Contact List), a Distribution Group has additional functionality compared with a Contact List.  See the table below for a comparison.


Distribution Group

Contact List


CCS provides the initial set up

Individual users can create these simple groups within the “People” area of your Office 365 account

Email address

Is assigned an official email U of G address


Email address appears in U of G Global Address List

No official group email address; just comes from your own email address

Moderation and permissions

Allows for just one or many members to be group administrators


Administrators can approve/reject messages as well as members

No moderation or permissions

Requesting an Office 365 Distribution Group

The first step is to contact the CCS Help Centre and request a Distribution Group. The Help Centre can be reached at or x58888. 


Managing Distribution Groups that you own

  1. Log in to Outlook Web Access
  2. Go to Settings in the top right corner (the gear icon)
  3. Select the Mail option. 
  4. Click on General on the left side of the screen.
  5. Select Distribution groups.
  6. Look for the Distribution Group you want to modify under Distribution groups I own.
  7. Double click on the Distribution Group, and go to Membership. 
    • To Add a member, click on the ( + ) sign and search for the user within the directory. 
    • To Remove a member, click on the ( - ) sign. 
    • Click Save after you are finished adding or removing users to the group.

      More information about the other options (membership approval, delivery management, etc.) can be found online on the Microsoft site

Set up a Moderated Distribution Group

A group moderator can screen messages that are sent to a moderated distribution group before it is sent to all members of the group. If you own a group, you can set up moderation rules for the group.

To configure a moderated distribution group:

  1. Go to the Settings tab in the top-right corner (the gear icon). 
  2. Choose the Mail option at the bottom of the side bar. 
  3. Click General on the left side of the window. 
  4. Select Distribution groups from under the General tab. 
  5. Select the distribution group that you want to a make a moderated group (it should be listed under Distribution groups I own). 
  6. Select the Edit button. 
  7. Select Message Approval 
  8. Choose the message approval settings you want, and add the group moderators by clicking on the ( + ) icon. To enable group moderators, you must check the box next to "Messages sent to this group have to be approved by a moderator". 
  9. Select Save to save your changes. 

Control Who Can Send to a Group

After you have created a Distribution Group, you can edit it to control who can send messages to the group. By default, only people in the U of G directory are able to send messages to Distribution Groups. 
To determine who can send to your Group:

  1. Go to Settings in the top right toolbar (the icon resembles a gear). 
  2. Choose Mail at the bottom of the window. 
  3. Click General on the left side of the pane. 
  4. Select Distributions groups from under the General tab. 
  5. Select the Distribution Group that you want to change the settings for. 
  6. Select the Edit option. 
  7. Choose Delivery Management on the left hand side of the pop-up window. 
  8. This will open up the Delivery Managment Settings. You can click on the ( + ) to add members. These members will be then be allowed to send messages to that Distribution group. 
  9. Select Save to save your changes.

Back to Top

File attachments

Image icon userCreatedFolder.PNG24.55 KB