Exchange Server 2010 SP1 New Outlook Web App Features (Part 1)

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Exchange Server 2010 SP1 New Outlook Web App Features (Part 2).


Microsoft Exchange Team worked really hard on this Service Pack 1 release of Exchange Server 2010 and they have done an amazing job improving the overall experience in Outlook Web App which by the way, was already good on all previous versions. Even if you don’t have the best network bandwidth the new release will improve your access performance and will bring more capabilities to your environment. The performance is improved with the advantage of using cache in some operations and the use of Silverlight technology.

Besides of the performance improvements, Outlook Web App now allows end-users to find the information without looking around, for example the most used features of OWA are two clicks away on the Options button (Figure 01), such as: OOF, Password Change and Rules, however if the user wants to configure another feature he can go to See All Options and the ECP (Exchange Control Panel) will be there with all options available as well.

Figure 01

Outlook Web App main page

If you have ever used Outlook Web App RTM then by just glancing at the new Outlook Web App interface you will notice some cool features that we are going to check in this section.

The first feature (Item 01 on Figure 02) that you may notice is the size of the top bar, which is now narrower which is good for different devices, such as netbooks, IPAD etc.

The second feature (Item 02 on Figure 02) shows that now it’s easier to read messages by clicking on the message on the left hand side while on the right hand side you can track the messages in the thread of the conversation. A shadow effect on the selected message makes them more visible from other messages. Also, the buttons are intuitive and you have the most common buttons Reply, Reply All and Forward one click away. If you need more options to work on click on Actions and you will have all possible options.

Another cool feature is the shadow effect between the message list and the reading pane (Item 03 on Figure 02).

Figure 02

New changes were introduced in the notification area where we can see new messages, appointments and messages coming from OCS/Lync Server. The notifications have different colors to help users to identify the urgency of those notifications as shown in the Figure 03.

Figure 03

If you missed the Reading Pane in the bottom of your Outlook Web App in the RTM release, no worries it’s back! Click on View on the main page and on this location we will be able to configure conversation and reading pane options, as shown in Figure 04.

Figure 04

Conversation Views saves us a lot of time and the trick here is that you can use Categorization in an entire thread. When you click on a thread on the left hand side, two icons will show up Categories and Flags. By clicking on the category all items of that thread will be defined with that color, this way you don’t have to go message by message.

Since we are talking about Conversation View, have you ever used Ignore Conversation? If you don’t you are missing a great feature especially if you have a bunch of friends that want to keep the same thread talking about your favourite team’s loss last weekend. Basically, when you select a thread and click on Ignore Conversation, then any new message that belongs to that thread will be sent to the Deleted Items.

Calendar Printing

We can use Outlook Web App to print the Calendar and this functionality is also extended to the Internet Calendar sharing. Now users on the internet can print your calendar through Outlook Web App. In order to access this new feature, just hit the Print button when visualizing the Calendar item and the result will be similar to that of Figure 05. You can define several options to visualize and print, such as, Day, Week and Month view, full week or just work days, time range to print or to adding detailed agenda with calendar.

Figure 05

Outlook Web App on Exchange Server 2010 SP1 introduces the auto-save for messages feature. If you start writing a message and then leave your computer, OWA will automatically save the message as Draft and it will inform about the last time it was saved as shown in Figure 06.

Figure 06

Another cool feature is the ability to add inline images to the message body. In order to do that you need to click on the Picture button when creating a new message and pick a new image file from the file system. In addition, you can work on the message size in the OWA itself by clicking on the picture and resize it to the following values: Small (25%), Medium (50%), Original (100%), Large (200%) and fit to window, as show in Figure 07.

Figure 07

Attachment improvements

Microsoft Exchange team kept the good work on the attachment area. If you are one of those users like me that receive tons of files in a single message and have to download all of them then you will remember how painful it was but not anymore! Using Exchange Server 2010 SP1 we can easily download all attachments using the option Download All Attachments (Figure 08) and the result will be a single zip file on the user’s computer.

Figure 08

There is an important improvement to the end-user that wants to add an attachment, where the user had to wait for the upload time to be able to resume writing his/her message. Well, if you don’t have Silverlight installed the experience will be the same, however you have an option to install it prior logging on to OWA or by clicking on the link provided on the bottom of attachment page, as shown in Figure 09.

Figure 09

If you don’t have Silverlight you can automate the installation process or just go to MS website and install the latest version from there. As soon as you have it installed, click on Attach File icon and an Open Dialog box will open where you can select multiple files. Remember, with Silverlight you can keep writing the message while the upload happens in background (Figure 10).

Figure 10


In this initial article we went over some of the new cool features of Outlook Web App in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1. In the next article, we will be checking themes, password change feature, and IM integration.

If you would like to read the next part in this article series please go to Exchange Server 2010 SP1 New Outlook Web App Features (Part 2).

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