Supported email programs and features

There are many ways to access your Office 365 or other Exchange-based email account. The most common ways are by using Outlook Web App, Microsoft Outlook, or Microsoft Entourage. These programs provide email access and many other collaboration features. You can also connect to your email account by using Outlook Voice Access, a variety of other email programs, or your mobile phone.

This topic applies to Office 365 and other Exchange-based accounts. For more information, see What is a Microsoft Exchange Server account?.

In this article


Connecting to your email account

Some ways you can connect to your email account are:

  • Web browser   Use Outlook Web App and the light version of Outlook Web App with browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari.
  • Internet email programs   Use any program that supports IMAP4 or POP3, like Mozilla Thunderbird, Outlook Express, or Windows Live Mail.
  • Outlook/Entourage   Connect using Outlook or Entourage through an Exchange account. The programs that support Exchange account access include Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, Outlook for Mac 2011, and Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition. Apple Mail 10.6 Snow Leopard and Apple Mail 10.7 Lion also support Exchange account access. Versions of Apple Mail 10.5 Leopard and earlier versions of Apple Mail use IMAP4 or POP3. Outlook 2003 is only supported if you use IMAP4 or POP3.
  • Mobile phones with an Internet connection   You can connect using your Android, BlackBerry®, iPhone, IPad, iPod Touch, Nokia (Symbian), Windows Phone, or other Internet-capable phones and tablets.
  • Any phone   Use Outlook Voice Access with any phone to access your email, calendar, and contacts.

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Comparison of features in supported programs

The following table summarizes some differences you might want to consider before you choose the email program you'll use to connect to your email account.

Email program Edit and view contacts, calendar items, tasks, and email messages Edit and view email folders in addition to the Inbox Listen to your voice mail Access your information offline Automatic setup Accessibility for users who are blind or have low vision
Outlook Web App Yes Yes Yes No Not applicable No
The light version of Outlook Web App Yes Yes Yes No Not applicable Yes
Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2013 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outlook for Mac 2011 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Programs that use Exchange ActiveSync Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Some programs may support accessibility features.
Outlook Voice Access Yes Yes Yes Not applicable Not applicable Not available
Programs that use POP3 No No No Yes No Some programs may support accessibility features.
Programs that use IMAP4 No Yes No Yes No Some programs may support accessibility features.

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Outlook Web App

With Outlook Web App you can access your Office 365 or other Exchange-based email account through several different web browsers. You can use any computer that's connected to the Internet or to a local intranet, whether you're at home, in the office, or on the road. You can view and edit email messages, appointments and meetings, contacts, and tasks. You can also listen to your voice messages and read text messages. Some other things you can do with Outlook Web App include:

  • Check your spelling
  • Use a variety of fonts, colors, and sizes in your email messages
  • Group your email messages in a variety of ways
  • Be reminded of upcoming events

The light version of Outlook Web App contains some of the same features as Outlook Web App. The light version provides a blind and low vision experience and will run with any web browser. For more information, see Outlook Web App Light. Several features aren't available in the light version, including:

  • Reminders
  • Viewing your calendar one week at a time
  • Changing your voice mail options
  • Changing the color scheme

Browser versions to use with Outlook Web App

For information about supported browsers, see Supported browsers for Outlook Web App.

For information about how to use Outlook Web App, see one of the following articles:

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Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, and Outlook for Mac 2011

If you're using Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, or Outlook for Mac 2011, you can set up a connection to your email account through an Exchange server or by using IMAP4 or POP3. Connecting Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, or Outlook for Mac 2011 through an Exchange account provides more features than IMAP4 or POP3, including:

  • Access to your email, contacts, and calendar when you aren't connected to the Internet.
  • The ability to propose new times for meeting requests you receive.
  • The ability to import, export, and archive your contacts and other information stored in Outlook.

If your mailbox is in a cloud-based environment (for example, in Microsoft Office 365 for Enterprises or Office 365 for Small Business), and you want to connect to your account with Outlook 2003, you must choose the POP3 or IMAP4 option when you set up your account.

For information about how to set up and use Outlook with your account, see Connect Outlook to this account.

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Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition

You can connect Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac OS X to your account by using Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition. To do this, you first need to install Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition. This version of Entourage is available as an update to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac.

To download this update and learn more about the Web Services Edition, visit the Download details for Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition page.

Although you can also connect Entourage for Mac OS X to your account (either Entourage 2004 or Entourage 2008) by using POP3 or IMAP4, doing this doesn't provide all the features that are available when you use an Exchange account to connect. For example, if you connect using Entourage 2008, Web Services Edition, you'll be able to synchronize notes, tasks, calendar items, and categories between Outlook Web App and Entourage 2008.

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Using Outlook Voice Access to access your email account

You can use Outlook Voice Access from any telephone to listen to your voice mail, access information about a personal contact, and interact with your calendar. You can use your voice or the telephone keypad to navigate the Outlook Voice Access menus.

The Outlook Voice Access Quick Reference Guide includes information about all the menu options and how to move through the menus. To download a copy of the Quick Reference Guide, see the Microsoft Download Center.

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Using your mobile phone or tablet to access your email account

Many mobile phones, tablets, and other devices can be set up to access your email account. If you have a device that supports Exchange ActiveSync, you can access email messages, your calendar, contacts, and tasks on that device. If your device does not support Exchange ActiveSync, you can connect to your account using the IMAP4 or POP3 protocols, which let you send and receive email messages on your phone. For more information, see Phone and tablet setup reference.

If you have an Office 365 account, see Set up and use Office 365 on your phone or tablet for detailed information about how to use Office365 on your phone or tablet.

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Using other email programs to access your email account

If you have an email program that supports IMAP4 or POP3, you can set it up to send and receive your email. You can't use IMAP4 or POP3 to access your contacts, tasks, or calendar. Some programs you can use to access your email account with IMAP4 or POP3 include:

  • Microsoft Outlook Express
  • Windows Mail
  • Microsoft Entourage
  • Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Mac Mail for Mac OS X

 Note    If you're running Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, you don't connect to your email account using IMAP or POP. Connecting to your account with Mail for Mac OS 10.6 Snow Leopard requires less manual configuration. For more information, see Set up email in Mac OS X Mail.

For instructions for connection to your Office 365 or other Exchange-based account using some of the most common programs, see Email program setup reference.

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What else do I need to know?

  • Using Outlook Web App on a mobile phone isn't supported.
  • If you try to open Outlook Web App on a computer or web browser that isn't supported, the light version of Outlook Web App will open instead.

What if I want to know more?

Email program setup reference

Phone and tablet setup reference

Migrate email and contacts into your account

Connected accounts

Use IMAP or POP email programs

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Applies to:
Outlook Web App, Outlook Web App for Office 365 Enterprise, Outlook Web App for Office 365 Small Business