How to decide whether to use Outlook or Outlook Web App

Compare lists of features available with Office 365, Outlook, and Outlook Web App to determine which email service best meets your needs.

There are two main ways people use their email with Office 365, Outlook, and Outlook Web App. So how do you decide which to use? Outlook is the desktop client that has the most features. For many organizations and individuals, however, the browser-based Outlook Web App (which is part of Office 365) may meet all your email needs. Others may need the additional features of Outlook.

Outlook

Outlook Web App

Use it if

  • You have Outlook installed on your desktop.

  • You’re on your own computer.

  • You need to see mail from multiple accounts all in one place.

  • You manage someone else’s inbox.

  • You want complete offline access.

  • You want to subscribe to and use groups in Office 365.

  • You need a quick and easy way to do your email, calendar, and contacts from any web-enabled device, including PCs, mobile phones, and tablets.

  • You’re using someone else’s computer, or a computer not connected to your office network.

  • You want immediate access to the latest features.

  • You want to use all the features of groups in Office 365.

Runs on

  • Laptop and desktop computers.

  • Surface devices running Windows 8.1.

  • Many mobile phones and devices

    • OWA for iPad

    • OWA for iPhone

    • Windows and Android phones devices, optimized mobile layout.

How to get it

  • Outlook 2013 comes with some, but not all Office 365 plans.

  • Older versions of Outlook that you already have, such as Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007, also work with Office 365, but Outlook 2013 is recommended.

  • Outlook Web App is available with all Office 365 plans that include email.

To compare the features of Outlook 2013, Outlook Web App, OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, and the light version of Outlook Web App, see the detailed feature comparisons.

Detailed feature comparisons

Outlook and Outlook Web App have many features, so we’ve grouped the features to make them easier to compare, and focused on the features that are significantly different. Some Outlook Web App features, such as information rights management, are available only with specific Office 365 plans.

To learn more about a feature in Outlook 2013 or Outlook Web App, click the Yes next to the feature.

General

Access to data

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Access from almost any web browser

NA

Yes

Yes 1

NA

NA

Yes

Access information while offline

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Low bandwidth sync

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Access multiple Exchange email accounts

Yes

Yes 1

No

Yes

No

No

Use favorites folder

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

1 If you have full access to another mailbox, such as a resource mailbox, in the shared address book, you can open it. To access other accounts, you must sign in with the other account credentials. You also can add another person's mailbox to your folder list.

Apps

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of TE102839876

Apps available when reading a message

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Add/remove apps

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Manage mobile devices

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

View and delete devices connected to mailbox

No

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Initiate remote wipe of phone

No

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Send calendar rule notification to device

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Search

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Built-in search folders

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Can search mail folders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Can search calendar

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Can search contacts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Scope a search

Yes

Yes 1

Yes 1

Yes

Yes

Yes 1

Tab for setting search context

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Search as you type

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Highlight search terms

Yes

Yes 2

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Customize search results

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Advanced searches

Yes

Yes 3

Yes 3

Yes

Yes

Yes 3

1 Common search scopes are available.

2 Highlighting includes navigating between search results in a conversation.

3 Advanced searches require use of query terms such as From:name.

Security

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Change user account password

No

Change password 1

No

No

No

No

Require passcode

No

No

Yes 2

No

No

No

Add to safe/blocked senders list

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Block external content

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Encrypted connection

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Read Information Rights Management (IRM)-protected content

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Set IRM properties

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Protected voice mail

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME)—electronic signature and encrypt/decrypt

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Anti-phishing and anti-spam technology

Yes

Yes 3

Yes 3

Yes

Yes

Yes 3

Certificate management

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Receive data loss protection (DLP) Policy Tips

Yes 4

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

1Office 365 portal only.

2 For some devices (iPhone, iPad), your organization’s administrator may require that you set a passcode.

3 Server only.

4 Available with some Office 365 Enterprise plans.

Email

Reading and sending messages

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Read and send email messages

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Message editing tools

Yes

Partial

Limited

Yes

Yes

No

Edit attachments

No

Yes

View only

No

No

No

Use inline images

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Paste objects

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Specify Reply to address

Yes

Yes 1

Yes 1

Yes

Yes

No

Set message format

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Play sound when message arrives

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Warn when missing attachment

Yes 2

Yes

No

No

No

No

View preview of message

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Turn on or turn off preview of message

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Show and control how reading pane is used

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Send automatic replies (Out of Office)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Check spelling

Yes

Yes 3

No

Yes

Yes

Yes 3

Quick steps

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Create delivery receipt request and read request

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Control response to read receipt

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Delivery reports

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Reply with a meeting request

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

MailTips

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Delay or schedule message delivery

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Approve a moderated message

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

1 By using “From”.

2 By using a free app.

3 Spell checking is provided by the browser. Spell checking is available in Internet Explorer 10 and Internet Explorer 11, Chrome, and Firefox.

Organizing email

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Conversation view

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes 1

Yes 1

No

Conversation view includes messages from other folders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Ignore a conversation

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Conversation cleanup

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Clutter management

Limited

Yes

Limited

No

No

No

Message archiving

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Customizable views

Yes

Yes 2

No

Yes

Yes

No

Access Inbox subfolders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Create subfolders

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Manage folder permissions

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

1 Each version improves the Conversation view.

2 Limited customizable views.

Other data

Contacts and Address Book

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Store contacts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Manage contacts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Add contact photo

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Sync contacts with device address list

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes 1

Offline Address Book

Yes

Yes 2

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes 2

Hierarchical address book

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Global Address Book sync and update

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Color categories

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Mark as private

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Contact cards/electronic business cards

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Manage rights on contacts

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Share contacts

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Import contacts

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Export contacts

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Outlook quick contacts

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Add/edit personal groups

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

View personal groups

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Create customized contact views

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Use Outlook Social Connector

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes 3

No

Sync contacts with Facebook

No

Yes

No

No

No

No

1 For iPhone and iPad, contact sync is only available if your organization’s administrator enables it.

2 Limited.

3 Using a plug-in.

Meetings and appointments

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Schedule meetings and appointments

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Propose new time for meetings

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Calendar preview in invitations

Yes

No

No 1

Yes

No

No

Paste objects

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Meeting room finder

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Set reminders

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Set email reminders

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Mark appointment as private

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Forward meeting request

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Scheduling assistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

1 User gets a list of conflict meetings in the invite.

Calendar

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Day view

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Week view

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

Yes

No

Work week view

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Month view

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Tasks by day view

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Schedule view

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Preview months in left pane

Yes, 9 months

Yes, 7 months

Yes, 1 month

Yes, 6 months

Yes, 3 months

No

Print calendar

Yes

Yes 1

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Use multiple calendars

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Overlay multiple calendars

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Automatic formatting of calendar items

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Adapt to current time zone definition

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Secondary time zone in calendar view

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Cached shared calendar

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Share calendar (external)

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

No

No

Share calendar (internal)

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

Yes

No

Set sharing level: free/busy details

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

Yes

No

Side-by-side free/busy info

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Import/export calendar

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Zoom slider for calendar

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Team calendar

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

No

Specify color for calendar

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

No

No

Subscribe to calendar

Yes

Yes

iPad only

Yes

Yes

No

Calendar snapshot

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Sync calendar with device

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

No

1 Can’t print the month view.

Tasks

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Edit, view, filter, search, and categorize tasks

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Mark task as complete

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Mark task as private

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Assign a task to another person

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Flag mail as task

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Notes

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Read and forward notes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Create notes and notes folders

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Move or categorize notes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Search notes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Faxes

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Send faxes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Receive faxes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Journaling and voting

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Create journal

Yes

View only

No

Yes

Yes

No

Voting buttons

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Collaboration tools

Sharing data

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Access public or shared folders

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Access site mailboxes

Yes

No 1

No

No

No

No

Delegate control

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Outlook Social Connector

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes 2

No

1 Available through SharePoint site.

2 Available through plug-in only.

Instant messaging

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Integrated chat

Yes 1

Yes

No

Yes 1

Yes 1

No

Integrated presence indicators

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Reply with text message

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

1 Requires use of third-party services.

Voice mail

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Listen to voice mail using inline player

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Change voice mail options

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Voice mail preview

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Managing and customizing

Data management

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

.pst file support

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Import data from other data sources, such as .pst files, database files, other messaging and contact systems, other calendar applications

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Export data

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Send to Office OneNote

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Add, share, export, import RSS feed

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Mailbox management

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Access to Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) and Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) email accounts

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

View mailbox quota

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Language settings

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Manage Inbox rules

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Always categorize or move messages

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Manage retention policies

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Set time zone

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

User customizations

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Manage Outlook plug-ins

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Customize UI buttons

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Custom forms

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Customize navigation pane

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Customizable views

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Set message options

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Limited

Email signature

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Multiple email signatures

Yes

No

Yes 1

Yes

Yes

No

Message tracking options

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Deleted item handling

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Junk email options—create lists of trusted and untrusted addresses and domains

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Calendar layout options

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Meeting request processing

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Voice mail settings

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Custom dictionary

Yes

Yes 2

No

Yes

Yes

No

InfoPath integration

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Macros/VBA

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

1 You can have a mobile and non-mobile signature.

2 Depends on the local browser.

Admin customizations

Feature

Outlook 2013

Outlook Web App

OWA for iPad, OWA for iPhone

Outlook 2010 SP3

Outlook 2007 SP3

Light version of Outlook Web App

Admins can enable/disable email features

No

Yes

Yes

No

Limited

Yes

Applies To: Office 365 End User, Outlook Web App, Outlook Web App for Office 365, Outlook Web App for Office 365 Small Business, Outlook 2013



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