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K-State Today

July 17, 2013



Office 365: Comparing the Web-based client to the desktop client

By Information Technology Services

As K-State transitions to Office 365, there have been questions about the differences in the Web-based Outlook Web app versus the Outlook desktop client. The differences between the two are diminishing over time. If you do not share your calendar or email folders with anyone, the Outlook Web app will fit your needs. If you share email folders, share your calendar with others for them to manage, or manage others' calendars, you should use the Outlook desktop client.

The Outlook Web app is the browser-based version of Outlook for Office 365, which is available anytime and anywhere you have Internet access. Users will have email and calendar functionality in this Web-based version of Outlook. Sharing of calendar information from within the Outlook Web app is limited to sharing as view only, while in the Outlook desktop client it is possible to have full control over the sharing permissions. Additional sharing features, including delegation capability have been added to the Web app. Limited offline capabilities are available with the Web app, but need to be configured ahead of time. Users can view a maximum of five calendars simultaneously.

The Outlook desktop client provides a full-featured email and calendar experience. Delegating access to calendar information and email folders can be set up and configured using the Outlook desktop client. Managing address books and distribution lists also occurs from within the Outlook desktop client. Users can view a maximum of 30 calendars simultaneously. Additional features include:

  • The ability to manage multiple accounts and sharing of email accounts. This version will be critical for individuals in administrative assistant roles who manage multiple accounts including calendars.
  • The ability to set-up auto-archiving based on parameters that the user defines. This feature removes email from the server and automatically saves to desktop in an archive folder.
  • Managing your address book and distribution lists
  • Offline access to email and calendar information
  • The ability to search through calendar information
  • The ability to propose a new time for a meeting
  • Creating and managing email templates

A comparison chart with more detail and options is available online.