Internet Explorer 11 and Outlook Web Access

In order to have Outlook Web Access e-mail with Premium access at Community Colleges of Spokane, you need to use Internet Explorer 9 or 10, OR use Internet Explorer 11 in Compatibility View mode

It has recently come to the attention of the CCS IT department that Outlook Web Access or Webmail from the colleges does not have the full set of features when using Internet Explorer version 11. This full featured version is called the “premium” version. You can read and edit mail with IE 11, but you are running the “light” version; just like when you access this site using Firefox, Safari or Chrome. We are sorry about this turn of events. The short answer to this problem is that you need to use IE 9 or 10, OR put IE 11 into compatibility mode to avoid the light version of OWA.

For those interested in a more detailed explanation, continue reading.

Why is Outlook Web Access only available in the light version?

Actually, OWA or webmail is still available in the premium version with particular browsers. If you have been using it in the full-fledged version until recently, the likely source of the problem is an upgrade to IE 11.

You can still access premium OWA or webmail with IE 11 in compatibility-mode or with IE 9 or 10.

What is Outlook Web Access light?

Outlook Web Access (or webmail or OWA) is designed to work best with Internet Explorer. It will work with other browsers, but provides only the light version. Unfortunately, our current mail servers will not provide the premium environment with IE 11. See the table below for a comparison of features.

Comparison of Outlook Web Access Light and Outlook Web Access Premium




Spelling Checker Not available Available
Reading Pane Not available Available
Accessibility for Blind and Low Vision Users Available Not available
Notifications and Reminders Not available Available
Weekly Calendar Views Not available Available
Windows SharePoint Services and Windows file share Integration Not available Available
Compose Messages by Using HTML/td> Only plain text is available in Outlook Web Access Light Available
Calendar Options Limited to the following features:
  • Show week numbers
  • Set the first day of the week
  • Select days of the week
  • Set day start and end times
Arrange By Limited to a subset of choices, depending on the folder type Available
Right-Click Menu Not available Available
Drag-and-Drop Not available Available
Explicit Logon Not available Available
Type-down Search Not available Available
Resource Mailbox Management Not available Available
Appearance (Color Scheme) Not available Available
Voice Mail Options Not available Available

Why don’t you just fix the problem?

The system that we currently use for managing the e-mail of all CCS employees will be changing this summer, based on a legislative mandate. This change will require a large amount of planning and work by our IT staff to meet this deadline (which has already been extended). Our time is better spent making that change work well, than patching a system that is about to go away. We appreicate your patience with this situation.