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Email and Calendars

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The Email service at Queens is based on Microsoft Exchange.  Microsoft Exchange provides a number of services including email, calendar, contacts, and tasks. The majority of staff access email, primarily, using Outlook (typically Outlook 2013).  Students access email using Outlook Web Access (OWA) as part of Office 365.

Click on the links below to obtain helpful advice. For advice on Junk/Spam - Phishing please consult the Data Security pages. Training materials are available from http://go/qub.ac.uk/itdocs (log in as you would to QOL)

Access and Training Materials

New members of staff are provided automatically with an email account. For additional staff their line manager needs to complete and sign the form QF/01 available from the Registration Forms page. The Email service can be accessed using Microsoft Outlook and via the web using Outlook Web Access (OWA) [https://owa.qub.ac.uk; log in using your staff/student number and QOL password].

Most members of staff already will have Outlook set up on their PC (by themselves, their Computer Officer or staff from the IT Services Desk. Connecting Outlook to your email account [2-page PDF]

If staff users require support to set up other email clients (Thunderbird, Mac Mail), please contact advisory@qub.ac.uk

Connect your Mobile device to Email 

Short training documents are included in these pages but you may wish to avail of the fully reference manual and other training materials - http://go/qub.ac.uk/itdocs (log in as you would to QOL). Staff may wish to view the Outlook course description

Students - for support and advice go to http://go.qub.ac.uk/studentemail

Email Addresses

Staff addresses are in the format: h.simpson@qub.ac.uk (occasionally staff email addresses may be in the form homer.simpson@qub.ac.uk). Do not guess someone's email address. To locate a staff email address , within Outlook or Outlook Web Access, click the To or Cc buttons. This displays the Global Address List. Using this list you can search for any staff member's email address. Tips for using the Global Address List can be found in  Global Address List - locating staff email addreses [2-page PDF]. Staff email addresses can also be accessed via the Staff Lookup link on the Queen's Home page.

Student addresses are in the format hsimpson01@qub.ac.uk. A student's email address is not available to other students. Staff members with authorisation can have access to a student's email address (e.g. staff teaching on a module which uses the QOL Virtual Learning Environment).

Email Quota/Backup

Each staff account has a maximum of 1 Gb. Whenever a staff member gets close to the limit they are sent an alert. Messages will still be delivered if your mailbox exceeds the limit but you will no longer be able to send outgoing mail. When your mailbox size becomes too large you will need to take action to reduce the content. Advice about 'cleaning up' your mailbox in Outlook 2010 is given in the document Email Cleanup and Archiving [PDF]. For Outlook 2007 please consult Email Cleanup and Archiving - Outlook 2007 [PDF]

The Student email services are being migrated to the cloud, using Microsoft Office 365. The new service offers significantly increased email storage: 25GB of space. Undergraduate student mailboxes will be migrated to the new cloud service first, followed shortly afterwards by Postgraduate Taught students. Postgraduate Research students, while not being moved to the service at this stage, will benefit through the storage capacity freed up in-house. This will be redistributed to allow a significant increase for email storage.

Messages with attachments quickly use up storage. These tips can help:

  • If the document is on a shared drive, the recipient could be directed to the document via a hyperlink: e.g. K:\Training Docs\Web Searching\Sample Searches18 print.doc (in the message composition window choose Insert/Hyperlink).
  • If the document is on a SharePoint the recipient could be sent a link to the document (that is if they have rights to access the particular document library).
  • If the file is very large (up to 1 Gb) the QUB Dropbox service could be used: https://dropbox.qub.ac.uk. Read about the Dropbox Service.
  • Delete emails if no longer required. Delete all but the most recent messages in a thread.
  • Archive - Outlook provides an AutoArchive facility - to find out more consult the document Email Cleanup and Archiving [3-page PDF]


Note:
You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files. This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Calendars

The Calendar facility is very powerful. Staff can share calendars, authorise others to view or edit their calendars, or more simply you can view a colleague's Free/Busy time without identifying what colleagues have put into their diaries. Students manage and view only their own calendars. Calendars in SharePoint can be synchronised with Outlook (in Outlook there are more calendar management tools).

These facilities are described in this PDF document Calendar Management [16-page PDF]: the topics are

  • Calendar Views and Navigation
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Create a recurrent series of appointments
  • Print Calendar
  • Schedule a meeting
  • To View someone else’s calendar
  • To Grant Permission to Other People to see your Exchange Calendar
  • Mark an appointment private
  • View and use a SharePoint calendar

It is not possible to grant sharing permissions while using Outlook Web Access.

Note: You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files. This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Out of Office

Good practice dictates that colleagues know who to contact in your absence. In Outlook Web Access, click Options and then Out of Office Assistant. Add an appropriate message and choose from the available options such as the date ranges within which the message applies. In Outlook 2010, click the File tab, then click Automatic Replies. Add an appropriate message and configure as necessary.

You may also wish to decide 1) if this message goes to recipients outside of Queen's or 2) only to those in your contacts. If you are on a discussion forum or messaging service you may wish to suspend your membership for the duration of your absence (each forum will have instructions about suspending messages). A mailing service used by many disciplines or categories of HE staff is JISCMail - www.jiscmail.ac.uk/.

Email Signatures

It is highly recommended that you include a signature when using your email account. The format of your signature will depend on the practice in your department and your function within the University. Typically a signature will include some or all of the following: name, department, contact details. You can create more than one Signature, e.g., one for each of the different roles you may have at work, or one for those you contact frequently within your department. How to create a signature and useful tips are in the document Email Signatures [3-page PDF]. The screen shot below shows the dialogue box used to set up signatures, overlaid on a message using that signature.

Note: You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files. This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Email Templates

Typically, dealing with common enquiries requires the provision of the same or similar information each time. This may be in response to a telephone/in-person enquiry or an email enquiry. In the first case you can create an email template and in the second case you can devise Quick Parts to insert in an email reply.

These are described in the document: Email templates and how to deal with common queries [8-page PDF].

Note: You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files. This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Messages to multiple recipients

A Contact Group is used to send the same email to a number of people at the same time (previously called distribution lists). You can create as many different such lists as you require and label them accordingly, e.g., Project Team A, Heads of School, Trainees, etc.

  • Within Outlook on the Home tab, click 1) New Contact Group; 2) Enter a Name, and then 3) Add Members. Add Members offers 3 choices: You can 1) add members from your own Outlook Contacts or 2) from the Address Book (Global Address List) or you can 3) create a new email contact. When you choose to create a new email contact, in the Add New Member dialogue box, you may wish to Add this person to your contacts. Click OK.
  • Click Save and Close.


To create a message using a Contact Group
In Contacts, right click on the Contact Group, click Create, and then click E-mail.

Notes

  • You may have to use the Bcc: box to protect the list members’ confidentiality. Within the new message window, drag the list to the Bcc: box.
  • Expand the list to see the members (click on the + symbol). A warning message comes up; click OK. At this point you can select to delete any member of the list (this does not affect your original distribution list).
  • A list can have as many or as few members as you require. Once you have created the contact group you can edit to either add new members or remove (delete) members. Open the contact group. To delete: highlight the member and click Remove Member.


Alternatives to Contact Groups

Another solution can be to use Email Merge; this is a process where you can merge an Access or Excel list of contacts and send individualised messages to multiple recipients. This is described in the document Email Merge (7 page PDF) which uses  Data for Email Merge (XLSx file) Data for Email Merge (XLSx file) Data for Email Merge (XLSx file) Data for Email Merge (XLSx file) Data for Email Merge (XLSx file) ‌ This facility does not include sending attachments (see the section on Email Quota/Backup for alternatives to attachments).

Note
The email service imposes limitations on the number of recipients who can be emailed at one time; this is to protect against spam. The limit is ~100 per minute. If messages need to be sent occasionally to large numbers of recipients this can be arranged with the email team.

Message Formats

Microsoft Outlook supports three message formats: Plain text, Rich Text format, or HTML (these are explained below). HTML is the recommended format.

Plain text:   This is a format that all e-mail applications support. You can set Outlook to open messages that you receive in plain text format only. Plain text doesn't support bold, italic, coloured fonts, or other text formatting. It also doesn't support pictures that are displayed directly in the message body, although you can include the pictures as attachments.

HTML: This is the default message format in Outlook. It is also the best format to use when you want to create messages that are similar to traditional documents, with various fonts, colours, and bullet lists. By default, when you select either of the options that allow formatting (HTML or Rich Text), the message is sent in HTML format. So when you use HTML, you know that what you send is what the recipient will see.

Outlook Rich Text format (RTF): You can use RTF when sending messages within an organization that uses Microsoft Exchange; however, it is recommended that you use the HTML format. RTF supports text formatting, including bullets, alignment, and linked objects. Outlook automatically converts RTF formatted messages to HTML by default when you send them to someone who accesses their email via a Web browser, so that the message formatting is maintained and attachments are received.

This short document describes how to ensure you are using HTML and also how to alter the format of your message replies: Message Formats.

Tip: If messages attachments are appearing in the body of your email it means you or the sender are using Rich Text Format.

Note: You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to download pdf files. This software can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

Offensive/Abusive Emails

If you have received an offensive or abusive email please do not reply to any such message and retain all copies of the message.

Messages from within Queen's
If the message appears to come from a source at the University it should be reported in the first instance to abuse@qub.ac.uk.  Information Services will investigate and if there has been a breach of the rules the University’s disciplinary procedures are invoked. If the incident appears to involve illegal activity the complainant will be advised to report the matter to the P.S.N.I. immediately.

Messages from outside Queen's
Users in receipt of abusive or nuisance messages from sources external to the University the University cannot accept responsibility for such messages. Complaints about these messages should be addressed to the service provider or organisation from which they were sent.

There is a particular procedure for notifying the authorities of spam messages offering illegal services such as child pornography. Users in receipt of such messages should visit the Internet Watch Foundation web site - http://www.iwf.org.uk/. This organisation works in partnership with ISPs, Telcos, Mobile Operators, Software Providers, Police and Government, to minimise the availability of illegal Internet content, particularly child abuse images.

Emergency Access

Emails (and files stored on computers) may be accessed by authorised individuals during periods of absence, for business continuity reasons. The content of emails and files stored on computers may also be examined during the course of properly authorised investigations into breaches of University rules or the law. To get emergency access to an email account a Line Manager must fill in the form QF02 (available from the Registration Forms web page. 

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