Office 365 - Outlook Desktop Client vs Outlook Web App



Office 365 is readily available through the online Outlook Web App. The Outlook Desktop Client provides advanced features and options for e-mail, calendaring, and tasks. Which one is right for you?

The Outlook Web App (OWA) represents your official UW-Platteville email and calendaring account.  All campus account holders will have access to Outlook Web App through a browser anywhere they have an internet connection.  

Outlook Web App offers basic functionality for email, calendar, contacts, and tasks as well as access to OneDrive (storage) and Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Online.  Mobile devices can be configured to directly to your Office 365 account or through the OWA app.  Most account holders will use Outlook Web App.  

The Outlook Web App is the perfect tool if you...

  • manage your own mail and calendar
  • schedule only appointments for yourself or the occasional meeting with others
  • need access to your account on-the-go
  • want seamless access to all Office 365 features, including OneDrive (cloud storage)

The Outlook Desktop Client must be installed on your computer or laptop and configured to your Office 365 account.  The desktop client is only accessible from the machine on which it is installed. 

The Outlook Desktop Client may be beneficial if you...

  • manage others’ email accounts
  • manage others’ calendars
  • schedule complex meetings on a regular basis, i.e. recurring, with large numbers of people 
  • have a need to archive messages
  • copy and paste email lists from Excel into messages or to create contact groups
  • manage the workflow of others, i.e. student employees using Tasks
  • work mostly from one computer/laptop
  • use keyboard shortcuts extensively (only a limited number are available in OWA)
  • have a visual challenge that requires greater contrast
  • do not need seamless access to OneDrive (cloud storage)

You will always have access to your Office 365 account through the internet and the Outlook Web App. You may choose to use the desktop client for some functions and use the Web App for others.  Actions performed in the desktop client (such as replying to email and scheduling appointments) are reflected in the Outlook Web App and vice versa.  

Still not sure which version will best meet your needs?
Employees are encouraged to contact your IT Support Liaison for consultation.  

Think the Outlook Desktop Client is for you?

  • Work use: UW-Platteville employees should have access to the Office suite, including Outlook, on their workstation/laptop. 
    • Click on the Window in the lower left, and type Outlook.  
    • Open the app and sign in using your campus credentials.  It may take a few minutes to load your data.
  • Personal use: UW-Platteville students and employees may download Outlook from Office 365 to a PC or Mac as part of your free license.
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