How do I access my email and calendar on a Chromebook?

posted Jan 20, 2018, 5:16 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jan 20, 2018, 6:02 AM ]
webmail bookmark
Currently staff members still rely on the Microsoft Exchange Server for district email and appointments. On a Chromebook we are limited to using the Outlook Web App to access it.

In the BPSD bookmark group, click the Webmail link to access

We know it is clunky and primitive
Our old Exchange Server's app used to work better with Google Chrome, but changes in web standards now force it to use the "Light version" of that app to make everything work, such as file attachments and draft messages.

We are considering switching staff members over to Gmail and Google Calendar in summer 2018 to address this issue. (Students already have Gmail student accounts.) But that's a big move for hundreds of staff members which will require much planning and retraining. Meanwhile, here below are some workarounds if you hate Outlook Web App on a Chromebook as much as we do:

Three workarounds:
  1. Use your smartphone or tablet instead: Frankly, mobile devices running iOS and Android are the most convenient ways to access your district email and calendar when away from your station at school:
  1. Use the Windows 10 Mail app instead: At home, if you have Windows 10, its default Mail app works pretty well with our old Exchange Server.
  1. Get a better interface on the Chromebook, but with some broken features: On Chromebooks and in the Google Chrome browser on a desktop computer, you can install the OWAFull extension and then deliberately UNcheck the Web App login screen option Use the light version of Outlook Web App.
That will open the more powerful older version of the Outlook Web App, with a better interface, drag-and-drop, etc. 

  • file attachments do NOT work in the full version
  • drag-and-drop will NOT work
  • drafts you save in the full version of the Outlook Web App may not be accessible when you access your email on a different service
Light version of Outlook Web App
Yes, we know the Outlook Web App on a Chromebook is primitive, but it works

Getting the broken full version back

Light version checkbox
Installing the OWAFull extension will allow you tUNcheck the Use the light version of Outlook Web App on the webmail login screen. 

That provides a much improved interface. BUT you won't be able to attach any files to messages unless you logout of the app and re-open it and deliberately check the box for Use the light version of the Outlook Web App.

Also, drag-and-drop does not work and drafts you save in the full version of the app may not be visible elsewhere.

Full OWA
You can install OWAFull to trick a Chromebook into loading the full version of the Outlook Web App, which is more powerful BUT has some broken features like file attachments