Why doesn't Outlook Web Access display the 3 pane view when using browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Safari?

Specifics: When you access Outlook for the web(specifically Outlook 2003) using Internet Explorer you get the 3 pane view that looks pretty similar to the Outlook Desktop version. i.e. Folder/button on the left, the email summary list in the middle and the the email body on the right hand side. When you browse the same site in other browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Safari they show a 2 pane view. i.e. The folder view on the left and then the summary view on the right. You then have to click on each email summary to display the detail. The problem is that its one extra click to get to the email body.

Is there a way to get other browsers to show the 3 panes by tricking them in some way, or is this one of Microsoft's non standard apis that only works in IE or there is just some configuration that we haven't set right?


What you are looking at (when you use a non IE browser) is OWA Lite.

OWA Lite misses out on:

  • Spelling Checker
  • Reading Pane
  • Notifications and Reminders
  • Weekly Calendar Views
  • Windows SharePoint Services and Windows File Share Integration
  • HTML Message Format
  • Right-Click Menu
  • Drag and Drop
  • Explicit Logon
  • Type-down Search
  • Resource Mailbox Management
  • Color Scheme Appearance
  • Voicemail Options

However! You can circumvent this if you install the IE Tab Addon for FireFox:


More detailed info from:


  • 1
    +1 Keep in mind though that IE Tab works by launching an instance of IE and displaying all output in a Firefox tab. In other words, you need IT installed and functioning on the system for this to work. Mac and Linux users are out of luck as far as I know. – Daniel Lucas Jun 18 '09 at 12:32
  • The good news is that OWA in Exchange 2010 Beta is the same no matter what browser you're using. – Chealion Jun 18 '09 at 15:17

Which version of Exchange is it? 2003? 2007?

IE is the only browser I know of that can display OWA "Premium" - which is the full-on interface you're used to.

Other browsers are restricted to the "Lite" view, which is what you're seeing. I believe there may be a FireFox plugin to fix this, but I'm not sure.

Irony being that OWA 2003 didn't used to work in IE7 and 8 (is this still the case?) so FF was your only option!

Just to clarify: This behaviour is normal. There's no configuration you've missed, and yes, it's likely some IE API they're using.

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