Oakton offers a web-based email client program, Squirrelmail, as a supplemental means of accessing Oakton email. Web-based email allows you to read your Oakton mail via a web browser window similar to Yahoo! mail. This means you can check your mail from anywhere you have access to a browser-- such as a library or a friend's home.

Never share your Oakton password! Scammers want your Oakton username and password to use in email scams.

Important Notes:

• Always take the time to log off when you're done with your email. If you walk away without logging off, the next person will have access to your mail.

• While Squirrelmail will with work with a variety of browsers, many of the features will function only with Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher.

• Click on the Help link in Squirrelmail and you will get context sensitive information about whatever action you are doing at the time.

• Student Email accounts are not automatically active.  Students can activate their email account by going to http://romulan.oakton.edu/accountmgmt

Using Squirrelmail WebMail: Log In Screen

Using a recent browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, go to http://www.oakton.edu/webmail

login screen

• Choose and click on your user role: Either Student or Faculty, Staff, Administrator, Trustee.

• The login screen will appear. Type in your regular Oakton network login ID in the username field.

• Type your regular Oakton password in the password field.

• Click the log in button

Squirrel mail will launch and you will be taken to the main screen and your Inbox.

The Squirrelmail Main Screen

The Squirrelmail main screen consists of a folder list/info bar (green area to left), a menu bar of commonly used functions at the top (Compose, Addresses, etc.) and the Message Index which lists the headers of your incoming messages.

screen shot of main squirrelmail screen after login

The Menu bar contains several important elements and links. Clicking on any of these will either replace the contents of the Message Index area where the Inbox initially shows or float a second active window over the original window.

• Click on Compose to Create an outgoing message.

• Click on Addresses to access the Oakton email address lookup and your personal addresses.

• Click on Folders to subscribe to your existing Oakton mail folders (folders you have created) or to create new folders.

• Click on Options to set up your signature file, or adjust how Squirrelmail works.

• Click on Search to find specific messages by subject, Sender, message content etc.

• Click on Help to access context sensitive help.

• Click on Filters to set up Server side message filters, such as SPAM filters.  Note these filters will apply to any email client including Netscape.

• Click on Oakton Account Management to change your password, forward your mail or deactivate your account.

• Click on Sign Out to exit Squirrelmail (this does not close the browser or impact your use of the computer in any other way)

In the folder List/Info Bar:

• See your current email space usage in the Mail Quota Report

quota screen shot

• Click on the INBOX link at any time to return to your email Inbox.

• Click on any other folder name to access that folder (Trash, Drafts, etc.)

• The numbers next to the folder names show the number of new messages / total number of messages in the folder

• Click on "(refresh folder list)" link to update the message counts or to reflect any new or deleted folders, by default it will refresh every 30 seconds. 

Managing the Inbox

Sorting Mail

By Default, mail is sorted by Date with most recent messages appearing at the top.   Sorting can be changed by clicking on the square or triangle next to the column name

sorting mail text


Each message header in the Inbox has six columns: check box, sender, Date/Time, Flags, Subject, Size

column headers

• Check box: Use this to select the message for purposes of deleting it or moving it to another folder

• Sender: Name of the person who sent the message

• Date/Time:  Message date/time

• Flags:  "+" indicates the message has attachments, "A" indicates you have answered the message, "!" indicates the message was marked as urgent

• Subject: Message Subject, click on this to read the message

• Size:  The total size of the message and attachments (Limited to 12MB at Oakton)

New Messages appear in bold

Only 15 messages will show at a time in the browser window (This is also adjustable in Options) . You can move to the next or previous page's worth of messages by clicking on the appropriate link (center top of Inbox frame)

message list

Reading Messages

To open and read a message, left-click on the subject of the header showing in the Inbox. The message you selected will replace the Message index in the same window.  This can be changed to read the message in a new window in Options.

After opening the message, you will see several clickable commands in three locations: across the top, in the header by the word Options, and at the bottom of the screen.

reading message screen

With these commands you can

• Click Message List (top left) to close the window and return to the message list

• Click Delete (top left) to delete the message

• Click Previous or Next (top middle) to go to the previous or next message

• Click Forward or Forward as Attachment (top right) to send the message on to a new recipient

• Click Reply or Reply to All to respond to the sender. (top right) Reply to All will cc your response to all the original recipients. See also: Composing Messages

• Click View Full Header (next to Options) to see additional information about the message

• Click View Printable Version (next to Options) to open a new window to print

• Click View Message Details (next to Options) to see the entire message source

• Click Add to Address book  (next to Options) to add this sender to your personal address book.

• Click Bounce (next to Options) to redirect the message to someone else (the recipient will see the original sender's name in the Inbox rather than the person who "bounced" it. The "bouncer" is listed only in the header.)

• Click Download this as a file (below the message) to save a copy of the message to a local drive as a text file

• Click Delete & Prev (bottom middle) to delete the message and view the previous message

• Click Delete & Next (bottom middle) to delete the message and view the next message

• Click Move (bottom middle) to save the message to a different email folder. Select the desired folder from the drop menu.

Deleting Messages

Squirrelmail uses a "move to trash" model for deleting messages.   To undelete a message, go to the Trash folder and move it back into your Inbox or another folder.   To permenently delete all the messages in trash, click on the (Purge) link next to the Trash Folder in the folder list.

how to empty trash

Individual messages can also be permanently deleted out of the Trash mailbox.  Simply select the message in Trash and click on Delete.

Composing Messages (New, Reply, Forward, Resume)

The Reply, Forward, and Resume commands will all open the Composition window where you can create or modify outgoing messages. The composition window floats over the parent webmail window. To create a new outgoing message, click Compose on the menu bar.

screen capture showing what compose pane in squirrelmail looks like

The composition window has the basic components of most any email program equivalent screen and they function the same way. A quick overview:

• The "To:," "Cc:," and "Bcc" fields: Separate multiple addresses in each field by commas. Example: jsmith@123.com,doe@456.org

• Click on Addresses to search for addresses. You can search the Oakton directory or access addresses you've saved under a personal address book. See also The Address Book.

• Clicking "Save Draft" saves the message to your Drafts folder on borg.oakton.edu. You can access this draft later to continue working on it.

• Attach files by either typing in the path and filename or clicking the Browse button and browsing your local folders to the file. After you locate the desired file, click the Add button. This will alter the Composition window to show an additional entry for attachments. Repeat the process for each desired attachment. If you wish to delete one or more of the attachments you've selected, check the box next to the filename(s) and click "Delete Selected Attachments".

attach file

Notes on Outgoing Messages

Squirrelmail does include an HTML composition window that requires Internet Explorer 6 to use.    HTML Composition allows you add formatting like bold, change fonts, sizes and colors and use tables and images.  The plain text composer is the default, but this can be changed to the HTML Composer by changing the setting of Options -> Display Options -> Email Composition Format. The example above has the HTML composition formatting turned on.

• Messages received with HTML formatting and embedded images will display much as they would in Messenger.

• Forwarding or a replying to a HTML formatted message will removes the HTML formatting from the original message in either the HTML composer or the Plain Text composer. (This is much improved from IMP.)

• To retain the HTML formatting in a forwarded message, choose "Forward as attachment"

• If you choose to use the HTML Composer, you lose the ability to spell check the message.

 The Address Book

The Address Book can be accessed either from the Menu area or from a link on the message composition window. The Address Book has two major functions:

• Searching for addresses in the Oakton email directory or personal address book for use when composing a message

• Storing addresses in a Personal Address book like Messenger's Personal Address Book for later use.

    Accessing the Address book from the Composition Window

    screen capture of address book search for

    To search for addresses (in both Oakton's LDAP Directories and your Personal Address book)

    • Select a Address Book from the drop menu (By default it will search all address books and directories for both email addresses and names)

    • Type the data to be searched for in the "Search for" field

    • Click Start Search

      The Search Results will show at the bottom of the Address Book window.  Click on one of the three links (To, CC, or BCC) to insert the result into the header of the message you are composing and allow you to search for another name, clicking on the email address will add the address to the To field an close the address book window.

      Personal Address Book (Accessed from the "Addresses" option on the menu)

      main address book screen

      The Squirrelmail personal address book is like Netscape Messenger's Personal Address Book.  In it you can store names and addresses of people (in and out of Oakton) you frequently correspond with.

      • To add an entry, type in the appropriate information in the Nickname, E-mail address, First Name, Last Name and Additional Info fields and then press the "Add address" button.  (A unique Nickname, an E-mail address and at least one name are required.)

      • To edit an existing record, click on the check box and then choose "Edit Selected"    Press the "Update Address" button when complete.

      • To compose a new message to an person in you address book, click on the email address

      • To delete an existing record, click on the check box and then choose "Delete Selected"

        Importing Personal Address Books

        To import address book entries from Netscape Messenger (A similar process can be used for any email system or program that can produce an LDIF address export file.)

        • Export the addresses from the Messenger address book in LDIF format. More information on exporting addresses from Netscape Messenger.

        • Go to Options -> LDIF Addressbook Import

        • Type the Filename or browse for the file created in step 1.

        • Press the submit button to import the address book


        import address book

        Preferences  (Options)

        Preferences in Squirrelmail are extensive and often confusing, we have tried to pick sane defaults.  To change your preferences, click on Options in the Menu area.   If you are not sure what a preference does, try making a change and see if you like the results.  Just be sure to note what you changed so that you can reverse it if you don't like it.

        In Options you can:

        • Set up your signature file in Personal Information. Your signature file in Messenger does not transfer to Squirrelmail and vice versa. You need to create one in each mail program.

        • Change the message composer (Plain Text or HTML) along with many other display setting in Display Preferences

        • Most Display preferences will require you to refresh the entire Squirrelmail browser window.   If you are not clear on what this means, log out and log back in to see the changes.