Accessing Oakton Email via Squirrelmail (New WebMail)


Starting September 9, 2004 Oakton will be offering a new web-based email client program (Squirrelmail) as a supplemental means of accessing Oakton student email. Employees will be able to use squirrelmail starting on December 5, 2004. 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. Squirrelmail webmail trades easy access for some of the functionality of Netscape Messenger, although Squirrelmail offers significantly more functionality that Oakton's previous Webmail tool: IMP.   

Please see our Student mail upgrade FAQ at for details on the Student Mail Server upgrade

Please see our Employee mail upgrade FAQ at for details on the Employee Mail Server upgrade.

Important Notes:

Using Squirrelmail WebMail: Log In Screen

Using a recent browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher, go to
  1. Choose and click on your user role: Either Student or Faculty, Staff, Administrator, Trustee.
  2. The login screen will appear. Type in your regular Oakton network login ID in the username field.
  3. Type your regular Oakton password in the password field.
  4. 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.

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.

In the folder List/Info Bar:

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

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

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)

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.

With these commands you can

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 (Empty) link next to the Trash Folder in the folder list.

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.

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

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 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:
  1. Searching for addresses in the Oakton email directory or personal address book for use when composing a message
  2. Storing addresses in a Personal Address book like Messenger's Personal Address Book for later use.
Accessing the Address book from the Composition Window

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

  1. Select a Address Book from the drop menu (By default it will search all address books and directories for both email addresses and names)
  2. Type the data to be searched for in the "Search for" field
  3. 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)

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.

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.)
  1. Export the addresses from the Messenger address book in LDIF format. More information on exporting addresses from Netscape Messenger.
  2. Go to Options -> LDIF Addressbook Import
  3. Type the Filename or browse for the file created in step 1.
  4. Press the submit button to import the 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: