OnBase has a number of different user interfaces available which are called Clients. There is variety in the functionality and some specific advantages to each one. The OnBase team will help each area select the appropriate interface for their users as part of the project discovery and requirements. One implementation area can use multiple different user interfaces.

Any use of OnBase requires that you have a user login set up inside of OnBase. Login accounts are created and administered by the User Manager in your area. User Managers can create new accounts, add accounts to existing user security groups in OnBase, and re-set OnBase passwords if needed.

What if I am off campus?

In order to login to OnBase the computer you are working from must be on the BU network. If you are off-campus and want to access OnBase, you can do so with a web client. However you will ALSO need to be logged in to the BU VPN before connecting to OnBase.

What browser should I use?

OnBase upgraded to version 16 as of August 1st, 2016. Compatible browsers have been updated below.

If you are using an OnBase Web Client you must have an OnBase compatible browser.  Not all web browsers are compatible with our current version of OnBase. Here is a list of browsers that do and do not work with the two OnBase web clients most commonly in use at BU. Please also read the “What Client should I use?” section below for more details on which client you are likely using, browsers compatible with other OnBase web clients, and Mac vs. Windows platform considerations.

Browser Name Platform Evergreen HTML Only
Web Client
Active X
Web Client
Apple Safari 6.2 Mac OS X No Yes No
Apple Safari 7.1 Mac OS X No Yes No
Apple Safari 8.0 Mac OS X No Yes No
Apple Safari 9.0 Mac OS X No Yes No
Firefox 45 ESR Mac OS X
No Yes No Recommended for Macs because
Version upgrades can be controlled
Firefox 45+ (non ESR) Mac OS X 
Yes Yes No
Google Chrome 10+ Windows Yes Yes No Limited Support only
Google Chrome 46 Windows Yes Yes No Limited Support only
Google Chrome 49+ Windows Yes Yes No Note: There are issues importing documents using Chrome 50+
Microsoft EdgeHTML 13+ Windows Yes Yes Unknown Limited Support only
Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Windows No Yes Yes Recommended for Windows

Any browsers not listed as supported in the above table are UNSUPPORTED at this time. OnBase will automatically block logins attempted from unsupported browsers.

Check out the Boston University Browser Information and Trouble Shooting page if you need more information about how to determine what version of a browser you are using or how to downgrade to an earlier version.

If you are using another application, such as BUworks, which requires a browser version not compatible with OnBase, you will need to choose one browser to use with OnBase and another to use with the other application and maintain their versions appropriately.

LIMITED SUPPORT: Limited support is now available for the Web Client in some browsers which are not fully compatible with OnBase. Standard client functionality such as Retrieval, Custom Queries, New Form, and Document Import and dialogs such as Keywords, Re-index, History, and Properties will be accessible. Modules such as Workflow will be inaccessible to the user when using a browser with limited support. The Web Server will automatically block access to unsupported modules and features. DocPop and FolderPop are accessible under Limited Support and specifically unsupported features will be automatically removed.

EVERGREEN BROWSERS: Evergreen browser versions stated above are explicitly supported. This means that Hyland has certified that version of the evergreen browser as being supported. Subsequent versions of each evergreen browser will be implicitly supported but will not undergo extensive testing by Hyland. The solution to any issues encountered on an implicitly supported browser version is to downgrade to a version that is explicitly supported. We do not have any recourse to changing OnBase functionality and compatibility.

What Client should I use?

Which client you should be using depends on the OnBase application area that you work in. More information about each client appears in the Clients section below.

This section has been updated to reflect OnBase version 15 which is in use at Boston University as of 8/10/2015

Client Areas For Windows For MACS
HTML Only Web Client Financial Aid (OFA)
Graduate Engineering
Graduate Medical Sciences
HR Global (HRG)
MET Grad
Provost / eCAP Users
Student Employment (SEO)
See compatible browsers above. See compatible browsers above.
ActiveX Web Client Admissions / Enrollment
HR Personnel
MET Grad – Program Coordinators only
MET Undergrad Admissions
See compatible browsers above. Not for MACSee compatible browsers above.
FolderPop ISSO FolderPop is an integration which allows you to click a link in another application and open a related folder of documents in OnBase. See compatible browsers above.
Thick Client All areas scanning stations
Servers & Developers
Administrators in some areas
Not browser based; desktop install
Requires an update to the C++ redistributable as a pre-requisite.
Requires a fixed IP address and firewall security clearance.Thick clients on any computers other than developers, servers or scanning stations should be replaced by the Unity Client.
Not for MAC
Unity or Thick Client via RDP Connection Admissions / Enrollment
HR Benefits
MET Grad – Program Coordinators
not browser based; RDP configured on desktop MAC / Linux Users with RDP access
Outlook 2013 MET Graduate
Graduate Medical Sciences
Graduate ENG
HR Global
HR Personnel
not browser based, per user installation
Outlook 2013 – MS Office must be 32 bit version
Windows can be 64 bit
Requires .NET pre-requisite installation. This is an Outlook add-in which must be enabled
Not for MAC
Unity Client Selected users in various areas A Windows-like client installed on the desktop Not for MAC


Boston University upgraded from OnBase 15 to OnBase 16 as of August 1, 2016.  In many areas KACE was used to push upgrades to the Thick Client, Active X, Unity and Outlook clients out. HTML Only client users do not need to make any changes. ActiveX Web client users need the new ActiveX controls but the link to the client has not changed. If you need assistance with your clients please log a help desk ticket to Desktop Support.

The Clients

For each of the interfaces listed below there are notes about the interface and some important functional items:

There is a grid that shows what each different client can do on the OnBase User Group web page.

If you need to have an OnBase client installed, please send a Service Now help desk request requesting the client and specifying which users would like to use it.

Web Clients

Log in to web clients using your BU login and Kerboros password. You must still have an OnBase account set up but access will be granted through a single sign-on process. Web client access may also require that you have a SecureID if your OnBase application contains sensitive information on documents or keywords. It is likely that adjustments will also have to be made to the Internet Explorer security settings on your desktop in order to use one of the web clients smoothly.

  • HTML-Only Web Client – does not require an active X installation on the desktop for use.
  • ActiveX Web Client – a local installation of ActiveX controls on your desktop computer is a pre-requisite to using this interface. This is a full featured web client.
  • Java Client- this client is no longer available with OnBase version 13 and later.

Unity Client

This is a full featured client that uses a familiar windows ribbon menu interface. It can be installed on Windows desktops. It is not available for MACs except via connection to a remote server (see below). Log in to the Unity client using your BU login and OnBase password.  The Unity Client can be used for all OnBase functionality including scanning, document separation, indexing, importing and more.

Unity Clients are installed on all scanning stations as of our conversion to OnBase 16 (July 2016) and ideally should be used for scanning and indexing going forward.  The Thick Client will be deprecated by the vendor in a future version release yet tbd.

The Unity Client does not currently have two-factor authentication in front of it and so may not be suitable for use in areas that have sensitive data in the keywords or documents. Requests for installation of the Unity Client will be reviewed with security in mind.

Outlook Client

This interfaces offers the opportunity to quickly and easily commit emails and email attachments as documents to OnBase. You can also quickly send a document out of OnBase attached to an email if appropriate security rights have been granted. A desktop installation is required to use this interface. This interface is only certified to work with Windows platform Outlook installation.

The OnBase Outlook add-on must be enabled and should be set to always start. It may take some time to start up and Outlook will sometimes automatically disable it.  You can manually re-enable it under add-ons.

Logging in to the Outlook Client is prompted the first time OnBase functionality is called for from the Outlook ribbon. Users login with their OnBase login and password. You will stay logged in as long as you do not close Outlook or until an hour has gone by with no OnBase activity. Your OnBase user license will be consumed as long as you remain logged into Outlook or until an hour has gone by without activity, so concurrent licenses may be tied up.

Thick Client

The Thick Client is a heavy installation on the user desktop computer and is required for use on all scanning stations. When booting up the thick client in the production environment, make sure to use the desktop icon that specifies PROD and that “observerp” is displayed in the first drop down on the login window. Most Thick Client installations use the OnBase login and password rather than Kerboros. Thick Client access also requires a fixed IP address for your computer and adjustments to security firewalls as well as the installation of an Oracle database client and ODBC connections. We prefer not to install the Thick Client on staff working stations since it requires significant additional effort to install initially and upgrade to new versions. If there is a pressing need for functionality offered by the Thick Client which is not available in a web client, you can request a Thick Client installation.

The Thick Client will be deprecated by the vendor in a future version release yet tbd.  Please use the Unity Client instead of the Thick Client wherever possible.

RDP Connection

RDP is an alternate way to use either the Unity or Thick Client by accessing a remote server rather than having a client installed on your desktop. This is a alternative suitable for Linux and MAC users. Access via RDP must be set up on your desktop. RDP access replaces the former Quest Application Portal.

In order to access OnBase via RDP you must have an OnBase account and also be in the appropriate security group. A remote connection must also be configured on your desktop.

  1. Request an OnBase account from your area’s OnBase User Manager if you do not already have one.
  2. Request access to OnBase via RDP in a help desk ticket to Information Security. They need to add you to the group IST-OnBase-TS-Clients-AD.
  3. Request configuration of RDP access to OnBase on your desktop computer via a help desk ticket to Desktop Support.
    1. Specify if you want the Unity or Thick client. We strongly recommend using the remote connection to the Unity Client rather than the Thick Client as the Thick Client will be phased out in a near future version of OnBase. You do not need both.
    2. There is a ServiceNow Knowledge article documenting the settings available to desktop support and the help desk.

NOTE: Access to OnBase from mobile devices (eg. IPads, Black Berries, Android Phones, etc.) is not currently available at BU. Modules which will allow access through these platforms are avaialable at additional cost and would require a project investigation through IS&T.


In addition to multiple user interfaces, there are two different OnBase environments that you might interact with. If you are asked to conduct testing on new development or changes to OnBase configurations, you might need a login to our Test environment. User Acceptance Testing should always be done in the same user interface(s) that will be used in Production.

OnBase user accounts are set up separately in Production and Test so you can not assume that if you have a login to one that you will have both. The User Manager for your area can set up accounts in both environments.

Web Clients

All the web clients listed above for the Production environment are also available in the Test environment. However they have different and separate web links (favorites). The appropriate link to the Test client will be provided to testers as needed. Be careful that you select the correct web link favorite for the environment you want to log into.

Thick Client

When booting up the thick client to access the TEST environment, make sure to use the desktop icon that specifies ‘TEST’ and that “observrt” is displayed in the first drop down on the login screen. Use your OnBase login and password (not Kerboros).