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Userfriendly Shared Mailboxes in Office 365

Userfriendly Shared Mailboxes in Office 365

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Updated March 27, 2012

One of the very popular features of Exchange Online in Office 365 is the ability to create Shared Mailboxes. In Exchange Online you are free to create as many Shared Mailboxes you like. A Shared Mailbox smaller than 5GB in size do not require a license.

Many customers will want to have one or more shared mailboxes for e.g. info@company.com, reception@hotel.com types of purposes etc.

From a user perspective it's easiest if the shared mailbox is accessible from the users own mailbox, and the ability to drag and drop mail items beetween folders is preserved. This is default behavior in Outlook 2010. But what if the user is using his/her Outlook Web App (OWA) for working with mails?

In OWA two methods exists for opening other users folders:

  1. Explicit logon is the ability of a user to access another user’s full mailbox in a separate window.
  2. Mailbox Delegate Access which provides a user the ability to merge another user’s inbox (only) into their own mailbox folder tree (so…limited delegated access).  

Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Method 1: Explicit logon

It will open the Shared Mailbox in a new window and you cannot drag and drop mails between the two windows. But the subfolders of the Mailbox's Inbox are visible and you can drag mails from the Inbox to its subfolders.

To open a Mailbox using Explicit logon:

1. Click your name in the top right corner of Outlook Web App

2. Type the alias of the Shared Mailbox

3. The Shared Mailbox opens in a new window. No drag and drop capabilities between your Inbox and the Shared Mailbox

 

Method 2: Mailbox Delegate Access

It will open the Inbox in the same browser window and you can drag and drop mail items between your folders and the Inbox of the Mailbox. But the subfolders of the Inbox are not visible.

To open a Mailbox (Inbox) using Mailbox Delegate Access:

1. Right click your name in the Folder list (your mailbox) to the left and click Open Other User's Inbox...

2. Type the alias of the Shared Mailbox

3. The Shared Mailbox opens below your primary mailbox in the Folder list

4. AND you can drag and drop mail from your Inbox...

... to the Shared Mailbox (and vice versa)

 

Best of both

So what to do if you'd like to have the best of both methods? Being able to drag a mail from your inbox to a subfolder of a Shared Mailbox's Inbox. Well - for now you will need to do a litte tab juggling in you browser.

  1. Open the Shared Mailbox (Inbox) using Method 2
  2. Open the (full) Shared Mailbox using Method 1
  3. Grab the URL in the address field
  4. Press the back tab in your browser (to return to your Inbox)
  5. Open a new tab
  6. Paste the URL (from step 3)

You now have a working environment - you can drag emails from your Inbox to the Shared Mailbox (Inbox) in the first tab...

... and you can drag mails from the Shared Mailbox (Inbox) to its subfolders in the second tab

I hope this will serve as an inspiration to you for using Shared Mailboxes even if you are not using Outlook 2010 - the browser experience is quite userfriendly too :-)

** Feel free to chime in (comment) if you have suggestions to the Product Group for future feature updates **

 

See also

  • Create a public email alias in Office 365 - link (Create a public email alias in Office 365 by setting up a shared mailbox)
  • Understanding Shared Mailboxes in Office 365 (updated) - link
  • A couple of tips for setting up Shared Mailboxes - link
  • Public Folders in Office 365 - link
  • Set Up a Shared Mailbox - link
Comments
  • Nice tip

  • I agree the second method shown here is the way to go. Unfortunately it does not expose the sub folders of the inbox. Our users are faced with a two step process to file their emails into the shared Mailbox. 1)using the second method shown here to drag the email into the shared inbox and then 2) open the shared mailbox using the first method to place the email into the correct sub folder. It drives them nuts!

    Hopefully there is an enhancement on the horizon to allow us to do this.

  • indeed the shared mailbox feature is really bad. Regular IMAP accounts are even superior

  • The problem with shared inboxes is that you have to keep an eye on all those boxes.  Is there a way to get all the mail I need to read and reply to appear in one inbox?

  • @Rickkee: Well, if you can define a criteria for which mails in a Shared Inbox is for your attention (e.g with the word Urgent in the subject), you can create an Inbox rule on the Shared Mailbox that e.g redirects the mail to your inbox.

  • i just want to know how to get into the thing!

  • I am looking over an Office365 trial account, and it appears that this no longer works (2nd method)

  • I want to be able to share folders from 1 users online archive mailbox to another user.  Method 2 would be the best option for this, but it doesn't work for the online archive portion of the users mailbox.  Can we get this implemented?

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