A shared mailbox in Microsoft Outlook will prove invaluable if your team is collaborating on a project, as they can exchange messages from a central platform. A communal email center is also an asset if your employees are responsible for responding to customer inquiries. Outlook Calendar allows members to create events or let others know when they’ll be out of the office. When you create a shared mailbox in Outlook, members can monitor messages via a public email alias, which usually appears as firstname.lastname@example.org. The sender appears under this alias, too, rather than by name. Group members can now communicate without logging into the mailbox or conveying personal information. If you’re new to using shared mail in Outlook, here are some “how-to” tips to help you get started.
Creating a Shared Mailbox in Outlook
Before you use the mailbox, you will need to have an office 365 admin for your company or organization set it up and add you as a member. If you are the admin, follow these steps:
- Sign into Office 365 and select admin.
- Go to Groups and choose Shared Mailbox.
- Choose Add a mailbox and type in the name you want it to have. Many addresses begin with “support”, “info”, or “contact.” Then click Add.
- When the wizard continues to Next Steps, choose Add members. It may take a few minutes to reach this step after you add the mailbox.
- Add members by searching for them or selecting them from a list. When you’re finished, click Save, then Close.
- If you want to make changes or updates at any point, select the new mailbox and click on Edit next to the information you want to modify.
Using a Shared Outlook Mailbox: Getting Started
Once the admin has created the public mailbox, close Outlook and restart it. The mailbox should appear automatically in the Folder pane. Note that it may take a few minutes to display after the admin added it, so if you don’t see it, wait a bit, then close and restart Outlook again. If you still cannot locate the shared mailbox, you will have to add it manually.
- Once you’ve opened Outlook, select File.
- Select Account Settings and then choose the Email tab.
- Be sure that the correct account is highlighted, then select Change.
- Select More Settings. From there, choose Advanced, then click Add.
- Type the name of the shared email address, choose Ok and Next followed by Finish and Close.
Using the Shared Calendar
If you want to access the calendar right after the admin created the shared mailbox, you will need to close and restart Outlook to gain access to it. The shared calendar connected with the public mailbox is added to your Calendars list automatically. To use the shared calendar in Outlook, navigate to calendar view and choose the shared mailbox. From there, you can manage schedules and appointments. This feature allows all team members to be on the same page about schedules and appointments.
Using Shared Contact Lists in Outlook
When the mailbox has been created, the corresponding Contacts list is automatically added. To access it with Outlook:
- Select People.
- Look under My contacts to select the contacts folder for the shared contacts list.
Using a Shared Mailbox with a Mobile Device
If you or your team members need to take work on-the-go, you can access the shared mailbox from a smartphone or tablet, too. Unfortunately, the Outlook app on your mobile device won’t allow you to use the shared mailbox, but there is a workaround. Follow these steps to use your primary mailbox and the shared one simultaneously:
- Right-click on the name of your primary mailbox in the left-hand pane, then select Add shared folder.
- In the dialog box, type the email address or name of someone who has shared a mailbox with you, then click Add. Another option is to enter the name of the shared mailbox you are a member of.
In Outlook on the web, you should see the mailbox in your Folder list. Just as you can do with your primary folders, you can expand or collapse the shared mailbox folders. If you want to remove the shared mailbox from the Folders list, right-click Shared mailbox and choose Remove shared folder.
How to Use the Shared Calendar with Outlook on the Web
As a member of a shared mailbox, you also have access to the shared calendar. This feature allows you to create, edit and delete events (that you or someone else created) and make the information available to all members. To use the calendar from a mobile device:
- Sign in using Outlook on the web, then select Calendar.
- Right-click Other calendars, then select Open Calendar.
- Use the from directory option to search for the shared calendar you need to access and click Open. You should see the shared calendar on your Calendar folder list.
A Few Things to Know About Shared Mailboxes in Outlook
With a shared mailbox, you can send, receive and reply to messages just as you do with your primary mailbox. However, if you want to send automatic replies, only the admin is authorized to set this up. You cannot give anyone outside your organization access to your shared mailboxes. If you want to include people outside your business in your group correspondence, you can create a Group in Outlook instead.
Creating a shared mailbox is a helpful way to ensure that your team stays up-to-date on appointments, schedule changes and group messages. It’s also a critical tool for connecting with customers and vendors. Keeping members “in the know” improves communication, employee performance and morale.