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What Is an Exchange Shared Mailbox

As the name suggests, a Shared Mailbox is one that is created for the purpose of having it shared by multiple users. These users will have access to Emails, as well as Calendars, Contacts, and Tasks associated with the Shared Mailbox - depending on the permissions granted to them by your Organisation’s Email Exchange Administrator.

Important: If you are simply trying to share your folders, calendars, or contacts with another user via Outlook, please visit the guides below:

If you have access to your Organisation’s Exchange Manager, you can click on this link to follow our step-by-step guide for creating a Shared Mailbox. Otherwise, read through this guide to learn:

Why Use a Shared Mailbox

While there can be a lot of reasons, most businesses use an Exchange Shared Mailbox because it:

  • Provides a generic email address, like support@businessname.com or info@businessname.com, that multiple users can manage within a team or an organisation.
  • Allows them to centralise different departments like HR, Help Desk, or Technical Group with multiple users to respond and monitor emails from customers/clients.

What’s important is that you’re able to properly manage your users with the right Shared Mailbox Permissions applicable to each.

What Are Shared Mailbox Permissions

Permissions is a Shared Mailbox service that allows you to control certain users’ level of access. This is especially useful for when you’re sharing your Mailbox with a large team with designated roles.

Here are the different Permissions you can grant to your Shared Mailbox Users:

  • Full Access – This allows users to open the Shared Mailbox, create & manage Tasks, view, draft, manage, and delete emails, but not be able to send emails from the said Mailbox.
  • Send As – This allows users to send emails from the Shared Mailbox and appear as though they’re sending the message from the original Mailbox. For example, if Jane Smith sends an email from the Accounting Shared Mailbox, the email sent will appear as sent from the Accounting Department with no traces of it coming from Jane Smith.
  • Send on Behalf – This allows users to send emails from the Shared Mailbox but with an "on behalf of" phrase appearing in the From address. For example, if Jane Smith sends an email from the Accounting Shared Mailbox, the email will appear as sent from "Jane Smith on behalf of the Accounting Department".
  • Calendar access & Contacts access – This allows users to access the Shared Mailbox’s Calendar and Contacts, depending on the Folder Permission level set:

    Permission Levels View Create Edit/Delete Others
    Reviewer Yes No No This is the default setting. Use this for those you only need informed.
    Contributor No Yes No Use this to get contributions without having to disclose confidential information.
    Author Yes Yes Limited Can only edit/delete those they added.
    Use this for contributors within your organisation, but outside your team.
    Publishing Author Yes Yes Limited Same as Author, except user can also add subfolders.
    Editor Yes Yes Yes User has full read & write access.
    Use this for contributors within your team.
    Publishing Editor Yes Yes Yes Same as Editor, except user can also add subfolders.
    Owner Yes Yes Yes User can function as you would.

How Do I Access a Shared Mailbox

If you’re trying to access a Shared Mailbox, you will not be able to access it directly, i.e. via a username and password. Instead, you will need to access your own User Mailbox first. Here’s how you can access a Shared Mailbox via:

If via Outlook Desktop

Open Outlook on your desktop to check your User Mailbox. The Shared Mailbox will appear automatically in your folders list.

access shared mailbox on outlook desktop

If you’ve just recently been assigned Permissions by your Admin, you may need to close and restart Outlook. If this doesn’t work, you can wait a little and try again. If that doesn’t work either, then you can manually add it with the steps below:

Step 1. Open Outlook.
Step 2. Click the File tab at the top-left corner of the application.
Step 3. Click on Account Settings and select Account Settings from the drop-down list.
Step 4. On the pop-up box that appears, select the E-mail tab, click on your User Mailbox, and click Change.
shared mailbox manual access step 4
Step 5. Click on More Settings, go to Advanced, and click Add.
shared mailbox manual access step 5
Step 6. Enter the Shared Mailbox email address in the Add mailbox field, e.g. accounts@businessname.com, then click OK.
Step 7. Click OK again, then click Next, Finish, and Close.

This should solve the problem and add the Shared Mailbox in your folders list on Outlook.

If via Outlook Web App

You can also manually add and access the Shared Mailbox via Outlook through your browser. Here’s how:

Step 1. Log in to your User Mailbox via OWA.
Step 2. Right-click on your name in the folders list, and select Add shared folder.
shared mailbox owa access step 2
Step 3. In the Add shared folder pop-up box that appears, enter the Shared Mailbox email address, e.g. accounts@businessname.com, then click Add.

This should add the Shared Mailbox in your folders list on OWA.

If via Outlook on iOS or Android

If you’re using Outlook on your iOS or Android mobile device, here’s what to do:

Step 1. Open the Outlook app on your device and sign in to your primary account.
Step 2. Tap Add Account from the left-side menu, then select Add a Shared Mailbox.
Step 3. Select the account with Shared Mailbox Permissions.

Once the account setup is complete, the Shared Mailbox will appear in your account on Outlook iOS or Android.

Please let us know if you need further assistance or have any questions. We’d love to help!

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