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Understanding Shared Mailbox In Office 365

Earlier in this post, we learnt about the online archive in office 365. Today I’m going to show you about the shared mailbox in Office 365.

A Shared Mailbox is an outlook mailbox very much like a user mailbox, however, it is shared by several different people. This is great for a company to manage a load of customer inquires and to handle project queries. When an email sent from a shared mailbox, the from address appears as a shared mailbox email address. Similarly, a separate calendar is available to shared mailbox members to manage meetings.

A shared mailbox can’t be accessed by members without permission and it doesn’t have a password to access them so users should seek help from admins to provide the necessary permission to access a mailbox. Once this is done, you can then access the mailbox in via browser or outlook.

How to create a shared mailbox

There are a couple of options to create a shared mailbox and they’re Microsoft 365 Admin Center and Powershell.

  • Go to “Microsoft 365 Admin Center
  • In the left navigation, select “Groups
  • Select “Shared Mailboxes
office 365 mailbox
  • Click “Add a shared mailbox
microsoft office 365
  • Enter the name of the shared mailbox that you wish and the email address
shared mailbox office 365
  • The shared mailbox is created but it doesn’t have any members.
  • Click on “Add members to your shared mailbox
Shared Mailbox in Office 365
  • Click “Add members
  • Search users and add them to the shared mailbox
  • Click “Save
  • After saved, allow for an hour to replicate. After 60 minutes, try accessing the mailbox using the browser or outlook.

How to create a shared mailbox using Powershell?

  • connect to Exchange Online Powershell
  • Execute the below command.
    New-Mailbox -Name “Techie Test” -Shared
Shared Mailbox in Office 365
  • Once this is created, follow the steps mentioned above to add members and wait for 60 minutes.

How to access the shared mailbox in outlook?

There are a few ways to access the shared mailbox in outlook. They’re listed below.

Option 1:

  • In Outlook click on “File
  • Select “Account Settings” -> Account Settings
  • Under the Email tab click on Change, then More Settings
  • go to “Advanced
  • Click “Add
  • Type in NAMEOFTHESHAREDMAILBOX
  • Click OK
  • Click Apply and OK to complete adding the shared mailbox.
  • If you have more than 1 you can add the rest at the same time. Apply and OK to complete adding the shared mailbox(s).
  • Access to the shared mailbox will be resumed and you will now be able to “Send As” the shared mailbox without getting a non-delivery failure.

Option 2:

  • From Outlook 2013 and higher, click on File -> Click “Add account
  • At the ‘Add Account’ screen, it will ask you to enter an email address or name, type in the email address of the shared mailbox
  • Click “Connect
  • You will be prompted to enter the password
  • Replace the shared mailbox email address on the sign-in page your email address and your password.
  • Click “Sign-in” and wait for 5-10 minutes
  • Close the outlook and launch it again
  • The mailbox will appear on the left side on outlook.

How to add an external user to the shared mailbox?

Shared mailboxes are only accessible to internal users and external users can’t be added as members. This is mainly because shared mailbox members require an Active Directory account which is impossible for external users to have.

How to convert user mailbox to shared mailbox?

Admins some time might want to convert user mailboxes to shared mailboxes or vice versa. This can be achieved using the Microsoft 365 Admin Center or Powershell.

  • Go to “Microsoft 365 Admin Center
  • Select “Exchange” from Admin Centers
  • In the left navigation, select “Recipients
  • select “Mailboxes
  • Search a mailbox and select them
  • In the right, under “Convert to Shared Mailbox”, click “Convert

There is a quick way to accomplish the same and that’s Powershell

Connect to Exchange Online Powershell
Execute the below command and you should be good to go.
Set-mailbox “Enter the shared mailbox name or email address” -Type Shared

If you prefer to convert shared mailbox to user mailbox, follow these steps.

  • Go to “Microsoft 365 Admin Center
  • Select “Exchange” from Admin Centers
  • In the left navigation, select “Recipients
  • select “Shared
  • Search a mailbox and select them
  • In the right, under “Convert to Regular Mailbox“, click “Convert

To convert from a shared mailbox to user mailbox, the mailbox type should be Regular and not shared. The command is below.
Set-mailbox “Enter the shared mailbox name or email address” -Type Regular

Office 365 shared mailbox limitations

Of course, there are some limitations in office 365 shared mailboxes and they’re listed below.

  • It doesn’t require any license and certainly free to use. By default, it comes with 50 GB of quota.
  • If it exceeded, exchange online license is required.
  • Exchange Online Kiosk licensed users cannot be accessed
  • Emails archive cannot be done
  • Journaling cannot be supported
  • A shared mailbox cannot have a user name and password so users cannot sign into it directly. It can be accessed only after a user accessed their mailbox using permissions.
  • ActiveSync clients cannot be accessed

Related reading:

For more information about shared mailboxes, check Microsoft website.

Want to improve your Exchange Online experience for better productivity? Check out the tips and tricks mentioned here.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Which finding from today’s report did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you. So go ahead and leave a comment below.

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