Shared Mailboxes In Microsoft 365

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In this blog, I am going to discuss what shared mailboxes are, How you set them up and why they’re helpful. 

What Is A Shared Mailbox?

A Shared Mailbox is an email account that multiple people can access. When a department has a general mailbox that everyone within the department needs access to, our business uses one for Accounts. 

Shared Mailboxes can also be used if someone permanently or temporarily leaves the business. For some time, the emails sent by the employee/ex-employee may need to be monitored for a short period. At the same time, many contacts may not have realised that said employee/ex-employee is unavailable and may still attempt to email them. 

As mailboxes can be changed into shared and vice versa, having an old or unavailable employee mailbox transformed into a shared is very simple. It helps customers and contacts with their issues or enquiries without getting the message lost. 

You can access shared mailboxes on outlook desktop, outlook mobile app, and outlook web app. Having shared mailboxes easily accessible will mean your customer service and contacts to clients run smoothly and efficiently. 

However, shared mailboxes are not just available to anyone. Although they are free to add, you must still be a licenced user to have one. So no skimping out on your Microsoft Payments!

Shared mailboxes are also not just accessible to those who know the password… because there isn’t one!
You cant log into it like a regular mailbox; you have to have been granted access to it by the person who managed the email and Microsoft accounts. 

How Do You Make A Shared Mailbox?

In this blog section, I’m going to go through converting and creating shared mailboxes

As you can see below, I have created a test Mailbox names ‘Boris Johnson’ that has been set up with an Exchange Online Plan 1 Licence. 

Shared Malboxes

Let’s assume that ‘Boris’ is leaving the business or going on extended leave, such as for illness or maternity/paternity leave. Their licenced mailbox would be costing money without being used, and anyone emailing their mailbox would get no response, meaning potential loss of business. 

If we click on Boris’ account and go to the ‘mail’ option on the menu, we can then choose to convert the mailbox to a Shared Mailbox. Select it, and then ‘convert’ to confirm your selection, followed by selecting ‘Done’ to finish the change. 

You would need to change the licence on the account to save on the licence cost. This is done by selecting Boris’s account and going to the menu. You can select the ‘Licences and apps’ option, which will show you the chosen licence. Unselect it, and Boris is now an Unlicensed Shared Mailbox, as shown below. 

How To Administer A Shared Mailbox

So, how will you access the shared mailbox now that you have successfully made them? You cannot log into them like a regular mailbox – You have to administer it to someone else mailbox so they can access it. 

You must go to the exchange online admin portal to manage the mailboxes. By selecting Boris’s mailbox, we can choose to whom we delegate the mailbox access, sending emails from his account or with full admin access.  Here we will select full admin access. 

Restoring The Mailbox

Bris is returning from an extended leave and will need his mailbox back when he returns. So how can we convert the shared mailbox back to a user mailbox?

As you can see in the image below, after selecting Boris, a tab appears to convert the mailbox back to a regular mailbox. All you need to do is click on the tab, select confirm, and it will successfully convert it back to a standard mailbox. 

However, That is not the end. You will also have to reassign the licence that we previously removed. The mailbox won’t be a functional user mailbox if there is no licence. 

You will also need to reset the password for the mailbox for security reasons.

This is how the Shared Mailboxes can be created with an existing user Mailbox. 

Non-User Mailbox Method

You can also create a Shared Mailbox without using a pre-existing user mailbox. 

This can be done simply by selecting the “+ Shared Mailbox” tab and creating the shared mailbox by inputting the desired name and Email domain. 

Shared Mailboxes are an extremely useful tool; they can save you money on unused mailboxes and help your business connect with the department. 

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