A shared mailbox can be accessed by multiple users, all who are granted specific access permissions to it. Every member can read and send email messages from and to the shared mailbox itself.
Shared mailboxes are used to many these days. It allows performing of a wide range of coordinated activities with a team. Essentially, a shared mailbox act as a centralized service allowing many people to work in a more synchronized manner.
Among the common advantages of using shared mailboxes include some of these abilities:
In this article, you shall learn how to configure and use a shared mailbox in Outlook. Know about what is to be done if the shared mailbox is not synchronizing accurately.
How can we add an Additional Shared Mailbox in Outlook?
Once your shared mailbox account is ready (either created on Active Directory on-premises or on Azure Active Directory) you can easily proceed by adding it to your Outlook profile.
You should always keep in mind, however, that there are various methods to do this as well. Depending upon the infrastructure Office 365 is relying on, if a shared mailbox is not added correctly as shown below, the chances are that it might not work according to expectations.
The correct procedure to it is
In Outlook, Go to File > Account Settings Account Settings.
Select your profile and then click on Change.
Click on More Settings.
Click on Advanced tab, click Add.
Put the email address or name of the shared mailbox and then click OK.
Once configured, the shared mailbox will be available automatically in the left folder pane in Outlook.
Can you delegate access to Shared Mailbox for another user?
With the exception of the mailbox owner, anyone who needs access to the additional mailbox (and configuring it on his outlook profile) must be granted the correct permissions to it.
There are two main actions that the mailbox owner needs to take to provide another user with the access to the shared mailbox.
However, once if the process mentioned below is completed, permissions might not be available in the real time to the user, since the permission replication over the entire infrastructure might take some time.
Action 1: Delegate the Access
Go to File in Outlook.
Click on Account Settings option > Delegate Access.
Click to Add button.
Pick the user who has access and will work with the shared mailbox (use Ctrl-click to select and then click on Add > OK.
Grant the permission level that you want to assign to each section: Calendars, Tasks, Inbox, Contacts, and Notes.
Select Editor and click OK.
Action 2: Set granular permissions for the targeted user over a shared mailbox.
"Go to Mail” after starting Outlook, then right-click on the Shared Mailbox.
Go to Data File Properties.
From the menu, select the Permissions Tabs.
According to the permission level, select Full Details > All > Folder Visible as following.
Click the Add button.
Write the fully-qualified email address.
Click on Go.
After selecting the name from the archive, click Add > OK.
Select Editor. Select Full Details under Read.
Editor permissions will provide full access according to the granted permission level—and click OK.
Troubleshooting Shared Mailbox Synchronization
Technical and configuration issues might occur in Shared mailboxes. Below is the step by step process to follow when shared mailboxes pose a syncing problem.
1) Disconnect/Reconnect the Shared Mailbox.
This action will quickly bring the shared mailbox back in sync again.
Firstly, disconnect the Shared Mailbox and connect back to Outlook profile.
Then, Close Outlook.
Go to Start > Control Panel> Click on Mail.
It will generate the pop up of the Mail Setup window.
Click on Change after selecting your profile.
Go to More Settings.
Select the Shared Mailbox on the advanced tab and click Remove.
Again open Outlook and reconnect the shared mailbox by following the procedure listed for step number 1. Check it out, if the issue is solved or not.
2) Rename the Offline Outlook Data File (.ost)
Whether shared or individual, office 365 keeps your mailboxes on a server called Microsoft Exchange. All the folders are locally cached by Outlook to which you have access which includes shared mailboxes called Offline Outlook Data File (.ost).
The following default location (which differs depending on the client version and the Outlook account type): C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook will store the local copy of your mailbox which is in sync with the Offline Outlook Data File saved on your computer.
The Offline Outlook Data File may get corrupted or become unreadable from within Outlook. The reasons for this could be a data storage device failure; network connection failure (if the problem is in a network connection, then the synchronization process will be stopped, and the OST file will probably get disrupted); incorrect file system recovery; or viruses.
If this happens either the shared mailbox or your main Inbox might not sync properly.
Mailbox synchronization issues with Outlook are mostly due to .ost file corruption and can be corrected by changing the name of the .ost file or by creating a new Outlook profile, which will develop a new Offline Outlook Data File (.ost).
Navigate to: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook, select the Offline Outlook Data File and change its name (for example, by adding “.old” to the end.)
Again start Outlook to check if the issue is solved or not.
A new Offline Outlook Data File will be created by Outlook, which will start to sync with the Mailbox. The complete synchronization might take some time, and some data (emails) might be available on Outlook especially older items only for some time.
3) Enable/Disable Cached Exchange Mode
During the usage of an Exchange account, the feature Cached Exchange Mode will be set up by default. It keeps a copy of your mailbox locally saved (cached) on your PC.
You get speedy access to your data while accessing a local copy which allows you to work offline on Outlook.
Cached Exchange Mode allows you to read and respond to your cached messages while offline, and all the new messages or updates to your mailbox on the server will be automatically sent/received once Outlook gets in sync again.
If the shared mailbox does not sync, you should disable and restart Outlook which will re-enable Cached Exchange Mode on the advanced profile configuration settings.
Click File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
Before clicking on Change, Highlight the Exchange account.
Click More Settings.
On the Advanced tab, under Cached Exchange Mode Settings, uncheck the option Cached Exchange Mode.
Restart Outlook to re-enable the checkbox and check if the issue is solved or not.
4) Start “Download shared Folders” and “Public folders favorites”
As you turn on the Cached Exchange Mode, shared folders—the available folders in your shared mailbox—are downloaded to the local computer.
To check if the shared folders are downloaded to the Offline Outlook Data File or not on the Cached Exchange Mode, you will continue as follows:
Click File > Account Settings > Account Settings.
Click the Exchange account, and then click Change > More Settings.
Make sure the checkboxes “Download shared Folders” and “Public folders favorites” are selected, under Cached Exchange Mode Settings, on the Advanced tab.
5) Link your Shared Mailbox to a new Outlook Profile
Check it out if the shared mailbox has the same connectivity problem on a new Outlook profile.
Go to Start > Control Panel> Click on Mail.
It will generate a pop up of the Mail Setup window.
Click on the Add Button.
Select the new profile name, and click OK.
The Outlook profile should be automatically created by The Autodiscover service:
Click on Next.
And then click Finish.
Step again to the Mail Configuration window and select the option: ”Always use this profile.”
Click on OK button. Outlook will open up and it will automatically update your new profile.
To sync the Shared Mailbox with the new Outlook profile, consider the step above: “How to add a supplementary shared mailbox in Outlook."
Check it out if the Shared Mailbox is in sync with the new Outlook profile or not.
6) Check Shared Mailbox Accessibility through the Outlook Web App
If the new outlook profile is still not able to sync, then the problem might be elsewhere. The problem can be with the network infrastructure; sometimes, the permission for access to the shared mailbox is not replicated across the infrastructure properly.
Check your accessibility to the shared mailbox on the cloud-hosted service Outlook Web App, which is the Microsoft Exchange Web-based email client. The user gets the same experience as with Microsoft Outlook without any installation of client software on PC. It gives the complete access to e-mail, calendars, contacts, tasks, and other mailbox content, in case outlook does not function properly.
Click on https://login.microsoftonline.com, mention your credentials like Outlook email address and password and log in.
Go to the upper right user icon, and select “Open another Mailbox.”
You need to insert your shared mailbox email address.
Click on Open.
If the Mailbox is available and syncs via Outlook Web App, it means that the problem is local, and you will have to scrutinize again.
If the shared mailbox is not accessible and does not sync properly with the web app, the problem should be fixed at the server level. Contact your system administrator is the issue persists.