Open and use a shared mailbox in Outlook 2016 and Outlook 2013

A shared mailbox can be a practical solution for any business with groups of people working from different locations. With the right permissions, any person in a group can access a shared mailbox that appears in their address book. The shared mailbox is automatically available in the Folder pane in Outlook.

Note:  A Microsoft Exchange Server account is required to use this feature. For more information, see What is a Microsoft Exchange Server account?

Only admins can create a shared mailbox and give users permissions to the shared mailbox. If you want to open a shared mailbox using Outlook on the web or Outlook Web App instead of Outlook, see Open and use a shared mailbox in Outlook Web App.

A shared mailbox can provide a convenient way for people in a group to communicate. Other advantages to a shared mailbox include:

  • It makes it easy for a specific group of people to monitor and send email from a public email alias like info@contoso.com or contact@contoso.com.

  • It allows a person in the group to reply to a message sent to the shared mailbox, and that reply will appear to be from the shared mailbox, not the mailbox of the individual user.

  • It allows people in the group—based on their individual permissions—to access shared contacts and a shared calendar associated with the shared mailbox.

After you decide a shared mailbox would be a great team asset, contact the admin in your organization. It's the admin who can create a shared mailbox and add you to the group of users before you can use it. And if you want to open a shared mailbox using Outlook on the web or Outlook Web App instead of Outlook, see Open and use a shared mailbox in Outlook Web App.

If you have permissions to a shared mailbox, the shared mailbox will automatically display in your Folder pane in Outlook.

Shared mailbox displays in Folder List in Outlook

Note:  If your admin only recently provided you access to a shared mailbox, it may take a short time before the shared mailbox will automatically appear in your Outlook profile. If the shared mailbox doesn't automatically appear, you might need to restart Outlook to see it.

If you have permissions to a shared mailbox, the shared calendar associated with the shared mailbox is automatically added to your My Calendars list.

  1. In Outlook, choose Calendar.

  2. In the Folder pane, under My Calendars, select the shared calendar.

    Shared calendar displays in Folder List in Outlook

If you have permissions to a shared mailbox, the shared contact list associated with the shared mailbox is automatically added to your My Contacts list.

  1. In Outlook, choose People.

  2. Under My Contacts, choose the contacts folder for the shared contacts list.

    Shared contacts list displays in Contacts Pane in Outlook

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