What are Shared Mailboxes and Public Folders?

Organizations use Public Folders and Shared mailboxes for different purposes. Both can receive emails when public folders are mail-enabled and are considered as a company-wide collaboration platforms.  In this article we shall have a look about the concepts of Shared Mailbox and Public Folders and how to create one in your Office 365 account.

What is a Shared Mailbox?

A shared mailbox is just like a mailbox that can be shared with one or more users. Shared Mailbox does not have a username and password and also it does not require a license. All the features of normal mailboxes are supported in the Shared mailbox as well. It is added by an admin and can be accessed by two or more people who want to collaborate in a team. A Shared Mailbox might require a license only in the following scenarios as outlined in this article.

When is a Shared Mailbox advantageous?

Consider this scenario. Let us say that in a company there are 4 people, 2 of whom are graphic designers and the remaining two belong to both the graphic designing team and marketing team. Now if a separate ‘user mailbox’ has to be created for these two teams for collaboration, it would cost 6 licenses (4 for the users and 2 for the additionally created team mailboxes). On the other hand, if a Shared Mailbox is created, it would require only 4 licenses for the 4 users. If it weren’t for the Shared mailboxes, it would become very expensive for big organizations. Shared mailboxes also have an inbox, calendar, contacts, etc, and they appear as additional mailboxes in the same user account. In a Shared mailbox, multiple users can access the same contact list, company information, or other functions that are shared by multiple people. Shared mailboxes allow multiple users to schedule and view vacation time or work shifts using a common calender. When an email arrives in a shared mailboxes, any person from the group can reply to it.

How to create a Shared Mailbox in Office 365 admin center?

Step 1 : Log in to your Office 365 account with the admin login credentials and click on the ‘Admin’ option in the left pane.

Step 2 : In Office 365 admin center, go to Groups and select Shared mailboxes under it.

Step 3 : In Shared mailboxes, click on the ‘Add a shared mailbox’ button.

Step 4 : After completing the above steps, you will get a window as shown below. Here you have to enter the name of shared mailbox and email to create a Shared mailbox. Then click on the ‘Save changes’ button. After few seconds Shared mailbox account will get created.

Step 5 : After the creation of Shared mailbox, you will get a notification as shown below.

Step 6 : Now you can add members to the Shared mailbox, so that all members of the Shared mailbox can access the data such as calendar, contacts, and other information. Click on the Shared mailbox account that you have created. You will get a window as shown below. Under members, click on the ‘Edit’ option.

Step 7 : Click on the + ‘Add members’ button

Step 8 : Now choose members from the list and click on the ‘Add’ button. The selected members will be added to the shared mailbox.

How to create a Shared Mailbox in the Exchange admin center

Step 1 : Login to Office 365 account and click the ‘Admin’ button.

Step 2 : Now select ‘Exchange’.

Step 3 : Under Recipients, go to Mailboxes and then click on ‘Add a shared mailbox’.

Step 4 : Here enter the required data and click on the ‘Create’ button.

Step 5 : You will get notification as shown below.

What are Public Folders?

Public folders are like a container where you can store the files and other information, it will become viewable by other users who have permission to access those files. It is a quick, simple, and easy way to collect, organize and share information with the employees of the organization. Unlike a Shared Mailbox, a public folder does not have a specific email address attached to it.

 Public Folders also support the following features:

  • Contacts
  • Calendar Items
  • Messages
  • Journal Entries
  • Notes
  • Custom Attributes
  • Templates

Administrators can define the Public Folder Hierarchy and assign ownership status to separate parts of the hierarchy to ease the administrative burden. The delegated administrators can then manage permissions from Outlook directly.

How to create Public Folder in Exchange admin center?

Step 1 : Login to the Office 365 admin account.

Step 2 : Click the ‘Admin’ button to open the Office 365 admin center.

Step 3 : In Office 365 admin center, select ‘Exchange’ to open the Exchange admin center.

Step 4 : Go to ‘Public Folders’ which is present on the left pane. And select ‘Public folders mailbox’.

Step 5 : Enter the name and click on the ‘Save’ Button.

Step 6 : Then you will get a message as shown below. Once you have created a public folder mailbox, you can add public folders and assign users to it.

Step 7 : To create a new public folder, click on the plus ‘+’ sign. To edit, click on the pencil icon. To add users and set ‘Root Permissions’ to the Public folder, click on the three dots ‘…’  button. The public folders will be displayed in your Outlook mailbox under folders once it is created.

Know about Office 365 public folder to Shared mailbox migration using EdbMails.

EdbMails is an intuitive tool to perform migration operations. With this tool, you can migrate data from Office 365 public folder to the Shared mailbox. This application provides a 100% safe and quick migration process. It does not use any additional third-party tools to perform migration operations. To know more about this migration, please visit the below link.


Buy Now and avail Upto 75% plus off along with an Edb to PST, Edb to Office 365, Edb to Live Exchange Migrator license from EdbMails! Visit www.edbmails.com for further details.

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