Newbie Question about Shared Mailbox

Copper Contributor

Our office has been using SMTP/POP with user emails and generic emails that go to 5 users. Our hosted email is moving us to Microsoft 365 emails which for the past days I've been trying to understand.


Here is the situation, our users are not computer savvy and this transition will be a struggle. I would like to make it as painless as possible.


We are using Outlook 2019 desktop. So I understand that a new email account has to be made on Outlook 2019 for microsoft exchange email.


My question is, how best to deal with the generic email Email address removed that goes to 5 users. Since this is currently SMTP/POP, a copy of the emails go to the 5 users. On their desktop they can do whatever they want with their copy, delete, archive etc and it would not affect the mailbox on the server.


I've read about shared mailbox. If I set it up this way, these are my questions:


If a user deletes an email in the shared mailbox, will the other users still see it in their desktop inbox?

If a user files or archives the email, will it still show up on the other users desktop inbox?

If a user replies to the email with the other users see the sent email?


Sorry for being a newbie. Our "forced" transition is coming soon. I am of the mind to leave the generic email box as a user rather than a shared mailbox. What are your thoughts or suggestions? TIA.


9 Replies

@NewtoIT20221735 To answer your questions, the shared mailbox is a completely separate mailbox, with an email address, that is separate from their personal mailbox.  Any changes made in the shared mailbox will be reflected for all users as it is the same for all users.  If you want to maintain the same functionality where the users can do whatever they want with their copy of the email, then you might want to look at a distribution list which would send each individual their own copy of the email that they can do as they please.  If you still decide to use the shared mailbox, you can delegate access to the shared mailbox to each of the users and they will see the mailbox attached to their copy of Outlook along with their personal inbox.



@ozziesedajr Thanks for your suggestion. I have looked at distribution list. The generic email Email address removed has a lot of email so adding this on top of the user's email might not be the best thing to do for productivity. The users are not computer savvy, they do not know how to create rules or categories etc.
In our environment, we use a lot of shared mailboxes. One of the problems with them, especially when new employees are hired, is that users forget to check the mailbox, as crazy as that sounds, because it is a separate mailbox and you don't get notification that an email has arrived in the shared mailbox.

In your situation, I would set this up as follows:
1. Create the shared mailbox
2. Create the distribution list and assign it the generic email address
3. In the distribution list, add the users and the shared mailbox as members. This way everyone and the shared mailbox itself gets a copy of the email.
4. Whomever does not want to get copied directly to their inbox, remove them from the distribution list and they can check for emails in the shared mailbox attached to their outlook

When you move all of the email from the existing mail service, archive it in the shared mailbox.

Hope this helps!
@ozziesedajr That is something new that I learned, the fact that shared mailboxes does not have notifications of new email. That maybe a potential problem. The generic email right now has important stuff coming in but it is managed by different people, we are a small organization so we like to have everyone see what is coming in so if someone is out, somebody else knows what to do.

Distribution list may not work either because all these emails will go into their individual mailbox and they will be bogged down with trying to figure out what is priority.

So what if I just make this generic email into an individual mailbox and add it to every user. Will it function the same way as how SMTP/POP works where if the user deletes an email from their Outlook desktop, it will not get deleted for other users in their own Outlook desktop?
An individual mailbox and a shared mailbox are the same thing. The only difference is an individual mailbox you have to license and pay for whereas a shared mailbox doesn't need a license, it is free, and you can create as many as you need. Otherwise, they both work the same, you can add either to the user's Outlook. But as I mentioned earlier, any changes made within the individual/shared mailbox will be reflected to all users, which may work for you. If someone responds to a new email within the shared mailbox, well at least everyone else who accesses the mailbox will see that email has been responded to and they can go in the Sent Items and see the response in one location.

Hope this clears things up a bit!
@ozziesedajr Thanks for patiently explaining things to me. I do appreciate it!

So with all these, I am leaning towards using a shared mailbox. Am I able to create rules and categories so that certain emails that go into it will skip the inbox and go to a folder (for solicitation emails for instance). That way it will not be too big of a daily grind for users to look through the emails?

How do you get around the fact that shared mailboxes do not get new email notifications? I am afraid like your users, they won't bother to look into it and miss an important email for the day?


"Am I able to create rules and categories so that certain emails that go into it will skip the inbox and go to a folder (for solicitation emails for instance)"


Yes. You can log into your personal mailbox via OWA and then open the shared mailbox and apply the rules and categories there. You can't directly login to the shared mailbox as there is no paid user license associated with it but you can open it via your own mailbox, once delegation occurs.


"How do you get around the fact that shared mailboxes do not get new email notifications?"


This seems to work the best. There are other solutions you can Google but haven't found any to be very reliable. Obviously the most reliable would be to go check the mailbox, lol! But we already went through that, ha ha. You can right-click the folders that you need notifications from and select Show In Favorites. This will not get you a notification but you can clearly see the number of unread messages in the folder(s), same as you would your personal inbox.


Hope this helps!



We actually use Outlook desktop 2019, so I understand that if I make the rules, folder etc on either my Outlook desktop 2019 or OWA for the shared mailbox, it will hold true for the other users who are permitted to see the shared mailbox?

On getting new notifications - that definitely is a great idea to add it to the favorites and they can see how many unread messages are there. Oh however, if for instance I open the message not intended for me, it will show it as read for all. hmmm..

best response confirmed by NewtoIT20221735 (Copper Contributor)
I don't believe there is an option in Outlook to create rules for a shared mailbox. We've always logged into OWA to open the mailbox and create the rules using that. And yes, once the rules are applied they work as they would for any other mailbox as rules are mailbox specific.

"Oh however, if for instance I open the message not intended for me, it will show it as read for all." - Yes, but...if it's not for you then just right-click on it and mark it as unread. Easy, peasy.