What are current best practices to share contacts in a small company?


There are many ways one can share contacts. But as there are many different ways, there are drawbacks and advantages alike. Over time, best practices may have changed. I could use personal sharing my contact folder, setting up public folders, setting up a list in a sharepoint and add to outlook, use teams and manage contacts in groups, manage a company-wide contactlist, and and and..


I'm looking for the best way to share contacts, nowadays. Pointers to good practice are very welcome, if they cover the needs I put together below. Not what's possible, but what makes most sense. Really appreciated!


Tenant background: 

  • Recently migrated from Kerio mail system to Office 365
  • 9 (real) users
  • 8 additional licensed mailboxes that are shared each to 2-5 of the above users (those boxes are licensed since they need features like mobile access, autoreply, autosignature, etc.)
  • Users are in 3 different work groups with overlapping functions
  • Outlook 2016 and 365, rarely using web access. 
  • Currently is NOT using Teams or Sharepoint, nor does he have a CRM, or ERP

That customer does not yet have any company-wide or group oriented contact folders. Each individual maintains their own contact list. Sometimes they share it to other users, yet not by sharing folders, but copying the contact folder itself. 


The customer would like to

  • maintain company-wide contacts centrally, including with distribution lists
  • Outlook and OWA should be able to check addresses and DL's against this contact list(s).
  • Currently it does not seem necessary that those shared contacts need to be synced to mobile devices. 
  • The list should be simple to maintain. 


The simplest method seems to me public folders. But I have not yet figured out if Office 365 in 2019 still wants to get rid of it. 


The next method might be contact lists in Sharepoint, but I have less experiences with it. In the past, it seemed to me that there were more drawbacks than advantages (I might be wrong).


What solution do you use, and why? What are the advantages and disadvantages?


Thanks a lot for your input.




5 Replies
best response confirmed by DanHuber (Contributor)
Unfortunately I did not hear bach from you guys. Can it be that my questions was too .... whatever :)
I went on with Public Folders. That should do for the moment.

@DanHuber Im facing almost the same issue. a group of 5 users need to acess and colaborate on a shared contact list somewhere, mainly through outlook. Nowadays we have a user(a made up one, we call it BCM) with a license(thats expensive) sharing its contacts to everyone else and everyone is acessing it thorugh outlook. But we have some problems with that solution beacause the new search bar in new outlook. We can´t properly search about the contacts. But I want to move to a contact list library in sharepoint. (To get everything to one place, we already have the documents in sharepoint) Everything works perfect on tyhe computer, in outlook and we can search but I can´t acess the contact in our mobile phones and that´s a dealbreaker so until we find a solution to get the contacts to work on ios we just stick with the solution we have since it works on phone but its not the intended use)  we tested business central but it was to much and to big for our little company. But business central have a tab in your contacts in ios contact app. We where so close to the finish line with that solution.

I know this question is old, but it ranks high in Google results so I figured I would post a solution. I would recommend that you follow the guidance in this KB to set up a shared mailbox ->


It seems to be the best practice espoused by Microsoft for O365/M365 these days. Hope this helps someone out!

the very same question :) we have 4 people at the office and need to have shared contacts for sales and for current customer boosting... :)