How to Add and Use a Shared Mailbox in Outlook and Microsoft 365

Use a communal inbox in all versions of Microsoft Outlook

A shared mailbox enables customers, suppliers, and co-workers to send emails to a central address where everyone on a team can see and respond to them. One efficient way to share email messages with a group of people is to set up a Microsoft Office 365 shared mailbox. You can access your shared mailboxes from the desktop and mobile versions of Microsoft Outlook.

These instructions apply to Office 365 for Windows and macOS; Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010; Outlook for iOS and Android; and Outlook on the web.

What Is a Shared Mailbox in Office 365?

Every person assigned to an Office 365 shared mailbox has complete access to all the messages in it. Member users can read incoming emails, reply to messages, forward messages, and see how others have responded.

When a team member responds to an email message from the shared mailbox, the email is sent from the shared address rather than the individual's email address, so everyone's information stays confidential. That said, shared mailboxes typically don't have user names or passwords, which can create some security concerns.

To use shared mailboxes in Office 365, you also need a Microsoft Exchange Online subscription.

How to Create a Shared Mailbox in Office 365

You can create as many shared mailboxes as you need, but each user you assign to the mailbox must have a Microsoft 365 subscription. To set up a shared mailbox:

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin center using your Microsoft 365 global admin account or Exchange admin account credentials.

    The Microsoft 365 admin center

    The Microsoft 365 admin center was formerly known as the Office 365 admin center.

  2. Select Groups > Shared mailboxes in the navigation pane.

  3. Select Add a mailbox on the Shared mailboxes page.

    Microsoft 365 admin center Shared mailboxes page
  4. On the Add a mailbox page, type a name for the shared mailbox in the Name field.

    Office 365 admin center showing the shared mailbox settings page
  5. A mailbox alias is automatically created in the Email field, but you can change the alias if you like. When you've named the shared mailbox, select Add.

  6. Select Add members to this mailbox under Next steps.

  7. Select Add members on the Add Shared Mailbox members page.

  8. Under Members, check the box beside each person who will have access to the shared mailbox. When you're done, select Save and then Close.

If you don't see a person's name in the list, select Search and type the person's name.

How to Save Sent Email to the Shared Mailbox

When a user sends an email message from the shared mailbox, a copy of that message is saved to that user's Sent Items folder, not to the shared mailbox. If you want to save these emails to the shared mailbox instead, you must edit the shared mailbox settings.

To save sent email messages to the shared mailbox, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center and select Groups > Shared mailboxes in the navigation pane.

  2. Select your shared mailbox.

  3. Select Edit next to Sent items.

    Office 365 admin center showing the shared mailbox settings page
  4. Set both Copy items sent as this mailbox and Copy items sent on behalf of this mailbox to On, then select Save.

How to Use the Shared Mailbox in Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook 2010

When you set up the shared mailbox, other users don’t have to do anything to display the shared mailbox in the desktop version of Outlook. The shared mailbox appears automatically in the Outlook sidebar.

To send an email from the shared mailbox, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the Home tab at the top of Outlook.

  2. Select New Email to create a new message.

    The New Email icon in Office 2016 for macOS
  3. Select From in the new email message, and then select the shared mailbox.

  4. Type your message and select Send.

How to Access the Shared Mailbox in Outlook on the Web

If you want to work with the shared mailbox in a web browser, you must add the mailbox manually. To add the shared mailbox to Outlook on the web, complete the following steps:

  1. Sign in to your Microsoft 365 account, and then select the Outlook app.

  2. Right-click Folders (or your mailbox name) in the navigation pane, and then select Add shared folder.

  3. Type the email address of the shared mailbox in the Add shared folder dialog box, and then select Add.

How to Add Shared Mailboxes to the Outlook Mobile App

If you want to access a shared mailbox from your smartphone or tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Outlook app for iOS or Android and sign in to your account.

  2. Tap Add Account in the left pane, then tap Add a Shared Mailbox

    If you have multiple Outlook accounts, choose the one that has access to the shared mailbox. 

  3. Enter the email address. Once the process is complete, you should see your shared mailbox under your accounts in the Outlook app.

If you want to remove a shared mailbox from the Outlook app, go to Settings > Accounts, then tap the shared mailbox and choose Delete Account.

Why Use a Shared Mailbox?

Shared mailboxes are ideal for customer service or marketing departments that want incoming email messages to be answered by the next available team member. Shared mailboxes also come with a shared contact list and a shared calendar, so members of the group can create appointments in a central location that all members can see.