Most companies have generic email accounts for different sectors, such as [email protected] or [email protected], or even the most generic – [email protected] In the past, we’ve obtained these from our web hosting providers because they were free, and several people could monitor the mailbox.

But when Office 365 came along, then each mailbox required a purchased license, right? Not necessarily – there are mail-enabled Office 365 Groups and there are Shared Mailboxes that each can be created at no additional cost. Free.

From the Microsoft 365 admin center, go to Groups | Shared mailboxes | Add a mailbox. Name it, choose one of the domains you’ve set up, and that’s it, although you’ll have to add members as prompted after the shared mailbox creation has completed.

Okay, so now that you have a Shared Mailbox:

  • How do you access it?
  • How big is it?
  • Does it have a calendar that can be shared?
  • Does it have contacts that can be shared?
  • Can you view the mailbox, calendar, and contacts on mobile devices?

How do you access it?

Windows – Open Outlook and there it is listed among other accounts in the left navigation pane with the name you assigned to this shared mailbox. Nothing else to so.

Mac – In Outlook for Mac, you go to File | Open | Other User’s Folder, and then type in the email address of the shared mailbox. But if you want the complete folder list viewable (Archive, Sent Items, etc.), then you have to go to Outlook | Preferences | Accounts | Advanced | Delegates | Open these additional mailboxes | + | enter email address of the shared mailbox | and Add.

Web – Any supported browser:
When logged into Outlook on the web, click on your username in the upper right of the web page and choose Open another mailbox. Note: If you have Dark Mode enabled, then the input box for mailbox’s name in absolutely invisible, which is weird – you just have to click in the area until the blinking cursor starts.

Mobile – Outlook should be your preferred and default email client app on both iOS and Android. Mobile connectivity is rolling out now so that you can access shared email messages, shared calendars, and shared contacts all while on the road.

How big is it?

The size of the primary inbox of the shared mailbox is 100GB, which is comparable to the capacity of a mailbox from a Microsoft 365 enterprise plan. But just like the features of other business enterprise plans, you also get an Archive mailbox with a 100GB capacity. And if you know the trick, then you can set this archive to ever-expand, so it’s really an unlimited feature.

Does it have a calendar that can be shared among members?

Yes.

Does it have contacts that can be shared among members?

Yes.

Can you view the mailbox, calendar, and contacts on mobile devices?

Soon. That is, as we speak… This is rolling out right now for both iOS and Android, so be on the lookout for this most-requested feature. I can open a shared mailbox’s calendar right now in iOS on my iPhone, but email and contacts are still missing.