Microsoft Outlook, with its array of effective features, can be a game-changer for users. Configuring your Exchange account in MS Outlook offers numerous advantages, including simplified mailbox management, access to shared mailboxes and folders. Furthermore, when you have configured your Exchange account, you can easily share your mailbox folders and calendars with other users in your organization. Shared folders in Outlook streamline the process of sharing emails, calendars, contacts, notes, and tasks with others on the same Exchange server, eliminating the need for individual sharing every time.

Shared folders are instrumental in enhancing teamwork by facilitating swift communication and collaboration through shared data access. They serve as an excellent means for individuals working toward a common goal to collaborate effectively. However, accessing these shared folders can sometimes be a bit perplexing. In this article, we will explore the correct methods for opening a shared folder in Outlook, enabling you to kickstart your collaborative efforts with your team seamlessly.

Note: To open another person’s shared folder, make sure that the person has permitted you to access it.

Creating a Shared Folder

To create a shared folder in MS Outlook, you can follow the below steps:

  1. Open MS Outlook and select the folder that you want to share.
  2. After selecting the folder, right-click on it and select Properties.
  3. Once the Properties window appears on the screen, select the Permissions tab.
  4. On the Permission tab, click on Add.
  5. The list of email addresses on the server will appear on display, select the email addresses with whom you want to share a folder.

When sharing folders with other members, they gain the ability to open and view the content within those folders. However, it's important to note that they are not granted permission to send emails on your behalf. When configuring permissions for shared folders, you have the flexibility to specify the level of access you wish to grant to specific users.

Permissions available for Shared Folders in MS Outlook

All users added to the shared folder will have varying degrees of access based on the permissions you assign. Depending on the permissions you grant, they can read, create, edit, respond to, initiate meetings, or delete items within the shared folder. You can configure the following permissions for users who will be granted access to the shared folders:

  • Owner – Owners have complete access to the mailbox, allowing them to create, read, delete, and modify all items within it. Additionally, Owners have the authority to grant permissions to other users.
  • Editor – Users with Editor permissions have the ability to create, read, edit, and delete all items within the folder.
  • Publishing Editor – Users with Publishing Editor permissions possess all the same capabilities as Editors but additionally have the privilege to create subfolders within the folder.
  • Author – Authors are enabled to create and read items and edit & delete items that you have created.
  • Publishing Author – They are granted all the same permissions as an Author but also allowed to create subfolders.
  • Reviewer – They are only allowed to read items.
  • Contributor – They are permitted to create items.
  • Custom- The Owner has all the rights to decide the actions which these users can perform.
  • None – Users under this permission category cannot perform any activity or even open a folder.
Opening a Shared Folder

After being granted permission to access a shared folder, it's advisable to restart MS Outlook. This will typically result in the shared folder automatically appearing in your folder pane. However, if you encounter any issues accessing the shared folder, you can follow the steps below to gain access:

  1. Close and restart MS Outlook.
  2. Now, go to the File tab and click the Account Settings section. Account Settings
  3. From the menu, select Account Settings, and then select the Email tab. select the Email tab
  4. Ensure that the right account is highlighted that is added to the shared folder.
  5. Now, click Change, and then click More Settings in the right corner. click More Settings
  6. Go to the Advanced tab and click Add. Go to the Advanced tab
  7. Type the email address with the permission and click OK to go to the previous window.
  8. On the Change Account Wizard, select Next and then click Finish. Now, close and restart MS Outlook.
  9. The shared folder will display in your mailbox list on the left-hand side along with other folders.

And that’s how you can easily open a shared folder with MS Outlook.


Outlook has streamlined work processes by offering a range of valuable features, and Shared folders stand out as a particularly useful tool. These folders enable users collaborating on the same project to efficiently edit, create, send, respond to, and read items, promoting swift and effective communication without unnecessary delays. As discussed extensively above, opening shared folders is a straightforward process. However, it's crucial to note that the permissions assigned to these folders determine the actions that users are authorized to perform.