Create Shared Mailboxes with GUI-based Tool

Create Shared Mailboxes with GUI-based Tool

Patrick Klingele-Bechinger, Escalation Engineer, Exchange Server Support

Mark Johnson, Sr. Technical Writer, Exchange Online

In the current version of Exchange Online for Microsoft Office 365, you have to use the Windows PowerShell command line to create and configure shared mailboxes. Using PowerShell, you have to perform these steps:

  • Create a shared mailbox.
  • Configure the quotas for the new shared mailbox.
  • Assign the FullAccess permission so that security group members can open the shared mailbox.
  • Assign the SendAs permission so that security group members can send messages from the shared mailbox.

To make this task a lot easier, we created a GUI-based tool you can use to create and configure a shared mailbox, and then assign permissions to a security group so members can open the shared mailbox and send messages from it. It’s an easy, three-step process:

  1. Download the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool.
  2. Create a security group and add members.
  3. Run the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool to create and configure a shared mailbox.

For more information about using shared mailboxes, see Set Up a Shared Mailbox.

Step 1: Download the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool

Download the SharedMailboxTool.zip file posted on the Downloads forum. This .zip file contains two files:

  • SharedMailboxTool.ps1   This is PowerShell (PS1) script for the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool.
  • StartSharedMailboxTool.bat   This is a DOS batch (.bat) file that you use to launch the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool.

After you download the .zip file, extract the two files to the same folder.

Step 2: Create a security group and add members

The Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool assigns a security group the permission to access and send mail from the new shared mailbox. You can’t use the tool to assign permissions to an individual user. To create a security group and add members:

1. Start the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) and create a new distribution group:

  • Office 365 for professionals and small businesses   In the Office 365 portal, on the Admin Overview page, under Outlook, click Distribution groups. On the Distribution Groups page, click New.
  • Office 365 for enterprises   In the Office 365 portal, on the Admin Overview page, under Exchange, click Manage, and then select Manage My Organization > Users & Groups > Distribution Groups > New.

2. Specify a display name, alias, and e-mail address.

3. Select the Make this group a security group check box.

4. In the Ownership section, click Add to add an owner, if necessary.

5. In the Membership section, click Add.

6. In the Select Members page, select the users you want to add. When you are finished, click OK.

7. On the New Group page, click Save.

For more information about security groups in Exchange Online, see Create a Security-Enabled Distribution Group.

Step 3: Run the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool to create and configure a shared mailbox

Now you’re ready to create a new shared mailbox and assign permissions to allow access to it by members of the security group you created in step 2. Here’s how:

1. In the folder where you extracted the files in the SharedMailboxtool.zip file, double-click StartSharedMailboxTool.bat

Note: If the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool doesn’t start, you may need to configure the execution policy on your computer. To do this, run the following command in Windows PowerShell and then start the shared mailbox tool.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

2. In the Office 365 Administrator Credentials window, enter the user ID and password for an administrator account in your Office 365 organization, and then click OK. It might take a few minutes before the next window is displayed.

3. In the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool window, enter the following information:

  • The name for the shared mailbox. This name appears in the address book, on the To: and From: lines in e-mail, and in the Mailboxes list in the ECP.
  • The alias for the shared mailbox. The e-mail address for the new shared mailbox consists of the alias on the left side of the @ symbol and your domain name, like fourthcoffee.com, on the right side.
  • The name of the security group that will be assigned permissions to the shared mailbox. You can use the security group’s display name or alias.

4. Click Create to create the shared mailbox and assign permissions to the specified security group.

That’s it. Click Refresh on the Mailboxes page in the ECP to display the new shared mailbox. It may take up to 60 minutes before members of the security group can access the new shared mailbox.

Next steps

  • If you want to see what security groups are assigned permissions to a shared mailbox, click the Shared Mailbox Permissions tab in the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool. Enter the name or alias of a shared mailbox, and then click View Permissions. The tool displays the security groups that are assigned permissions to the shared mailbox and the specific permissions assigned to each security group.
  • To assign permissions to another security group to access a shared mailbox that you’ve created using the Office 365 Shared Mailbox Tool, you have to use PowerShell. See steps 3 and 4 in Set Up a Shared Mailbox.
  • Let users know how to open the shared mailbox using Outlook Web App. Point them to this page: Userfriendly Shared Mailboxes in OWA in Office 365.

6 out of 15 people found this post helpful.

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Comments
  • Can you use this tool to change a User mailbox to a Shared mailbox?

  • "Assign the SendAs permission so that security group members can send messages from the shared mailbox."

    How? there is nothing in the GUI to allow this, only to give full access to some users.

  • Tnx

    Perfect tool for the support team!

  • I can't seem to get this tool to run - I've set the Execution Policy to RemoteSigned as instructed, but Powershell tells me I still can't run it because the script is unsigned!

  • In response to Peter S.

    I got away with setting it to " Set-ExecutionPolicy bypass " then changing it back to " Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned" when finished.

  • We found all this to be a suggestion that 'works' with just a bit more trial-and-error learning than we hoped for.  Our objective was to create shared mailboxes that could be used for E-mail forwarding without creating paid office 365 accounts for each forwarding requirement.  Here are a couple things we learned along the way that may be helpful to you:

    For step 2.  In the phrase "Create a security group and add members" the word 'a' is significant.  A single group can be used for all the new 'shared mailboxes' and the E-Mail address you create for the group should not be one that is also to be used for receipt and forwarding in your Office 365 domain.

    Step 3.  Don't overlook the note "Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned"which is very important to allow PowerShell to work.  If you already have PowerShell installed you can implement this policy only with 'Administrator' privileges.  You can do that at [Start] --> [Programs] --> [Accessories] --> [Windows PowerShell]  and then right-clicking on the [Windows PowerShell] software and selecting [Run as administrator].

    As noted above we did all this to set up E-mail forwarding without creating paid office 365 accounts for each forwarding requirement.  That means that once the 'shared mailboxes' were all created up we still needed to set them up by going to our Administrator's Outlook 365 account and selecting [Options] and the using the [Manage Myself] drop-down to go through each of the new shared E-mail accounts one-by-one.  For each forwarding address we used the [Organize E-Mail] -->[Inbox rules] to finally set the desired E-mail forwarding address.  (It's not very intuitive, but we're hopeful it will work as intended.)

  • So this is not working for me. The Shared Mailbox Tool doesn't seem to be working. I have run the execution policy command in WPS, but when I try opening the .bat file in the SharedMailbox Tool download, it only opens up the command prompt. Some red text can be seen, but then the command prompt window closes before I can actually read what it says.

    I get no GUI.

    Anyone got any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

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