SharePoint 2013 + Exchange 2013 = Site Mailboxes

When an organization deploys the new Office 365 or chooses to deploy SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013 on-premises they can use a new feature called a site mailbox.

A site mailbox is a shared Exchange mailbox that is associated with, and managed by a SharePoint site. A site mailbox provides teams a more integrated way to capture not only documents but also team communications.

Creating a new site mailbox is as easy as creating a list or document library.  Within the new SharePoint 2013 Site Contents section an option exists to add a new app.

All lists, libraries and other applications are now called “apps” within SharePoint 2013.  Clicking on the add an app option will present you with the standard SharePoint list and library templates along with any other additional applications that have been installed within the SharePoint environment.  One of the new applications is called a Site Mailbox.  Choosing this item will create an Exchange 2013 mailbox and associated it directly with your SharePoint site.

Once the mailbox is fully provisioned, which may take several minutes, any contributor on the SharePoint site will have access to the new shared mailbox.  When the provisioning of the mailbox is completed, each of the contributors on the site will receive an email message with information about the new site mailbox, including its email address.

After creation a link to the site mailbox will be automatically added to the quick launch navigation bar on the SharePoint site.  Clicking on the link will launch the site mailbox using the Outlook Web Application.  Contributors of the SharePoint site will be able to read, reply to, or create new email messages directly from the site mailbox.   Email messages that are sent using the site mailbox will be kept in the site mailboxes sent items folder, however, the from address will always be the user who sent the email and not the site mailbox address.

Site contributors that are running Outlook 2013 will automatically see the new mailbox show up in their Outlook client giving them quick access to both the site mailbox and the document library on the site.  Outlook provides that one single client access into both email content and documents stored within SharePoint.

In the image above, you can see that Karen B. has a primary mailbox in Outlook 2013 and a Northwind Traders site mailbox.  From that site mailbox she can quickly have access to both the emails and documents located on that site.  If Karen B. is removed from having contributor permissions on the SharePoint site, she would also lose access to the site mailbox.   As a result, the Northwind Traders mailbox shown in her Outlook 2013 client would also automatically be removed.

When the SharePoint site is deleted a process will ensure that the site mailbox is also deleted from Exchange.  If you choose to use a site mailbox you will want to think about both the data lifecycle for the SharePoint content and Exchange mailbox content.

The tighter integration of Exchange with SharePoint is providing new and exciting collaboration capabilities across the Microsoft productivity platform.  Learn more about Site Mailboxes on TechNet.

2 thoughts on “SharePoint 2013 + Exchange 2013 = Site Mailboxes”

  1. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for posting, looks very intriguing.

    Do you know what the mobile experience for this would be? Meaning, if users used the Site Mailbox for communication, would they have access to the emails in a mobile email client, or would they have to configure a separate mailbox on their mobile device? Or is it only accessible via OWA/Outlook?

    1. I believe the only way mobile users would access the site mailbox would be via OWA. Since it is a shared mailbox we would only have access to the email address and not the password required to access the mailbox directly from a mobile email client.

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