Enterprise Software

Delegate subfolder permissions in Outlook


After many years of painstaking effort, you have finally trained the CEO to use sub-folders in Outlook. E-mails are now being happily filed in those sub-folders organized in the way that makes sense to the busy executive. Unfortunately, your Exchange Server database continues to grow because the executive never deletes anything - just files it away. Now you convince the demanding CEO to delegate mailbox maintenance to the executive assistant. How do you do it?

It is a fairly simple process to delegate permissions to the six standard folders in Microsoft Outlook: Calendar, Tasks, Inbox, Contacts, Notes and Journal. From the executive's mailbox, select Options, Delegates and add the user from the Active Directory dialog box with the appropriate permissions: Reviewer, Author or Editor. The Executive Assistant can then work on the appropriate folder of the Executive's mailbox by using File, Option, Other User's folder.

However, if you have ever done this, you know that the user who has been delegated access to the Executive's inbox can only see that top level inbox through this method. What do you do when you want the assistant to be able to access and maintain the sub-folders below the inbox? The solution is almost as simple. It involves a few more steps but the results are well worth it. Just make sure the executive understands the power that this gives to the authorized delegate.

In Active Directory, under the Exchange Advanced tab of the user to whom you wish to grant access to another, click Mailbox Rights and then add the user to whom you are granting access. Ensure that the permissions are set to allow full access. Then in the Executive's Outlook email client, right-click on each sub-folder that you want to share, select Properties, then the Permissions tab. Add the user and grant owner permissions. This allows folder deletions.

On the assistant's e-mail client, open Tools, Options, Mail Setup, E-mail Accounts, View or Change, Next, Ensure the Exchange Server is selected, Change, More Settings, Advanced, Add the additional mailbox to be opened, then OK, next, finish and OK. You should then see the additional mailbox in the folders view. The assistant can then perform all kinds of maintenance on the executive's mailbox. It is especially useful for archiving and removing large attachments.

Summary:

  1. Ensure that appropriate Active Directory permissions are set
  2. Grant permissions to delegate on the primary user mailbox
  3. Change profile on delegate mailbox to open primary mailbox

This is a powerful method of allowing a trusted assistant to maintain a busy executive's mailbox sub-folders. Without it, the executive will happily let the mailbox grow to many Gigabytes and then wonder why it is so slow when accessing it from remote locations. You can read all about that on my previous post, Trouble with Cached Exchange Mode.

There may be other methods to accomplish this same thing. If so, I would love to read about them from you. You may also object to the idea of giving a delegate owner permissions on the sub-folders. This allows those folders to be deleted. That may be too much authority for your organization. Is there a better way? Add your comments and let me know.

9 comments
PhilTkgh
PhilTkgh

Does anyone know of a way to cascade permissions down the sub folder tree? Some people have dozens of subfolders going down to several levels. It can take hours to apply permissions to each sub folder individually.

clemery
clemery

I can't quite figure out how to do this: "In Active Directory, under the Exchange Advanced tab of the user to whom you wish to grant access to another, click Mailbox Rights" Where is the "Exchange Advanced tab?"

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

I am able to give an executive's assistant full access to an executive's mailbox by simply giving them Full Mailbox access from the Exchange Advanced area. Why do you need to give individual rights from Outlook? The Full Mailbox Exchange permissions takes care of this for me. However, this is very powerful and should be used with care.

tarden76
tarden76

.. you need to open Properties of the user (in this case Executive) and then you can find Exchange Adv tab and follow the guide above.

tim
tim

Could not get folder deletions to work without it. May have done this backwards - folder permissions from Outlook first, then added full Active Directory permissions. I believe you are probably right. The extra step of granting individual permissions from Outlook may not be needed. Good catch. Thanks.

clemery
clemery

But where are "Properties of the user?" Is this part being done within Outlook, or somewhere else? Sorry - I usually don't have so much trouble with this kind of stuff. Thanks!

Aakash Shah
Aakash Shah

Happy to help :) But, there is a catch. If an appointment is marked as private, then Full Mailbox access will still not grant you access to these private appointments. To grant access to even the private appointments, assign the assistant as a delegate in Outlook and through these delegate permissions specify that this assistant can also view the private items. Et voila - the assistant now has full access (assuming the executive wants the assistant to have this kind of access - it really depends on the executive).

clemery
clemery

I appreciate the help.

tim
tim

The action in the first part of this paragraph takes place in Active Directory Users and Computers. It is usually found on a domain controller or on the Exchange Server. If you are not running Active Directory in your environment then you will not have this tool. Here is a link to a picture of what the tool looks like: http://www.3tcm.net/ExchangeAdvanced.jpg Note the Mailbox Rights button in the middle of the screen. Click on that then add or select the user to whom you want to give the additional permissions. Grant full mailbox access and click OK. By the way, if you are not running Exchange Server in your domain, this is all moot. In that case you won't have an Exchanged Advanced tab or even an Exchange General tab for that matter.

Editor's Picks