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.

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