How to View Shared Subfolders in an Exchange Mailbox

Last reviewed on June 20, 2013

It’s easy to share the default folders in your Microsoft Exchange mailbox: just give your co-worker permission to the folder. They can view the contents using the File, Open, Other users folder command. Sharing subfolders requires a bit more effort as the subfolders are not accessible from the Open Other Users Folder dialog.

Administrators can use the tools listed below to change the permissions on many mailboxes or folders at once.

For more information about Exchange server permissions, see Managing Exchange Server Permissions

In order to share Outlook subfolders with another user, you need to give them the desired permission (at least Reviewer) to the folder and at least Folder visible permission to every folder above the shared subfolder.

Right click on the shared folder and choose Properties. Go to the permission tab and assign permission to the person you want to share with.

Every folder in the path above this folder needs to have at least Folder visible permission, up through the top level, where Outlook Today is.

Sharing the folder

Before a person can view one of your folders, they need permission. If they are a Delegate to your mailbox (Tools, Options, Delegates) they may have permission to some or all of your mailbox folders. If so, the delegate just needs to open your mailbox as a secondary mailbox in their profile.

  1. Right click on the folder you wish to share.
  2. Choose Properties, select the Permissions tab.
  3. If Default has Reviewer permission you won’t need to add individual names to the list unless they need more permissions than the Default account has.
  4. Click Add and select the names you want to share with from the Global Address List.
  5. Give them at least Reviewer permission so they have Folder visible permission.
  6. Click OK to close the dialog.

Repeat for each folder you wish to share.

If the person already has delegate access you won’t need to do anything more. If they do not have any access to your mailbox, you need to give them Folder visible permission to the mailbox.

  1. Right click on the mailbox root. This is the folder you click on to display Outlook Today.
  2. The Default account typically has no permission to the entire mailbox. You can either give the Default account Folder visible permission or click Add and select your co-worker’s name from the GAL.
  3. Check the Folder visible box only. The permission level remains set to None.
  4. Click Ok to exit the dialog.

Opening the shared folder

Once the folder permissions are set, the person who the folders are shared with needs to add the mailbox to their profile, as a secondary mailbox.

  1. Go to Tools, Account Settings. (File, Account Settings in Outlook 2010 or 2013.)
  2. Select your Exchange account and click Change (or double click)
  3. Click More Settings
  4. On the Advanced Tab, click Add
  5. Type all or part of the name of the mailbox that was shared with you. Select the correct name if presented with a list of names.
  6. Click Ok and work your way out of the dialogs and return to Outlook.

The mailbox you added is now in your folder list and the calendars you have permission to view will be listed in the Calendar pane. Any other folders that this user was given permissions to access will be visible in the folder list or appropriate modules.

Video Tutorial: Configure Permissions to Share Subfolders

The first part of the video shows how to set the permissions on the mailbox in Outlook 2010. The method is the same in all versions, however, the Account Settings dialog is on the Tools menu in Outlook 2007 and older and the account dialogs vary.

A video tutorial recorded in Outlook 2007 on Windows XP is here: Share Exchange Mailbox subfolders in Outlook 2007

The View in Outlook

frank's mailbox

This screenshot is from the folder above the shared subfolder. It has Folder Visible
permission. This is what the folder owner sees >

With folder visible permission, the user can see the folders in the folder path but they cannot see the contents of the folders.

mary's mailbox

This is what the person with Folder Visible permission sees when they open the shared folder to their profile. As you can see, they can see the folder but not the folder contents. >



Use U-BTech's ADDelegates to manage recipient and mailbox folder permissions. Delegate control, including the "Deliver meeting requests" setting, outlook folder permissions, Free/Busy options for controlling the time, subject and location details are now at your Active Directory MMC.

Folder Permissions Manager

Symprex Folder Permissions Manager allows administrators to centrally manage all permissions on mailbox folders and public folders on Exchange 5.5, 2000 and 2003. Folder permissions can be listed and changed manually, or using templates with permissions settings created using the built-in wizard. Permissions can be applied to any number of mailboxes and folders at the click of a button.


Free tool from Microsoft for managing permissions on public and mailbox folders, including all the way down to the item level. Requires .NET Framework. For use with Exchange 2000 Server, Exchage Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2007.


Allows you to set default permissions on individual folders within mailboxes throughout your organization or on groups of mailboxes. Free.

More Information

Access Folders in Other Users Mailboxes

If a person has delegate rights they can see all folders shared via the Deletes tab (Tools, Options menu) and they will not be listed on the Permissions tab of the folder properties.

Managing Exchange Server Permissions

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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