Public Folders in Office 365

If you are currently on Exchange Server, you most likely are using Public Folders in some sort or shape. Maybe you are considering Exhange Online in Office 365, and heard somewhere that Exchange Online does not support public folders?

Well, thats true.

The good thing is, many of the usage scenarios usually found in public folder solutions can be imitated in Office 365. The trick is analyzing how you are using public folders today and then imitate that in Office 365. Some of the common public folder scenarios are:

  • Basic Sharing of Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks
  • Archiving Email Messages or Discussion Lists
  • Document Sharing
  • Manual Workflow
  • Automated Workflow and Custom Applications
  • Free/Busy Lookups, Offline Address Book (OAB)¬†Distribution, and Outlook Security Settings
  • Email Delegates, Send As, and Shared Mailbox Scenarios

Based on the analysis you will imitate your public folder workloads using primarily Shared Mailboxes in Exchange Online and/or Document Libraries or custom lists in SharePoint Online.

E.g the calendar part in the first bullet above can be accomplished in two ways:

  1. In SharePoint Online, create a Calendar and connect it to your Outlook using the Connect to Outlook command in Outlook

    (click pictures for larger images)


  2. In Exchange Online, create a Shared Mailbox, and assign permissions to the shared mailbox. The shared mailbox including the calendar can then be connected to your Outlook mailbox (see how here)

    (click picture for larger image)

You can read much more about building an environment that mirrors your use of public folders in Exhange in the whitepaper "Migrate from Exchange Public Folders to Microsoft Office 365" - link

See also

  • "Userfriendly Shared Mailboxes in OWA in Office 365" - link