I recently posted my Top 7 E-mail Tips and Tricks from my Time at Microsoft on LinkedIn. I’d like to share some of those tricks here as well. Here is the first of several!
Many companies have a vacation calendar that can be accessed through Outlook. The problem with vacation calendars though, is that people have to go look at them for them to be useful. Here’s how you can put your vacation on the calendar and notify those you work with in a meaningful but non-intrusive way:
a. Highlight the vacation time on your calendar, right-click on it and choose New Meeting Request:
b. Add your co-workers and vacation calendar to the recipient list and type in a subject that includes what it is (vacation) and your name. In the location box indicate that you’ll be OOO (out of office):
c. Change the Free/Busy status to Free. This will ensure that when your coworkers accept the invitation it doesn’t block off THEIR calendars. They’ll see that you are out of the office but it won’t affect their ability to schedule items during that time.
d. Click the Response Options button and uncheck Request Responses. This way the recipients of your invitation don’t need to click to accept the invite and you don’t receive back a response from them.
e. Click in the Reminder box and change the default (generally 15 minutes) to “None.”
f. Click the Send button to send the invite. It should look like this on your calendar and theirs:
You just notified your coworkers and the vacation calendar that you would be on vacation and out of the office with minimal interruption to them and without affecting their own calendar availability.
You should note that this just notifies others about you being out of the office. If you want the your Outlook calendar to actually reserve the time as unavailable you will need to create a second, personal-only, calendar entry. Your calendar would look something like this if you do:
The updated 2013 platform version of Office 365 offers many new features, but SharePoint is perhaps the biggest update. My last article (Upgrading Office 365 SharePoint Online Sites to Wave 15) had a good list if you’re interested.
One of the more interesting and underutilized new features is the Site Mailbox. You won’t see Site Mailboxes by default on new SharePoint sites you set up though. You’ll need to add them yourself. Let’s start with the basics…
What is a Site Mailbox?
The architecture for Exchange 2013 changed somewhat and now includes the ability to support many more types of mailboxes: user mailboxes, shared mailboxes, room calendars (mailboxes), and resource mailboxes (for equipment reservations). Each has different functions and access methods and most have different storage limits. The Site Mailbox is an extension of the Shared Mailbox.
You can also access the Site Mailbox from within Outlook. From Outlook you – and anyone who has access to the site mailbox in SharePoint – can drag and drop messages to and from and within the Shared Mailbox just as if it was your own.
Once your Site Mailbox is set up it will automatically appear in your Outlook 2013 client if you have owner or member access to the site in SharePoint where it was configured. Your Outlook folder bar should end up looking something like the picture to the right. Note the “Team Site” item about half way down and the Inbox within it. The other items from that same SharePoint site are also now listed.
You can do many interesting things with Site Mailboxes from sharing e-mail and files within teams to using them as a migration bridge for the old Exchange Public Folders. When combined with the other new Exchange mailbox types they give another powerful way to store and share e-mail. It should be noted that the 5 GB of e-mail storage in each Site Mailbox does not count against any other storage quota, either for SharePoint or Exchange… not personal or pooled quotas. You have plenty of e-mail storage options in Office 365 (E3 values listed here, see the link at the bottom of the article for more):
- 25 GB per User Mailbox
- 5 GB per Shared Mailbox
- 5 GB per Site Mailbox
- 250 GB per Resource Mailbox (for room and equipment reservations).
How to Add a Site Mailbox
Manually Add a Site Mailbox:
3. On the Your Apps page, click Site Mailbox.
What to Do with a Site Mailbox
Use Site Mailboxes to…
- Replace Public Folders being used for e-mail storage
- Share e-mails within a team instead of creating a shared mailbox
- Share e-mails within a team instead of sharing your own mailbox folders
- cc: the Site Mailbox on e-mails you wish to share with a team instead of cc’ing the team members and gumming up their inboxes
- cc: the Site Mailbox when sending e-mails with file attachments to share files (I’d rather post them to a SharePoint Document library though…)
- Archive e-mails centrally so that intellectual property and organizational knowledge are preserved (and shared) despite personnel changes and mailbox deletions
- Access SharePoint data through the convenient and familiar Outlook desktop client interface
- Manage the Site Mailbox the way you would a regular mailbox with policies, forwarding, distribution group memberships and more.
What Site Mailboxes Can’t Do
There are some limitations to Site Mailboxes as well:
- They have a 5 GB storage limit
- You can only have one per SharePoint site – create a SharePoint team site for each group that needs a Site Mailbox
- You cannot interact with the mailbox contents within the SharePoint interface as objects the way you can with list items and document library objects
- For full functionality you need Outlook 2013
- You can only add 10 Site Mailboxes to Outlook at a time
- There’s only two levels of access: all or none.
More Information about Site Mailboxes
- Overview: Use a site mailbox to collaborate with your team
- Add a site mailbox to keep email in context
- Prepare for using site mailboxes in Office 365
- Blog by Cameron Dwyer – SharePoint Site Mailbox integration with Outlook – A new way to get email into SharePoint
- Office 365 Storage and Recipient Limits