SharePoint Online incoming email alternatives


Incoming email is one of the features that’s not available in SharePoint Online. Customer with on-premises SharePoint deployments have been using incoming email since a long time and hits this feature gap when migrating to SharePoint Online. A quick search online shows that there are a number of third party solutions filling this gap. In this blog I just want to put forth the out of the box options and alternatives to incoming email in SharePoint Online. Here you go:

  • Site Mailbox
    • Site mailbox is available in the ‘Add an app’ page. So, its essentially an app that uses shared exchange mailbox foundation but users can interact with it within the SharePoint UI. Note that you can create only one Site Mailbox per SharePoint site. So, this is a limitation that you have to live with if you decide to go with Site Mailbox. You can create n number of subsites and create n number of site mailboxes if needed. Site mailboxes
    • Site mailbox name is created automatically. The naming convention is like this: Replace the SiteName with the Site name in which the site mailbox is created. You can control the prefix though. The default prefix used is SMO. You can use the Set-SiteMailboxProvisioningPolicy Exchange OnlineWindows PowerShell cmdlet with the –AliasPrefix parameter to create a prefix to use with all new site mailboxes.
  • Office 365 Groups
    • O365 groups is created at the tenant level (not at the site collection or site level). So a tenant admin must create the O365 group for you. Similar to Site mailbox this is based on the shared mailbox infrastructure. The way you access these groups are either through Outlook web app, Outlook or even OneDrive site (in the left nav).
    • The email address created can be of your choice unlike Site Mailbox.
    • Every O365 group created also creates a new Site Collection associated with it. These sites are hidden and cannot be listed in the SharePoint admin center. O365 groups uses this site to provide a shared document workspace, shared calendar, shared OneNote file and of course more.
  • Some other options that I am evaluating if viable are:
Comments (2)

  1. Phillip Hemingway says:

    Is this not the place to recommend 3rd party solutions? I’m wondering what 3rd party solutions are out there for this. I have found some, but I cannot seem to figure out which ones are the most popular. This mail-enabling of document libraries is a big need for myself and many of my clients. I’m hopeful that Flow will eventually provide this capability but I tested connecting a shared mailbox from which to direct emails to SharePoint Online, and the connection to the shared mailbox fails with an error message. Flow currently allows for directing emails from an Office 365 user account into SharePoint Online, but not from a shared mailbox.

    1. Sorry for the late reply. Honestly I have not used any of the 3rd party solutions, so I can’t recommend one. I agree that this is a major feature gap and I too hope either Flow or SPO enables this feature sooner or later.

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