Access Public Folders in Outlook Outlook Desktop Application

These instructions apply to Desktop Applications for Outlook 2013 and newer. If you are looking for instructions on using public folders with an older application it is strongly encouraged you upgrade Office to 2016 or Office 365 ProPlus. Older versions of Office will not receive security updates from Microsoft and are vulnerable to malware and viruses.

Accessing a Public Folder in Outlook Desktop Application

To navigate to a Public Folder in Outlook 2013:

  • Go to the “Folders” section of Outlook by clicking the ellipsis at the bottom of the window and choosing “Folders.”
  • Expand the “Public Folders – YourEmailAddress” folder in the left hand column.  
  • Either expand the "Favorites" folder if you have previously Favorited the folder or navigate through the hierarchy to your public folder.
  • Clicking on your Public Folder will allow you to access the contents.

If you are unable to access or find the Public Folder, you may not have permissions to access it.  Ask an Owner of the Public Folder to add permissions for your account.

 Accessing public folders on a MAC

1) On the Tools menu, click Public Folders.

2) In the left panel, under Public Folders, click the Exchange account that you want.

3)A list of public folders appears. Mail folders are represented by the Public address book icon. Folders to which you are already subscribed are displayed in bold.

4)Click the folder that you want to subscribe to, and then click the Subscribe Add button.

5)The subscribed folder appears in the navigation panel under Subscribed Public Folders.

6)To view the contents of the folder, click the folder in the navigation pane. Messages or contacts in the folder appear in the item list. Or, if the folder is a calendar folder, events appear on the calendar.

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Quickly Access a Public Folder in Outlook Desktop Application

Once you have accessed a Public Folder, there are two ways to quickly access it in the future.


Adding a Favorite under Public Folders - YourEmailAddress

Right click on the public folder and choose "Add to Favorites" to add the Public Folder to the "Favorites" sub-folder of "Public Folders - YourEmailAddress."


Adding a Favorite in the Mail section of Outlook 2013

To make Public Folders even easier to access, you can add a Public Folder under "Favorites" in the Mail section of Outlook 2013.  However, you must first add it as Favorite under Public Folders using the steps above.  Once you have done so, you can follow the steps below to make it even quicker to access.

  • Navigate to the "Favorites" folder under "Public Folders - YourEmailAddress."
  • Right click the Public Folder and select "Show in Favorites."
  • Click Mail on the bottom of the Outlook 2013 window.
  • In the top left of the Mail section, your Public Folder now appears under "Favorites."
  • Incoming mail will increment the unread mail indicator for the Public Folder.
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  • Department: Desktop Support
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