Cry Exchange How To...

How to view another's inbox

By Permission

As a general rule, you should only attempt to view another person's inbox by asking them to grant you read permission. This process does not require any special administrative rights.

With the colleague's account to be viewed:

  1. Start Outlook
  2. Ensure that the folder list is visible (View → Folder List, Folder List should be shown depressed)
  3. Right click "Inbox" and select "Properties".
  4. Select the "Permissions" tab
  5. Add the account to be granted the ability to view, and ensure that "Read" and "Folder Visible" are checked for that account.
  6. Click OK.


  • Granting permission to view a folder does not grant permission to view any folders in that folder. These have to be done individually.
  • If you create a new folder then permissions will be inherited from the folder it is created in.

With your account:

  1. Start Outlook
  2. File → Open → Other User's Folder
  3. Enter the name of the colleague's inbox to view (this should be the name of the colleague who has just granted you read permission)


  • Be aware that it is logged at the server each time you view someone's inbox other than your own.

Using Administrative Rights

A system administrator can grant access to someone's mailbox. This should only ever be done in extreme situations where the sharing-by-permission route is unavailable. There are legal and moral implications of this, so only do it if you have the mailbox owner's permission or after seeking advice from your legal or HR department.

  1. Log onto the server running Exchange.
  2. Run Active Directory Users and Computers.
  3. Find the user's account and open up the account properties.
  4. Select the "Exchange Advanced" tab. (This tab is only visible if you are connected on the server running exchange.)
  5. Click "Mailbox Rights..."
  6. Add the username of the individual to whom you are granting access, and grant them "Read" and "Full mailbox access".

It should then be possible to open the users mailbox. If you have previously attempted to open the user's inbox in Outlook (and failed) then it may be necessary to restart Outlook.

Be sure to remove this privilege once it is no longer required.

These notes have been tested with Outlook 2000, 2003 and 2007 with Exchange Server 2003.

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