Knowledge Base

How to create public folders in Microsoft Exchange and Office 365


You need to manually enable public folders in Exchange Server 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 or Exchange Online (Office 365).


To enable public folders, you have to create an empty public folder tree. If you are using CodeTwo Exchange Migration or CodeTwo Office 365 Migration, the exact tree structure and content of the public folders from your old Exchange server will be automatically recreated in this new tree.

Exchange Server 2013, 2016, 2019, and Exchange Online (Office 365)

Follow the steps below to enable public folders in Exchange Server 2013-2019 or Exchange Online (Office 365). By following these guidelines, you will create an empty public folder tree. Note that the screenshots in this article are from Exchange Server 2013, but the settings described here look almost the same in Exchange Online (Office 365) and Exchange Server 2016.

  1. Log in to your Exchange:
    • Exchange Server 2013, 2016, 2019 - log in to the Exchange Control Panel (ECP) using your domain admin account. If you are accessing Exchange Server directly, the address is https://localhost/ecp
    • Exchange Online (Office 365) - log in to the Microsoft 365 admin center (Office 365 admin center) using your Office 365 global administrator account, and open Exchange admin center (use the menu to navigate to Admin centers > Exchange).
  2. Go to the public folders section (Fig. 1.).

    Fig. 1.Finding the public folders section in ECP.

  3. Go to the public folder mailboxes tab.
  4. Click on the plus (+) icon to create a new mailbox (Fig. 2.).

    Fig. 2. Creating a mailbox for public folders.

  5. Configure the mailbox according to your preferences (Fig. 3.), save the configuration, and close the window.

    Fig. 3. Configuring a public folder mailbox.

  6. Go back to the public folders tab in Exchange Control Panel / Exchange admin center.
  7. Click on the ellipsis (...) button.
  8. Click on the plus (+) icon next to Root Permissions (Fig. 4.).

    Fig. 4. Finding the permissions section for public folders.

  9. Browse for your Administrator account.

    Fig. 5. Browsing for the Administrator account.

  10. Make sure the Administrator has Permission level: Owner and every possible privilege granted (all checkboxes need to be selected), as shown in Fig. 6. Save the changes.

    Fig. 6. Setting up permissions.

  11. If the Apply changes to this public folder and all its subfolders checkbox is available, select it (Fig. 7.) and click Save. Once the changes are applied, close the window.

Fig. 7. Finishing and saving the configuration.

For more information on how to manage your public folders, see this Microsoft article.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2010

Follow the steps below to enable public folders in Exchange Server 2010. As a result, an empty public folder tree will be created.

  1. Run the Exchange Management Console (EMC).
  2. In the console tree, click the Organization Configuration branch and choose Mailbox.
  3. Open the Database Management tab. Right-click on the database list and select New Public Folder Database (Fig. 8.).

    Fig. 8. Creating a new public folder database via Exchange Management Console.

  4. The New Public Folder Database wizard appears. Specify the name of the public folder database and mailbox server (Fig. 9.), and click Next.

    Fig. 9. New Public Folder Database wizard.

  5. Skip the next steps by clicking the Next button.
  6. When you reach the wizard completion screen (Fig. 10.), click the Finish button. Your public folder tree has been created.

    Fig. 10.
    The final step of creating a Public Folder Database.

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