Don’t share private items

As a company policy, we need to delegate our Inbox to several colleagues as well so that in case of a holiday, illness or other kind of absense, they can still check if important mails are coming in.

I sometimes also receive messages at work from family and friends (which is allowed as long as long as we don't spent hours on our reply).

How can I configure Outlook that my colleaguess do not have access to these items?

By default, Outlook will not expose private messages to delegates or other people that you share a folder with. The trick is to make Outlook understand which messages should be considered private.

Sender in control

The easiest would be if the sender sets the sensitivity level of the message to Private before sending. If the sender is also using Outlook, he/she can do that by pressing the Options… button while composing a message (Outlook 2003 and previous) or by pressing the expansion icon in the More Options group on the Options tab in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.

Receiver in control

Unfortunately there is no way to change the sensitivity level of message automatically upon receiving a message. You can however create a message rule that automatically moves all the emails received from the email addresses of your friends and family to a separate folder and make sure you don’t set permissions on it for your colleagues.

To create a rule use;

  • Outlook 2007 and previous
    Tools-> Rules and Alerts
  • Outlook 2010
    File-> button: Manage Rules & Alerts

The message rule would read similar to this;

  • Apply this rule after the message arrives
  • from people or distribution list
  • move it to the specified folder
  • and stop processing more rules

Note: For more about sharing folders, see Setting Permissions on a Mailbox.