Unlike Private folders (mailboxes), Public folders are Outlook folders that are used to share information with others. For instance, you might use a public folder for a departmental calendar, a message board, or a variety of other collaborative applications.

These folders can be used to share information with the entire campus or within your department or college. Public folders have access permissions to determine who can view, create, and modify items in the folders.

Accessing a Public Folder

  1. First you must display your Folder List by clicking on the folder icon on your Navigation Pane. Note: the Mail view of the Navigation Pane does not display Office 365 public folders.
  2. Click on the + next to Public Folders to display the subfolders
  3. Click on the + next to All Public Folders to display the subfolders. 
  4. Click on the + next to Iowa Public Folder to display the subfolders.
  5. You should see a list of Public Folders that you have access to.  Click on the folder to access it. If there is a folder and no + or - next to it, it does not contain subfolders. It may however, contain files or messages.

Note: You can add a public folder calendar to your own calendar list.  To do this, right-click on the calendar and choose ‘Add to Favorites’

Accessing a public folder via your Outlook Calendar

First, locate the calendar in a Public Folder, right-click on it and select Add to Favorites and then click the Add button to add it to your Public Folders Favorites. Open the Public Folder Favorites folder.   Click the calendar to display it. Then click on the Calendar tab in the navigation pane and then check the box next to calendar name in Public Folders under "Other Calendars" to view the calendar.

Creating a Public Folder

Requests for authorization to add a Public Folder need to go through your IT Support Staff. The liaison would then fill out and submit a public folder request form .

The server administrators have created top level folders for each Organizational Unit. Once the administrator has created your Departmental sub-folder you will be given the permissions to create sub-folders for your department, you can do so directly through Outlook.

  1. Under your Departmental Public Folder, right-click to create a new public folder.
  2. Choose New Folder.
  3. In the Name: field, type a name for your new public folder
  4. In the Folder contains: field, click on the drop down menu and select the type of folder you want to create. The following options are available: mail and post items, calendar items, contact items, journal items, note items, task items
  5. Click OK

Note: If you created the folder, you will be able to configure all permissions associated with it (e.g. choose who in your organization has access to that public folder and what their level of access should be).

Granting Access and Setting Permissions to a Public Folder

  1. Right-click on the Public Folder you created above.
  2. Choose Properties
  3. Click on the Permissions tab in the Properties dialog box. (Note: if you didn't create the public folder you won't see a Permissions tab. Instead you will see a Summary tab that lists the various permissions for the folder. You cannot edit permissions on the Summary tab.
  4. Click the Add button to display the Add User dialog box.
  5. Select the user or users from the GAL (Global Address List) you want to add to your public folder's permissions and click the Add button. Note: This may be a Universal Security Group or individual(s). If you don't see your Universal Security Group in the GAL, you should contact its-email@uiowa.edu so that we can "mail-enable" the group.
  6. Click the OK button to return to the Permissions tab where you can configure each user's permissions.
  7. Click on the user you want to set permissions for and then click on the drop down menu by the 'Permission Level:'
  8. Select the Permisson level (see options below):
    Permission Level/Permisions:
    • Owner - Can create, read, edit, and delete any item in the folder. An owner can also create sub-folders and modify permissions for all other users of the folder.
    • Publishing Editor - Can create, read, edit, and delete any item in the folder as well as create sub-folders. A publishing editor cannot modify permissions.
    • Editor - Can create, read, edit and delete all items in the folder but cannot create subfolders.
    • Publishing Author - Can create and read all items, as well as edit and delete their own items. A publishing author can also create subfolders.
    • Author - Can create, read, edit, and delete their own items, but cannot modify or delete others' items.
    • Nonediting Author - Can create and read items, but cannot edit any items. A nonediting author can delete only his own items.
    • Reviewer - Can read items, but not create or edit items.
    • Contributor - Can create items only.
    • None - Cannot view the folder.
  9. When you are finished setting permission levels for all users of your public folder, click OK to save your changes and exit the Properties dialog box.

NOTE: On the Default permission make sure you leave this Permission Level = None and that the Folder visible check box is not selected.


NOTE:  Public Folders cannot be access through OWA or using Outlook for Mac.   

Article number: 
Last updated: 
October 12, 2016