What is a "shared mailbox?"
A shared mailbox is a mailbox not assigned to any one individual; one that multiple people have access to. The most common use for a shared mailbox is when a unit or department needs to communicate as a separate entity, and wants to have multiple people in the office able to check and send email from the account at any time. A shared mailbox will also have a calendar associated with it that may be used by multiple individuals.
Accessing the mailbox as a delegate
The easiest and most common way to use a shared mailbox is to open it up from within your own email account. If you are given access to a shared mailbox, clicking your email address as it displays in the upper right corner will present you with a drop down menu listing the accounts you have permissions to access. Clicking that account will open it up in a separate tab or browser window.
Doing this is referred to accessing the shared mailbox as a delegate. As a delegate, you can send and receive email from the shared account, and not much else.
Logging in to the account directly
There may be times when you need to log directly into the account, not just as a delegate. You need to do this in order to change who has delegate permissions, for example. You may also want to do this to gain the more advanced Gmail functionality such as Labs.
The shared mailbox actually has a password, just like your own. However, unlike your own, you need to go to a different web address in order to log in. That address is
https://www.google.com/a/umich.edu/. (NOTE: As of June 2013, the usual web address has been disabled. Please use this web address in the meantime: https://www.google.com/a/umich.edu/ServiceLogin?service=CPanel&passive=1209600&continue=https://mail.google.com.)
If you don't have the password to the shared mailbox and believe you need to log in using this method, please contact the director or unit lead for the mailbox. You must completely sign out of any other Gmail accounts before doing this.
We recommend using another web browser than the one you usually use, just to make sure you are not logged in to your own mailbox. If you're not completely logged out from your own Gmail account, you can easily get confused between the two accounts when making the changes detailed further down this page, and it may even appear impossible to log in to the shared mailbox at all.
Upon visiting the log in page, you'll simply type the name and password of the shared mailbox, as seen below.
Once you're logged in, click "Gmail" to open the mailbox.
How to add or remove delegate access
Once you're logged in to the shared mailbox directly, you have the ability to change the permissions to who has access to the account as a delegate. To begin, click the "Gear" icon, and then go into Settings.
Next, click the Accounts tab, and modify the permissions as needed. You can grant or remove access to anyone with an @umich.edu email address. Doing so will affect their ability to open the mailbox as a delegate while logged in to their own account, as described above. The person will receive a message indicating they have been added, but will not be told when they are removed.
Other reasons you may want to log in directly
Other than managing permissions or using Labs, other reasons you may want to log into the shared mailbox directly include (but aren't limited to):
- Sending mail directly from the account (sending as a delegate means the recipient will receive the mail "from YourSharedMailbox@umich.edu (sent by YourUniqname@umich.edu)," which may not be desired)
- Adding the account to a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet
- Using the account in Microsoft Outlook, such as for mail merges (see here for more information)