Troubleshoot and Control Outlook Notifications for Shared Objects

If there’s one thing Outlook really likes to do, it is to make sure that you are notified. Sometimes it can be a little overbearing, especially if you are a member of very many shared mailboxes, a room delegate, or have full access to another individual’s mailbox. You will get all of those notifications too.

Often the solution is to reduce the number of Exchange objects that a person has access to, but how do you find out what those are? The easiest way is to use PowerShell. The little script below will prompt you for your Global or Exchange administrator credentials for Microsoft 365. Then it will prompt you for the email address of the user account you are working with. It will use those pieces of information to connect to Exchange online and generate a list of all the objects that person has full access to. Note: this does not include share permissions assigned by a user in Outlook.

$UserCredential = Get-Credential
$ExchangeOnline = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
        Import-PSSession $ExchangeOnline
$useraddress = Read-Host "Enter the User's Email address"
Get-Mailbox -ResultSize:Unlimited | Get-MailboxPermission |Select-Object Identity,User,AccessRights | Where-Object {​​​​​​​($_.user -like $useraddress)}​​​​​​​
pause

Once you have the list of Exchange objects you’ll want to investigate each and decide if the user really needs the level of access they have. Full access or delegation results in notifications. If the number of objects can not be reduced to a satisfactory level, there is another strategy available in Outlook itself. You will need to disable the general alerts function and then create alert rules for the specific objects that matter.

In Outlook, go to File -> Options -> Mail and then uncheck the box for “Display a Desktop Alert”. This will do what you think, disable all Outlook notification pop-ups.

Now we’ll need to build rules for the alerts that we still want to see. Use the chevron at the far right of the Outlook ribbon to expand it. Then click the drop down for rules. Click “Manage Rules and Alerts”.

In the rules wizard select “Apply a Rule on Messages I receive” then click the Next button. Now select the most appropriate condition, often I use “through the specified account”, click on the word specified and pick the account you are creating a rule for. You may find another option more useful. From people or group is a good one too. You can actually select as many conditions as you like for the rule.

On the next screen scroll down and check the box for “display a desktop alert”. Then click Next, you probably don’t need any exceptions. When you click Finish your rule is done. You can use a series of rules like this to customize all the notifications that Outlook displays.

About Kevin Trent

IT professional with almost 30 years of experience in Infrastructure, Architecting, Administration, Development, and Communications.

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