Viewing Exchange 2013 Public Folders In OWA

The Exchange team have been working very hard to develop the feature set of modern public folders.  Exchange 2013 CU8 added multiple scale increases.  In addition, CU8 also added a feature to allow viewing modern public folders in Exchange 2013 OWA.  Calendar and Contact Modern Public Folders favourites added in Outlook are now accessible in OWA

Let’s take a peek at how to add them to OWA as there are a couple of steps that must be completed. 


Environment Background

This lab is a brand new Exchange 2013 organisation.  It was deployed with Exchange 2013 CU8.  Two multirole servers are present.  Modern public folders were deployed as discussed in Set up public folders in a new organization on TechNet.   The default Outlook 2013 view does not show public folders.  Note in the below image that the focus is on the Mail section along the bottom, and no public folders are visible in the navigation tree. 

Initial Outlook 2013 View - No Public Folders Are Visible

We need to click the … section, and chose to view folders.  Ctrl + 6 is the handy keyboard shortcut to do the same!

Switching to Outlook Folders View

Yay! Public folders are now visible in the tree. 

Voila - Public Folders Now Visible In Outlook

For reference multiple types of public folders can be created.  This can be summarised as:

  1. mail and post items
  2. contacts
  3. InfoPath forms
  4. Journal
  5. Notes
  6. tasks
  7. calendar items

One of each was added, and we can now see the newly added public folders in Outlook. 

Public Folders Visible In Outlook

All good you say, but how to make them visible in OWA? 


Favourite Things…

For each public folder that we want to view in OWA, we need to first mark it as a favourite using Outlook and then visit the folder at least once.  When right clicking upon the public folder, the Add To Favorites shortcut is available as highlighted below.

Adding Public Folder As A Favourite In Outlook

By default the favourite will be called the same name as the folder, though you can rename if you want to.  The public folder favourite on the right is helpfully called zorg. 

Adding Public Folder As A Favourite In Outlook - Default Favourite NameAdding Public Folder As A Favourite In Outlook - Custom Favourite Name

The options button allows some additional capabilities:

Adding Public Folder As A Favourite In Outlook - Options

All of the above public folders that were created were added as a favourite in Outlook, as shown below

Public Folder Shortcuts Visible In Outlook

That means all of these folders will appear in OWA? 


Viewing Calendar And Contact Public Folder Favourites In OWA

Putting it simply, no.  That is not the case.  Not all of those public folder types are supported in OWA.  If you read the opening paragraph again, you will note that it specifically talked about contacts and calendar public folders. 

Calendar public folder favourite:

Calendar Public Folder Favourite Visible In OWA

Contact public folder favourite:

Contact Public Folder Favourite Visible In OWA

And note that looking in the favourites pane in the initial OWA windows is not the place to be for this feature.  This is the equivalent of:

<Indiana Jones>

They’re digging in the wrong place!

</Indiana Jones> *

Other Public Folder Favourites NOT Visible In OWA



As a recap, to make the calendar and contact public folders appear in OWA 2013 you will need to:

1. Using Outlook, add the public folder contact/calendar folders to your favourite folders list
2. Visit each folder in Outlook once.
3. Allow Outlook to synchronize the favourite folder list back to Exchange.
4. Log into OWA
5. Go to the Calendar tab and look for the folder to now be in the calendar list on left
6. Go to the People tab and look for the folder to now be in the contact sources list on the left

Thanks Brian for the summary!

Note that Office 365 has slightly different behaviour as noted here.



* – yes Dr. Jones did not deliver that line, but it was obtuse enough without mentioning the name Sallah….

Comments (18)
  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    something off with pictures

  2. Thanks! Yes – already escalated this.

    If you re-load the page, does it randomly work for you?


  3. Seems to be ok. Depending on browser???

  4. anonymouscommenter says:

    Interesting, I always assumed that Favorites folder was a client side feature, part of the user mail profile. Something that does not travel with you as you switch workstations and create new profiles. We always had to remind our users on workstation upgrade
    on how to add some PF folders to their Favorites folder. Now it seams that Exchange can access that information. Do we have any documentation on the subject matter? Are there any powershell commands? We are only using PF to manage calendars. After upgrading
    to CU8 OWA gave us access to PF calendars, but for many users the calendars have been duplicated. As if OWA brought some old Favorites back from some previous user profiles. In those cases an error pops on the screen: "Couldn’t open calendar. A connection
    couldn’t be made with the shared calendar. Remove the calendar and try to add it again, or ask the owner to share it again." Users can’t delete the stale link – right-clicking the calendar gives only one option "Color". So how does one delete a PF calendar
    from OWA?

  5. Great post. Thank you.

  6. Hi Alex,

    I don’t believe that there is anything documented specifically on this.

    if you look at the mailbox with MFCMapi – what do you see in there?


  7. Couple of additional things:

    Images should be fixed now, the blog team have been working hard to remediate this.

    @Tedora thanks for the comment, I notice that you are adding a *LOT* right now. That will be noted as spam by the points team as there have been multiple people doing that to get points without much effort. Just an FYI


  8. anonymouscommenter says:

    Hi Roderick,
    Thank you for replying. I started by cleaning up the favorites for mailbox in question using Outlook – there are no PFs in Favorites under Folder view – yet there is a calender shown under "other calendars" in Calendar view in Outlook. I am observing a strange
    behavior: each time I click a check box it adds another instance of that calendar to the side by side view. I can crash Outlook if I click it enough times. Checked the mailbox with MFCMapi under Mailbox-RootShortcuts: no items there. PF_FOLDER_CHILD_COUNT
    is 0. Not sure if this affects anything, but this public folder was "named" when it was added to favorites to shorten the name. This has been done a while back, most likely on a prior user profile. Also in the case of this mailbox removing the favorites kept
    calendars in OWA. Where else can I look?

  9. anonymouscommenter says:

    we have a problem with contacts public folders: not all of the contacts are showen in owa – but you can do a search and find the contacts. everything Looks fine in Outlook.
    is there a limit how many contacts are showen in owa?

  10. anonymouscommenter says:

    For some reason after going through these steps, the calendars still fail to appear in OWA. Anything else that I could be missing?

  11. anonymouscommenter says:

    Does this have to be done by EACH user, in order for that user to see/use a PF calendar? I set up a PF for contacts and a calendar and can see them in my OWA, but they aren’t visible in any other account. We’re still testing this in hopes of moving to
    it in the next year, but most of our users don’t currently use desktop Outlook and would likely prefer not to. Public folders may not be usable to us if that’s the case.

  12. Hi Alex – did you get any further on looking into that please?

    Heidi – How many contacts are we looking at here?

    Scott – Was time allowed for Outlook to replicate back to Exchange?

    Judy – yes this is what is required.


  13. anonymouscommenter says:

    Yeah, that is what I was thinking at first but now it has been over a week and nothing shows up still.

  14. anonymouscommenter says:

    Same problem as Scott. I have followed the above steps and still "Other Calendars" does not show the public folder calendar. I waited overnight. Is there anything I’m missing configuring on the server side?

  15. anonymouscommenter says:

    So, the following article has a different approach and a different area in Outlook to add the Public Folder in Outlook, but doesn’t seem to allow me to add it that was:

  16. anonymouscommenter says:

    Nevermind, process looks the same but still no luck. The only other thing I can think is that mine were migrated from 2007 to 2013. Maybe some issue there.

  17. anonymouscommenter says:

    This is link throw down for items that we discussed in a Exchange 2013 workshop which I delivered in

  18. Vernon Kampe says:

    Ok, we followed the above instructions and things worked for a while, but now some of my people can’t access their calendars while logged into OWA. It tells them, “connection can’t be made with shared calendar. Remove the calendar and try to add it again, or ask the owner to share it again”. I’ve removed the calendars now several times and still no luck. It started with 1 person and now 2 more can’t access them (they all once had access to these calendars and now none can). They all work in the same area and use those calendars all the time, so this issue is getting more important to them every day. It’s just when they try to access the calendars via OWA.

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