Configuring Incoming and Outgoing Email on SharePoint 2010 – Part 1

There are certain benefits you can get from configuring your SharePoint system for incoming and outgoing emails.

For instance, with Incoming Email enabled in SharePoint, your teams members can automatically store the messages and attachments they send to other team members into lists and libraries without having to open your SharePoint site and doing a manual upload. This will help your organization move away from Public Folders.

On the other hand, with Outgoing Email enabled, users can set alerts and use them to track various items such as lists, library items, and documents and be notified whenever changes to these items occur. It will also allow email administrators to receive messages regarding important system issues. SharePoint 2010 Administration course available here.

(Instructional video below provides a walkthrough of the steps contained in this article.)

Important Reminders Before Configuring Email

Before you set out to configure your SharePoint for incoming and outgoing email, there are some things you need to know.

  • SharePoint 2010, which is the version we’ll be referring to throughout this tutorial, relies on the SMTP service in Windows 2008 or Windows 2008 R2 for incoming email. Thus, that service will have to be enabled in SharePoint before anything else.
  • SharePoint 2010 supports configurations from any SMTP service for sending outgoing email. However, for this tutorial, we’ll be using Exchange 2010 and we’ll be assuming it has already been set up as its own member server in your organization and ready for use.
  • Finally, to work with Exchange 2010, you will have to configure send and receive connectors.

Let’s start the ball rolling.

Enabling SMTP in SharePoint

Go to your SharePoint server and open the Server Manager. Next, click the Features node and then click the Add Features link.

Server Manager

This will launch the Add Features Wizard. In the Features list, scroll down until you find the item named SMTP Server. Click that.

Sharepoint add features

A dialog box will then pop-up, asking you whether you want to add role services and features required for the installation of the SMTP Server. Click the Add Required Role Services button.

add role services and features required for smtp server

In the succeeding screens, just click the Next buttons until you reach the one that says Confirm Installation Selections, at which you’re supposed to click Install.

Select Features

Web Server IIS

Select Role Services

confirm installation instructions

Barring any unforeseen hitches, you should reach the Installation Results screen with all items marked as Installation succeeded. If you did, click the Close button.

installation results

Configuring SMTP using the IIS 6.0 Manager

For you to be able to configure that SMTP service, the Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0 Management Tools (a.k.a. IIS 6.0 Manager) should be installed on your Windows 2008 R2 Server. To see if they’re already there, navigate to Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools.

IIS 6 Manager

If it hasn’t been installed yet, then just go to the Server Manager, click the Roles node, scroll down that large Roles pane on the right until you see the link called Add Role Services, and click that link.

server manager add role services

In the Add Role Services window, scroll down the list of Role services until you reach the IIS 6 Management Compatibility items. Check the relevant items as shown on the screenshot below and proceed with the installation. Notice that the items are grayed. That’s because, in our system, the IIS 6.0 Management tools have already been installed. We just wanted to show you where to go should you discover that those tools haven’t been installed yet.

select role services

With the IIS 6.0 Manager already installed, you can already configure the SMTP service. Launch the IIS 6.0 Manager (we showed you where to find it earlier) and navigate to SMTP Virtual Server #1.

IIS 6 Manager SMTP

Right-click on SMPT Virtual Server #1 and, in the context menu that appears, select Properties. This should bring up the SMTP Virtual Server #1 Properties window.

Most of the settings here may be left to their default values. However, you may click those tabs and change the property settings you find there to suit the needs of your organization. For instance, in the General tab, you may want to check Enable logging if you want to perform some troubleshooting.

IIS 6 Manager SMTP General tab

After closing the SMTP Virtual Server #1 Properties window, select the Domains item that you see under SMTP Virtual Server #1. Next, right-click on the domain name of the SMTP virtual server found in the right panel and select Properties.

IIS 6 Manager SMTP Domains

Select your desired location for the Drop directory. Of course, you may accept the default location if you want. Click OK when done.

IIS 6 Manager SMTP drop directory

You’re done with configuring the SMTP service. The next part is to ensure that the service will start automatically. To do that, go to Start > All Programs > Administrative Tools > Services.


Once the Services window is up, scroll down until you see the item named Simple Male Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Normally, its Startup Type will be set to Manual.

smtp startup type manual

To change that to Automatic, double-click on the item in question to bring up its corresponding Properties window.  Expand the drop-down list box beside the Startup type property and select Automatic. Click Apply, then OK.

setting smtp startup type automatic

That practically covers what you have to do as with regards to SMTP configurations on your SharePoint server. The next step is to configure SMTP settings on the Exchange Server side.

Configuring SMTP on Exchange Server

Go to your Exchange Server and open up your Exchange Management Console. In the screenshot below, you’ll notice that, in our set up, we already created mailboxes for all our users. We’re going to assume you’ve also done that at your end.

Exchange Management Console mailboxes

The first thing to do here is to create a Send Connector. Navigate to the Organization Configuration on the left panel, select Hub Transport, and click the Send Connectors tab. Next, go to the Actions panel on the right and click New Send Connector.

exchange management console - new send connector

This will bring up the New Send Connector Introduction screen. Give the send connector a name, e.g. SharePoint 2010 Incoming, and specify its intended use, e.g. Internal. When done, click Next.

new send connector - introduction

In the Address Space window, you’ll then be asked to specify the address space to which the connector will route mail. First, click the Add button.

add address space

Next, enter the address of the server that’s handling your SMTP service into the Address field. In this case, that server is your SharePoint server, so enter its address there. Click OK.

address of server handling smtp service

That will add the address space to the list in the Address Space window. Click Next.

added address space

When you’re in the Network Settings window, you’ll notice the “Use domain name system…” option is grayed out. That’s because we’ve set the email to be sent “internally”. Hence, mail will be routed through a set of smart hosts. If instead we had set the emails to be sent out over the Internet, then the first option would not have been grayed out.

To add a smart host, click the Add button.

 New Send Connector - Network Settings

When you start adding a smart host, you’ll be required to enter the IP address of the server that’s hosting your SMTP service. Again, this server is no other than your SharePoint server. But instead of entering the FQDN like you did earlier, which is given as the second option, it’s recommended that you enter the numeric IP address. This will give you a better chance of connecting in case certain connectivity problems occur in the future.

smart host ip address

After clicking OK, you’ll see the IP address added to the list of smart hosts. Click Next.

new send connector - network settings smart host

In the succeeding window named Configure smart host authentication settings, just leave the option to None and click Next.

configure smart host authentication settings

When you’re in the Source Server window, make sure your Hub Transport server is on that list. In a typical Exchange installation, which is what we have, a single Exchange server is set to handle all three roles (i.e., Mailbox, Client Access, and Hub Transport). So if you find your Exchange server there, chances are, you’re good to go. Click Next.

new send connector source server

Finally, you’ll be shown a summary of your new Send Connector configurations. Click New.

summary of new send connector configurations

This will create the new send connector. Once creation is complete, click Finish.

new send connector complete

new send connector

Configuring Active Directory to allow contacts to show up in the Outlook Address book

At this point, you will need to go to your Domain Controller and make some changes to Active Directory to allow contacts to be created within an organizational unit so that they show up in the Outlook Address Book after they are created.

Go to your Domain Controller and open the Active Directory Users and Computers.

Active Directory Users and Computers

First, create an Organizational Unit as shown.

Organizational Unit

Give the Organizational Unit a name (e.g. Sp Contacts), then click OK.

new organizational unit

Next, change the permissions of that Organizational Unit by right-clicking it and selecting Delegate Control.

delegate control of organizational unit

When the welcome screen of the Delegation of Control Wizard appears, click Next.

delegation of control wizard

You will want to delegate control to the account that controls the SharePoint Central administration application pool, which, in this case, is the SP Admin account. Click the Add button.

delegation of control wizard users or groups

Enter spadmin in the text field labeled “Enter the object names to select”, then click OK.

select users computers or groups

In the next screen, select its corresponding item and click Next.

delegation of control wizard spadmin

You’ll then be asked whether you want to delegate a set of common tasks or create a custom task to delegate. Select the second option and click Next.

create custom task to delegate

When asked to indicate the scope of the task you want to delegate, select “This folder, existing objects in this folder, and creation of new objects in this folder.” Click Next.

scope of tasks you want to delegate

In selecting the permissions you want to delegate, first check General and Creation/deletion of specific child objects. Then, in the Permissions list, check Create All Child Objects and Delete All Child Objects. Click Next.

select permissions you want to delegate

If all goes well, you will have reached the end of the Delegation of Control wizard. If so, click Finish.

complete delegation of control wizard

One last thing you need to do within Active Directory is to enable the SP Admin account with the Delete Subtree permission. To do that, go to the View menu and select Advanced Features.

active directory advanced features

This will show more items on the right-hand panel. Right-click on the SharePoint contacts organizational unit you created earlier and select Properties.

organizational unit properties

In the properties window, navigate to the Security tab and click the Advanced button.

 properties security advanced

In the Advanced Security Settings window, select the SPADMIN account.

advanced security settings

This is where you will then find the Delete subtree permission. Check its Allow checkbox.

delete subtree

Click OK to close that window, then click the OK button of each window you encounter until you’re back to the Active Directory Users and Computers window.

Active Directory Users and Computers

With that, you’re done setting what needs to be set in Active Directory so that your contacts will show up in your Outlook address book. The final step is to do an IIS reset on your SharePoint server.

Go back now to the SharePoint server. Right-click on the PowerShell quick-launch icon then click Run as Administrator.

power shell run as admin

When the dialog window appears, click Yes.

user account control

In the PowerShell, type in iisreset to start the reset process. Wait until the reset completes, then close the window.


Although you’re already done with this phase, the next few steps will still be performed in the SharePoint server environment, so keep it open.

Configuring Incoming Email Settings in Central Administration

You’re now ready to configure incoming email settings from inside Central Administration. To begin, launch the SharePoint Central Administration.

sharepoint central administration

Once inside the Central Administration, go to the left side of the screen and click System Settings.

central administration window

Under E-Mail and Text Messages (SMS), click Configure incoming e-mail settings.

configuring incoming email settings

On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a bunch of option buttons, text fields, and checkboxes that will allow you to specify certain configuration settings. Apply the following settings:

  • Enable sites on this server to receive e-mail?

Select Yes

  • Settings mode:

Select Automatic

  • Use the SharePoint Directory Management Service to create distribution groups and contacts?

Select Yes

 Central Administration 1

  • Active Directory container where new distribution groups and contacts will be created:

Enter the name of the container using this format:
OU=[ContainerName], DC=[domain], DC=[com],
wherein ContainerName is the name of the Organizational Unit you created earlier, domain is the second-level domain, and com is the top-level domain.

For example: OU=SP Contacts, DC=carvedrockfitness, DC=com

  • SMTP mail server for incoming mail:

This is usually filled in automatically, so just check if it is correct.

  • Accept messages from authenticated users only?

Select No

  • Allow creation of distribution groups from SharePoint sites?

Select No. One offshoot of selecting this option is that you won’t need the approval settings that follow. This is why you’ll then see the check boxes being grayed out.

Central Administration 2

  • E-mail server display address:

Leave as is.

  • Select Accept mail from all e-mail servers

When you’re done with all these, click OK.

Central Administration 3

With the configurations you just did, certain changes are expected to automatically take effect on the Drop folder. Thus, you can verify whether the configuration process all went well by checking the Drop folder to see whether those changes did in fact take effect.

To do that, navigate to Start > Computer > C: > inetpub > mailroot. There you’ll find the drop folder.

drop folder

Right-click on the Drop folder and select Properties.

drop folder properties

When the Drop Properties window appears, navigate to the Security tab. Scroll down the list of Group or user names and see if the items “WSS_ADMIN_WPG…” and “WSS_WPG…” are present. If they are, then you’re good to go.

drop properties

Configurations to add a library as a contact under your organizational unit

Before you can go to the main process of checking whether your SharePoint incoming email feature is working, you’ll need to perform just a few more configuration steps. Go now to a client system, open a Web browser and navigate to your SharePoint site.

Next, go to the Libraries section and click a link to a library (we assume you already have some in there). In our example, the library we’re about to open is called Recipes.

sharepoint site

To change the settings of that library, go to the Library tab and click Library Settings.

library settings

Go to the Communications section and click the link named Incoming e-mail settings.

Communications incoming e-mail settings

On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see another bunch of option buttons and text fields that will allow you to specify configuration settings for this library. Apply the following settings:

  • Allow this document library to receive e-mail?

Select Yes.

  • E-mail address:

Assign a name for the e-mail address.

  • Group attachments in folders?

Select an option that’s best suited for you.

  • Overwrite files with the same name?

Select No.

incoming email settings

  • Save original e-mail?

Select Yes.

  • Save meeting invitations?

Select No.

  • E-mail security policy:

At this point, just select Accept e-mail messages from any sender. However, in a real-world scenario, you might want to choose the first option.

incoming email settings 2

When you’re done with all those settings, click OK. After that, the library whose settings you just configured will automatically be added as a contact under the Organizational Unit created earlier. This is now a result of all those numerous steps you went through.

Go now to Active Directory Users and Computers and navigate to the Organizational Unit in question (‘SP Contacts’, in our case). You should see the library there now.

newly added contacts in Active Directory OU

You’ll also see that contact in Exchange Server. Go to Exchange Server now, launch the Exchange Management Console, and navigate to Recipient Configuration > Mail Contact. You should see the library contact there as well.

 library mail contact in exchange

Testing if the SharePoint Incoming Email feature actually works

It’s finally payback time. You’re finally ready to perform a basic test on the feature you’ve taken so long to configure.

Get back to your client system, launch Microsoft Outlook, and create a New email.

create a new email in MS Outlook

In the To: field, enter the email address of the library that was newly added as a contact. Enter a subject, put some text into the body, attach a file, and send.

creating an email

If you go back to the SharePoint site and open the library, you should be able to see both the email and the attached file. If they’re there, then heave a sigh of relief. This means, you have just accomplished what you have set out to do in the first part of this tutorial, and that is to configure SharePoint for Incoming Email.

checking the email in the SharePoint library


In Part II of this tutorial, you’ll learn how to configure Outgoing Email. And by the way, don’t worry, it will be just a fraction of what you’ve gone through here.