Create Office 365 User Without a Mailbox

We use Office 365 and are wanting to add an intern as a user to monitor a shared mailbox but there’s no need for the intern to have their own mailbox. Is it possible to add a user to Office 365 without a mailbox but with the ability for that user to monitor a shared mailbox?

Any suggestions would be great!


All users of a shared mailbox must have a license of their own.

Think of it this way: If a user needs to access email, they need a license. Whether that is directly via their own mailbox, or indirectly via a shared mailbox - email access == license.

You can however provision them a mailbox they can’t use, forcing them to use the shared mailbox.


Karl P


Makes sense! Thanks, Karl!


The cool part about this mentality is that it also means that any user that has access to email can have access to as much email as they need.

To put another way, if you wanted to have a single user with a dozen different mailboxes, each with their own inbox and sub-folders, that only costs you 1 license, because it’s only 1 user.

Similarly, “Asset” mailboxes such as equipment or rooms that you may want to have for scheduling reasons don’t cost anything either, because they aren’t users and thus they don’t need licensing.

On average, per-user licensing works out far in the favor of businesses than simple per-address pricing.

-Karl P

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We ran in to the same problem and the only solution that we came up with was to get the user an email address but have them provisioned as an Exchange Online (Plan 1) user which is substantially less than an Office 365 Business Premium user. Not at all free, but certainly the cheapest option I can think of.

If you are a 501(c)(3) then you should be getting E1 for free, so you’d be using that. Then you’d just add a ProPlus subscription for a few bucks a month if you needed desktop apps.

If you are a business or otherwise paying for Office365 then yes, an EO-1 plan would be a cheaper way to do this.