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Todd Klindt's home page > Todd Klindt's Office 365 Admin Blog > Posts > Incoming Email in SharePoint v3
October 22
Incoming Email in SharePoint v3

As the release of SharePoint v3 grows closer, I find myself constantly thinking of new ways to leverage its new features. There are so many great things coming it is tough to decide where to focus. Recently I started playing with the new feature of Incoming Email. In a nutshell, this feature allows you to add content to libraries and lists in SharePoint v3 via email. Microsoft is positioning SharePoint to be the Exchange Public Folder replacement, and this feature is the beginning of that. There is not much documentation about it out there yet, so I thought I would poke around with it, take some notes, and share them with you guys.

The first thing I did was start searching around on the Internet for information on enabling and configuring Incoming Email. I did find one stupendous white paper from the guys at Combined Knowledge. You can download it here.  Go ahead and download it now and read it. This blog post will be based off of things I learned after reading it.

After I read through that white paper I got to work setting things up. After I enabled SMTP on my WSS server I enabled logging on the SMTP virtual server. The logs do not take up much space, nor do they require a lot of processing power. They are invaluable when troubleshooting, and I found that I used them a lot in the writing of this blog. SharePoint does not seem to log Incoming Email events, so your SMTP logs are all you have. I would also recommend enabling all the columns for the log file.

If you read through the Combined Knowledge white paper you will see they create an Organization Unit (OU) for SharePoint to use. It places Contacts for the libraries that are email enabled there, making it easier for users to find them in Outlook. This step is nice, but it is not strictly necessary. Incoming Email will work fine without this. This is important to know if the SharePoint team is not able to get the AD team to create OUs for them, or if they just want to test this feature without modifying the AD at all. If you choice to go this route you can leave the setting at "Operations > Active Directory Settings for E-Mail Web Service" blank. You will also want to set "Connect to a SharePoint Directory Management Server" to 'No' under "Operations > Incoming E-Mail Settings." The only difference you will notice is that contacts will not be created for your lists in AD. They will still receive email just fine, you will just need to know the address.

Once you get some get some lists and libraries enabled you will want to start sending them emails. There are several settings to set when you enable Incoming Email. If you do not choose to use the list security users outside of your AD will be able to email content to your lists and libraries. This can be handy for Internet facing sites. When email comes in from an email address that is not associated with a user in your AD, they will show up as added by "System Account." You can determine the originating email address by viewing the properties of the item and clicking "form email." Since there is no account to associate the email with, they are handled as if they were submitted by an anonymous user. Because of this, they face the same restrictions. They are able to submit items to lists, like Discussion Lists, but they are not able to submit documents to document libraries or picture libraries.

When you enable incoming email for libraries you have three options to handle where documents are saved. First, you can choose to have the documents saved in the root of the folder. Second, you can have the documents saved into a folder based on the sender's email address. A folder is created automatically the first time a user emails the library and all subsequent emails are saved there. The folders take the form of "John Q. Public (" Finally you can have the documents saved in folders based on the Subject line of the email, regardless of who sends it. This options has one gotcha, emails with no subject appear to be disregarded. This is one place that SMTP logs came in handy. When I was experimenting with this I could tell the emails were getting to the WSS server by the SMTP logs, and were getting picked up, but did not show up in the document library. As there is no documentation on this, it was tough to troubleshoot. The SMTP logs helped fill in the gaps.

There are many lists and libraries that cannot receive Incoming Email. Here is a short list: Links lists, Wikis, Blog categories, Blog comments, Surveys, Tasks, Project Tasks and Contacts. It is easy to determine whether a list or library supports this by whether the option shows up. If it is available, it will show up under Communications with RSS in the settings for that list or library.

I hope this blog entry has gotten you as excited about Incoming Email as I am. Let me know if you have any questions.





How to track messages

Hey there, thanks for the post - just wondering what logging information helped tell that sharepoint was was picking up emails - I haven't been able to deliver any messages to a list yet.

When I was experimenting with this I could tell the emails were getting to the WSS server by the SMTP logs, and were getting picked up, but did not show up in the document library. As there is no documentation on this, it was tough to troubleshoot. The SMTP logs helped fill in the gaps.
 on 3/15/2007 9:01 PM

Re: How to track messages

By looking through the SMTP logs on the WSS server, I could see that Exchange was delivering them and it was getting them.  I also kep the maildrop directory open in Explorer and could see items pop into it and then disappear.  That told me that they were getting to WSS and that the Timer Service was grabbing them.  From there they just vanished.

If that doesn't help let me know what settings you have for your list or library and I'll see if we can figure out what's wrong.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 3/17/2007 12:05 PM

Incoming Email timer job not picking up messages

I've run into a situation where the timer job is not picking up the messages in the SMTP Drop folder. I've verified the timer job is running. Any ideas?
 on 4/25/2007 2:06 PM

Blank Emails and Attachments

I've discovered another strange thing.  Blank email get picked up just fine.  In the case of blank emails with attachments, the email message itself gets picked up fine, but the attachment does not.  It seems in order to email an attachment, you need *some* text in the body of the email.  Otherwise, the attachment will never get picked up.
 on 5/22/2007 8:32 AM

Incoming Emails always owned by System Account

Thanks for the useful article.

I have configured Exchange, IIS SMTP Server and Sharepoint so that emails are being sent to lists and the connectivity is working fine.  However, all the entries in Sharepoint for the emails are showing System Account as being the owner.

The emails contain the from address of a valid user in AD, but Sharepoint doesn't seem to be able to recognise or lookup their account details.

Any suggestions, as this is annoying?
 on 6/20/2007 7:28 AM

Authenticating incoming email to SharePoint


I am building a discussion group application on SharePoint 2007 server. This application is using a custom provider to authenticate external users. All this is working fine. I can add users to discussion group application and the user can enter the site and participate in the discussions. I used two site collections, one facing inwards using windows authentication and other facing outwards using custom authentication to achieve this.

Next, I tried enabling incoming email to this discussion group application. I followed the steps provided in number of articles published on the web and was successful. The discussion group [inward facing] can accept emails and converts in to discussion which appear in the list. The configuration has "Accept e-mail messages based on discussion board ermissions " option checked. This is also working properly.

Now, I want the application to accept email from the external users. These users do not have account in the Active irectory being used for the windows authentication, but have their accounts in the external data-source being used by the custom authentication provider.

Is it possible? If yes, are there any resources on the net that can guide me? I could not find anything on the net, but then I might be searching with the wrong keywords.

Any help is appreciated.
 on 7/12/2007 8:16 AM

Thank you very much

Your instruction at disabling WSS automatically create contacts in AD has saved me hours crazy in "Error in application" message.
Thanks milions.
 on 7/25/2007 10:38 PM

Your instructions helped, but have a wierd issue..

Some emails that come in from our tests are not the same title that we sent.. All of the ones that are not right, have a 4 digit number following them..

Test 5655
Test 2976
Test 7673
ect.. any idea whats causing this?
 on 8/2/2007 3:36 PM

what about attachments??

I would like users to be able to make posts to my SharePoint blog via an email and also include a picture in the post.  If I attach a picture, the list item shows an attachment but I would like the picture to show up in the blog post as well.  If I embed a picture right in the body of the email then the blog post shows an empty image image actually loads.  Any ideas?
 on 8/8/2007 3:54 PM

Re: what about attachments??

Sorry, not sure how to do this.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 8/8/2007 10:30 PM
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