Inconsistent handling of message read/unread status by Outlook

Not open for further replies.


New Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
Would appreciate any comments on the following situation. I'm using Microsoft 365 Business and Exchange Online. Let me know if I'm missing something here.

I grant a user 'Reviewer' (i.e. read-only) permission to my Inbox folder. If they use their Outlook client to open a message in that folder marked as 'unread' then the status of that message remains 'unread'. If they attempt to manually alter that message's read/unread status or to flag the message, etc.. . then they receive error 'you do not have the required permission'. However, if same user opens same unread message in Outlook mobile or OWA then its status does change to 'read'. Both mobile and OWA also allow the 'mark as read/unread' function to be performed by a 'Reviewer'.

So, first problem is that Outlook behaviour is inconsistent across the Windows client and OWA/mobile. Second problem is that surely - by design - a Reviewer should not be allowed to alter any aspect of another user's message including its read/unread status.

IMO Outlook mobile and OWA should behave as Outlook Windows does.
At the very least, they should have a per-user read state and behavior should be the same on all clients. I know per-user read state doesn't seem to be available in office 365 exchange. I'll see what I can find out - there are some weird permissions on the calendar I need the check on too.
Agree that per-user read status would be the ultimate solution and this is available as an option with a mail-enabled public folder. A mail-enabled public folder is a great solution where you want to provide each user with their own read status on each message in a common folder - and we do use these. But my requirement here is different. As folder owner I am not trying to give each user their own personal read status - they don't need that. I only want to stop them from changing mine ! If only OWA and mobile would just behave same way as Outlook for Windows the problem is solved.

The reason per-user read status is not supported on any other Office 365 Exchange folder type could - understandably - be due to the processing overheads of maintaining read status for large numbers of users for every message in thousands of folders (i.e. an open slather environment) whereas public folders are in a somewhat more tightly controlled environment.

Thanks for your response and interested in anything you can find.
After further research on this issue I've decided it's worth the effort to elaborate in terms of the underlying business problem, possible workarounds, and the ideal solution - see attached. This may be of help to anyone else wondering why Outlook mobile and OWA do not behave the way they ought to in regard to handling the read/unread status of messages in shared folders. FWIW - I've sent this down the line to Microsoft too Rgds.


  • Outlook mobile and OWA - Shared Folder Permissions.pdf
    152.2 KB · Views: 0
Not open for further replies.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
S Inconsistent view of To-Do List Using Outlook 0
D Inconsistent order of names displayed Using Outlook 7
A How are you handling category issue and syncing Using accounts in Outlook 2
Stig Arvidsson Need a Script for handling moved mail from inbox Using Outlook 3
S Need solution to Outlook mail handling/syncing/mobile situation, please Using Outlook 2
P Handling Multiple eMail Accounts Using Outlook 2
K Handling application.quit event Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 8
S Need: Date handling in Outlook Macros, either information/documentation Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
T Outlook 2003 Custom Form Error Handling Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 8
U Adding multiple menu Items. Problems handling the click events Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
E PgUp and PgDn don't work for displayed message content (but do for web pages) Using Outlook 3
M A plug in (or method) to keep email message formatting after it expires Using Outlook 1
Rob Can't save MailItem because the message changed in .pst file Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
M Search message, then (1) Jump to folder & (2) Select message that you searched for Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 7
Kika Melo How to mark as Junk any message not from Contacts (in Using Outlook 3
G Outlook 365 My iCloud Outlook doesn’t work after reinstalling Microsoft365 on Windows 10 PC – now I get error message on contacts and calendar Using Outlook 1
G Get current open draft message body from VBA Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
E Outlook 365 Save Selected Email Message as .msg File - oMail.Delete not working when SEARCH Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
HarvMan Outlook 365 - Rule to Move an Incoming Message to Another Folder Using Outlook 4
F Outlook 2019 Forwarding Message and Keeping Unread Status Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
E Save Selected Email Message as .msg File - digitally sign email doesn't works Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
C Populate form data into message body Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
J Outlook 365 Add keywords from Listbox to the message body where cursor is placed Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
B How to create a button that sorts and selects the most recent message with ONE click Using Outlook 2
P "Item could not be moved" message occurs frequently for IMAP inbox, Office 365 Using Outlook 0
A rule name into message - how? Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 5
A Links in email getting error message about group policy Using Outlook 4
O How to find and replace a word in Outlook-Agenda-Subject and Message? Using Outlook 0
X Open Hyperlinks in an Outlook Email Message (Help with Diane's solution) Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 3
Commodore Unable to move message Using Outlook 3
Y Disable Microsoft Outlook Test Message Using Outlook 4
S Unable to change Message Class Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
S Changing Message Class Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 4
Cathy Rhone Mail merge error message Using Outlook 1
C Can't Locate an Unread Message in my Outlook view pane Using Outlook 0
G Send a greeting message to a contact on birthday Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 5
N Save Selected Email Message as .msg File Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 12
T Macro to move reply and original message to folder Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 6
O Outlook 2010 Add delete button to the side of the message list Using Outlook 1
Cathy Rhone The properties of the message have been changed Using Outlook 1
S Outlook 2016 A Shortcut to recall and delete and sent message. Using Outlook 1
T vba extract data from msg file as attachment file of mail message Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 1
S Unable to extract text from an Outlook email message Using Outlook 2
R Outlook 2016 Message-ID oddity/inconsistency? Using Outlook 7
J Implement Keywords based on body message Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
C must select message to trigger safe list Using Outlook 3
Witzker HowTo Change message Class of contact form Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0
D.Moore VB script to Digitaly Sign newly created outlook message Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 2
O VBA Outlook Message Attachment - Array Index Out of Bounds Outlook VBA and Custom Forms 0

Similar threads