Inconsistent handling of message read/unread status by Outlook

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BeatsMeWhy

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.
 

Attachments

  • Outlook mobile and OWA - Shared Folder Permissions.pdf
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