Enabling incoming email functionality in SharePoint

Learn how to install the SMTP service to enable inbound email on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 from Exchange Server 2007.

You are reading tip #1 from "6 tips in 6 minutes: Integrating SharePoint Server 2007 and Exchange 2007," excerpted from Chapter 18 of the book "Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Unleashed," by Michael Noel and Colin Spence, copyright 2007, published by Sams.

As previously mentioned, SharePoint 2007 has the capability to process inbound email messages and accept them and their attachments as content for SharePoint document libraries, lists, and discussion groups. Indeed, SharePoint technically does not require the use of Exchange for this component, as it uses its own SMTP virtual server to accept email from any SMTP server, including non-Exchange boxes.

Integration with Exchange, however, has significant advantages for SharePoint. Most notably, new email-enabled content within SharePoint can be configured to have contacts within Exchange automatically created within a specific organizational unit (OU) in Active Directory (AD). This means email administrators don't need to maintain the email addresses associated with each SharePoint list or document library in the farm.

Installing the SMTP Server Service on the SharePoint Server

The first step to setting up a SharePoint Server as an inbound email platform is to install the SMTP Server Service on the server itself. The process to install the SMTP Service in Windows Server 2003 is straightforward, and can be performed as follows:

  1. Click Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Click the Add/Remove Windows Components button.
  3. Select the Application Server component (do not check the box, just click once on the name of the component) and click Details.
  4. Select the Internet Information Services (IIS) component (again, do not check the box, just select the name) and click Details.
  5. Scroll down through the list and check the box next to SMTP Service, as shown in Figure 18.1. Click OK, OK, and Next.
  6. Click Finish.

Figure 18.1 Installing the SMTP Service.

Configuring the Incoming Email Server Role on the SharePoint Server

After the SMTP Service has been installed on the server, inbound email can be enabled through the SharePoint Central Admin tool. Incoming email functionality can be configured in two ways—automatic mode or advanced mode. Automatic mode sets up inbound mail access using default settings, whereas advanced mode allows more complex configuration. Advanced mode should only be used if the SMTP Service is not used to receive incoming email but is configured to point to a different SMTP server.

To enable incoming email functionality in a SharePoint farm and configure it with the most ideal options, do the following:

  1. Open the SharePoint Central Administration tool from the server console (Start, All Programs, Microsoft Office Server, SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration).
  2. Click the Operations tab.
  3. Under the Topology and Services category, click the Incoming Email Settings link.
  4. From the Incoming Email Settings dialog box, shown in Figure 18.2, click Yes to enable sites on the server to receive email.
  5. Figure 18.2 Enabling incoming email settings.
  6. Set the Settings mode to Automatic.
  7. Select Yes to use the SharePoint Directory Management Service.
  8. Enter an Active Directory container where the new distribution groups and contact objects for SharePoint will be created. This OU must be created in AD in advance and the SharePoint service account must have rights to create and modify objects in this OU.
  9. Enter the SMTP mail server for incoming mail, which is the SharePoint Server name in this example.
  10. Under the setting for accepting messages from authenticated users only, click Yes, so that only authenticated domain users can send email to the server. This setting can be changed to No if you want to accept anonymous email from the Internet into the site content.
  11. Scroll down the page and examine the settings listed in Figure 18.3. Check the box to allow the creation of distribution groups from SharePoint sites.
  12. Figure 18.3 Configuring incoming email settings.

  13. Enter a display address for the incoming email server. It should include the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the server name so mail messages can be sent to the server. The server in this example is server4.companyabc.com.
  14. Finally, configure which email servers from which SharePoint site will accept email. Enter the IP address of any Exchange hub transport servers that will be relaying mail to SharePoint. In this example, is the IP address of the Exchange 2007 server.
  15. Click OK to save the changes.

Using the Directory Management Service

The Directory Management Service in SharePoint 2007 uses a timer job within SharePoint to automate the creation of contact objects. These contacts are automatically created to allow inbound mail to document libraries or lists within SharePoint to be automatically enabled.

For example, when a document library called Companyabc-doclib is created and selected to be email enabled, the SharePoint Directory Management Service automatically creates a contact object in Active Directory that has a primary SMTP address of [email protected] This contact then inherits a secondary SMTP address of [email protected] through Exchange recipient policies.

After the contact is automatically created, users can send email to this address, have it flow through the Exchange server, which then forwards it to the SharePoint Server (the primary SMTP address). It is accepted into the SMTP Virtual Server on the SharePoint Server, and then imported into SharePoint via a timer job that runs on the server. In this way, all emails sent to that address appear in the companyabc-doclib document library.

NOTE: For the Directory Management Service to work, the SharePoint service account needs to have add and modify rights to the OU that is specified in the Incoming Email Settings page. If this account does not have rights to the OU, automation of these contacts will fail. In addition, the SharePoint Web Application must run under domain credentials and not as Local Service or Network Service.


 Home: Introduction
 Tip 1: Enabling incoming email functionality in SharePoint
 Tip 2: Working with email-enabled content in SharePoint 2007
 Tip 3: Understanding Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
 Tip 4: Planning for an Exchange Server 2007 environment
 Tip 5: Integrating Exchange 2007 with SharePoint 2007
 Tip 6: SharePoint 2007 and Exchange 2007 best practices

Microsoft SharePoint 2007 UnleashedThis chapter excerpt from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Unleashed, by Michael Noel and Colin Spence, is printed with permission from Sams Publishing, Copyright 2007.

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