Configuring E-Mail-Enabled Document Libraries

Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services includes the ability to link a document library with a public folder based on Microsoft Exchange 2000 or later. Any documents attached to messages in the public folder can be automatically inserted into the document library, and the document library displays the document, plus the From address, the subject line, and the date and time that the attachment was inserted into the document library. Note that the body text of the e-mail message is not preserved. It remains in the public folder, but is not transferred to the document library.

A user can simply send e-mail to the public folder, with an attached document, and the document will be automatically added to the correct document library on a SharePoint site. For example, if you were using an XML template to store invoice information, a user could fill out the XML invoice and send it in-email to the public folder. The XML file would then be posted to the document library and would be available for rolling up into larger reports on invoices, or for easy retrieval.

About E-Mail and Document Library Security

This feature relies on e-mail to transport documents, and it uses the same security rules as all e-mail messages. Before enabling this feature, you should be aware of the following issues and vulnerabilities:

  • Because e-mail messages can cross firewalls, external users can use this method to send documents to an internal SharePoint site. This is useful for many scenarios, such as sending expense reports in from the field, but can also open your site up to unwanted junk e-mail messages. For information about controlling junk e-mail messages in public folders, see the Exchange 2000 documentation.
  • Because e-mail messages can carry documents with viruses, you might end up with a virus-laden document on your site. However, documents inserted into a document library from e-mail attachments can be scanned for viruses like any other documents in document libraries. For more information about virus scanning in Windows SharePoint Services, see Configuring Antivirus Protection.
  • Because e-mail addresses can be spoofed, the From address is preserved in the document properties and displayed in the document library. Trust the From address as much or as little as you trust other e-mail addresses.
  • To allow this feature to work, the document libraries allow anonymous insertions from e-mail attachments. You cannot control who has rights to add attached documents to this document library. However, you can control who can add documents directly to the document library, and you can control who has rights to post to the public folder by using the Exchange user management tools.
  • As with any public folder or document library, there is the possibility that a malicious user could add so many documents that the site or server's storage capacity is filled, thus blocking other users from accessing the site or server. Be sure to control the list of users with access to the public folder, and consider using quotas to control the size of the site. For more information about quotas, see "Configuring Site Quotas and Locks" in the Windows SharePoint Services Administrator's Guide.

This feature adheres to the blocked file extension rules for a document library. Any documents with file extensions that are blocked at the server level are also blocked from being added to an e-mail-enabled document library. For example, if you have a file with an .exe file extension, and you send it to the public folder, it will not be transferred to the document library. For more information about blocked file types, see Configuring Blocked File Extensions.

How It Works

The Microsoft SharePoint Timer service controls when the public folder is checked for new attached documents. When the SharePoint Timer service event runs, the service checks the public folder for new documents and inserts them into the document library. The SharePoint Timer service simply inserts documents. It does not update, overwrite, or delete documents. If the same document is added to the public folder more than once, it will also appear more than once in the document library. However, each document in the document library will have a unique file name (which is automatically generated by adding numbers, such as "1", to the end of the file name, so that filename.doc when added again becomes filename1.doc).

You can use this feature with any document library, or any list based on a document library template such as a custom document library, except picture library, which is not supported. The data sent to the document library along with the document is fixed. Any additional fields (even required fields) that you specify in the document library properties are ignored when documents are inserted.

Managing the Public Folder

You must configure the Exchange public folder to work with Windows SharePoint Services before you can enable this feature. And after you configure the feature, you must continue to perform the public folder administration tasks from within Exchange.

To use this feature, you must use the Exchange 2000 administration tools to:

  • Create the public folder.
  • Grant read access to the appropriate Windows SharePoint Services application pool accounts. If you are using one account for all virtual servers, grant access to that account. If you are using separate accounts for each virtual server, you must grant the virtual server accounts access to the appropriate public folders.

If you prefer not to grant access to the application pool accounts, you can instead give the anonymous user account access to read the public folder. This is a less secure method than granting access to the application pool account.

  • Determine which e-mail distribution list to allow to post to the public folder, and grant that list appropriate access to the public folder.
  • Create an e-mail address for the public folder and enable the public folder to receive e-mail messages.
  • Continue to manage the public folder and the access to the public folder.

For more information about managing public folders and managing user access in Exchange 2000, see the Microsoft Exchange 2000 documentation.

Enabling E-Mail Access to Document Libraries

To enable this feature, you must be a local server administrator or a member of the SharePoint administrators group. You enable or disable this feature by selecting options on the Virtual Server General Settings page. After you have enabled this feature for a virtual server, any administrator of a site on that virtual server can enable the feature for a document library in his or her site.

Configure a virtual server to allow e-mail-enabled document libraries
  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint Central Administration.
  2. Under Virtual Server Configuration, click Configure virtual server settings.
  3. On the Virtual Server List page, select the virtual server you want to use.
  4. On the Virtual Server Settings page, under Virtual Server Management, click Virtual server general settings.
  5. In the E-Mail-Enabled Document Libraries section, next to Document libraries on this virtual server can accept e-mail attachments, click Yes.
  6. In the Public folder server and root path box, type the path to the root folder on the Exchange server that hosts public folders.

 Note   You must specify the server name for the public folder server, not the fully-qualified domain name. For example, use http://server_name/public, not http://server_name.domain.company_name.com/public.

  1. Under Check for new e-mail in the public folder, specify how frequently the public folders are checked for attachments by selecting one of the following:
    • Every ___ minutes

Type the number of minutes to wait before checking again.

  • Hourly between ___ and ___ minutes past the hour

Type the times between which you want to check. For example, between 10 and 20 past the hour would specify that the public folder is checked at a random time between 1:10 and 1:20, 2:10 and 2:20, and so on. Specifying the range allows each Web server to process e-mail attachments at different times within the range, so that all of the front-end Web servers in a server farm do not check the Exchange server at the same time.

  • Daily between ___ and ___

Type the times between which to process daily e-mail attachments.

  1. The default value is hourly, between 0 and 59 minutes past the hour.
  2. Click OK.

If this feature has been enabled at the virtual server level, any administrator (or other user with the Manage Lists Permissions right) of any site on that virtual server can configure a document library to link to a public folder.

Configure a document library to allow e-mail insertion
  1. Navigate to the document library you want to use.
  2. Under Actions, click Modify settings and columns.
  3. Under General Settings, click Change advanced settings.
  4. On the Document Library Advanced Settings: Library name page, under E-Mail Settings, in the Public folder address box, type the path to the Exchange public folder you want to link to.

This path is relative to the path specified on the Virtual Server General Settings page. For example, if the virtual server has http://server_name/public as the root path for public folders, and the full path to the folder is http://server_name/public/folder_name, you would type /folder_name in the Public folder address box.

  1. Click OK.
 
 
Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003