Connecting to Multiple Exchange Servers within Microsoft Office Outlook 2010

I love Microsoft Office 2010. It’s not that I was not a big fan of the current Office 2007, but I feel that Microsoft has done its job – found ways to improve the new model.

My current ‘favorite’ improvement is with Microsoft Office Outlook. It solves a problem that has caused me inconvenience for years, and although I admit it is likely an issue only for a small minority of users, as one of those users I am glad to see it resolved in v.Next.

In the beginning most computer users had a single e-mail account; the world began to evolve, and soon people would begin having two – one for work and one for personal use. If they were smart they would keep these two account separate, storing messages from each separately. Of course since likely a vast majority of users’ personal accounts were with on-line services such as Hotmail, this was not a problem. For the rest of us, it might have taken a while to find the right path; I remember very foolishly pulling e-mail from both business and personal accounts on the same machine.

When Exchange Server became the prevalent mail server system many of us were introduced to push-type accounts; no longer was it up to the mail client to actively attempt to download mail from the server on a set schedule (as often as every five minutes), rather the mail server and the mail client (at least if you were using Outlook connected to an Exchange Server) would maintain a secure connection, and as soon as mail was received on the server it would immediately be pushed to the client. (This connection method would eventually be vastly improved with the advent of RPC over HTTPS, which allowed the mail client to maintain that connection even when it was not directly connected to the same network as the server)

The only problem some of us had with this system was that some of us maintained accounts on multiple Exchange Servers. The solution was to maintain multiple Outlook Profiles, which could then be configured to the different servers. Although this did indeed resolve the issue, it had its drawbacks – in order to check one Profile you would have to exit from all others. There were ways around this of course; configuring a single Profile connected to one Exchange Server, and then pulling e-mail from other accounts using either IMAP or POP3 was one, but that had the drawback of ‘mixing mail.’ It also did not allow one to leverage the other features of an Exchange Profile, such as Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes. Another solution would be to connect one account using Outlook Web Access which has gotten better over the versions, but had its own disadvantages as well (you need a persistent connection, for example).

Enter Office Outlook 2010.

I suppose the number of people who have a need to connect to multiple Exchange Servers has increased because beginning with the Technical Preview of Office 2010 we can now connect a single Outlook Profile to multiple Exchange Servers. Don’t worry, you do not lose the ability to create multiple profiles, you are just given a new way of doing business. Here’s how:

image Firstly make sure Outlook 2010 is not running. Although the screens are available within Outlook, it will block you from adding an Exchange Server.

image1) Within the Windows Control Panel open the Mail option.

2) In the Mail Setup – Outlook window click E-mail Accounts. You should see your already configured Exchange account listed.

3) Click New…

At this point you will be asked to configure your mail account. Do so as if you were configuring it as your first. Once you are done you will see both accounts listed.

You can now open Outlook normally. What you will see in your Navigation Pan is two completely separate – and segregated – Exchange accounts. While you can copy and move information between the two, there is no ‘blind intermingling’ of information between the two; so if you have multiple Exchange Servers configured for different organizations, each organization’s data integrity is ensured.

For contract workers connected to multiple organizations there are a lot of benefits, not the least of which has to do with scheduling.  When clicking on the Calendar view in Office I will now see my calendars side by side or, if I choose, I can superimpose one onto the other, so I can see my overall availability, as well as what I have to do for each organization on a given day or week.  This functionality is very similar to how Outlook handles Shared Calendars for teams.


Earlier this week my team got an e-mail from from the coordinator of one of the companies that I work with, essentially chastising us for communicating with our clients using alternate e-mail accounts; I understand that their clients are their clients, and they want to be able to manage those communications.  Again, if I had to close my main Outlook Profile in order to open my contractor Outlook Profile it would be difficult to maintain fluid communications.  By configuring Outlook with multiple Exchange Servers I no longer have that issue.  When initiating an e-mail conversation I am given the option of selecting which account I want to send from.  When responding to their e-mail it will automatically select the proper account to reply from, although (as shown) I could just as easily change the account with the new account selector in the e-mail window.  (This feature was previously available if you had multiple e-mail accounts configured using POP3 or IMAP)

Overall I think this is a huge improvement for the consultant, and allows us to work smarter, not harder.


11 responses to “Connecting to Multiple Exchange Servers within Microsoft Office Outlook 2010”

  1. Yes there is connected to multiple exchange feature in Outlook 2010 but when you connect to two different exchange server with their own Proxy (RPC over HTTP) addresses, they get mixed up and after restart one connection goes dead and stops working at all. It however works if both email accounts are in the same exchange server.

  2. Maybe you can help….I have Outlook on a new Mac laptop and when I am at work it works fine, but when I’m home, it stops working (outgoing messages only). How can I adjust the settings so it switches seamlessly? It didn’t do this on my old Mac.

    1. Hey Mac folks, do any of you have any input into this? -M

  3. […] calendars, which when I am on the PC means Outlook (see my article from February 3rd, 2010 on Connecting to Multiple Exchange Servers within Microsoft Office Outlook 2010).  That means that any time they add clarity and relevant information to Outlook I am […]

  4. Thank you for taking the time to create such a useful website.

    Please know that I found this information useful and helpful.

    Good luck!

  5. i have two accounts with two different exchange servers. I am able to configure them both in outlook 2010 and all the connections are working fine too. I want to know If i can manage separate PST for different mail accounts. ?

    1. Sure – works the same way!

  6. Hi, I am using one exchange mail (with connection to VPN) with one pop3 through single outlook profile, facing one problem when i am not connected to VPN I am not able to add any address even in pop3 address book & not even able to send e-mail by pop3 account to those which are not added in my existing address book, getting error in both cases (not able to connect exchange server, exchange server must be online)

    1. HI Parvesh,
      I am not sure what the issue is… I am by no means an Exchange expert, but there are plenty out there who will be able to answer your question. Good luck! -MDG

    2. It sounds to me as if you have Exchange configured as the default account and it is not in cached mode. Is that the case? If so, is this a work computer? I ask because to fix it you would have to make a change.
      If you put Exchange in cached mode you can then work in offline mode. This addresses the issue of not being able to connect. Though understand that to send, you would need the Exchange account to be connected to route mail unless you set your POP3 account to be the default mail account.
      Hope this helps.

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