Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online

In this article, we will see the alternative solution for Incoming Emails features in SharePoint Online

Introduction

 
Back in SharePoint 2010 and 2013, we were able to create list items by sending a simple email. This was a very nice feature when someone from outside the organization was sending some query and we wanted it to be recorded in SharePoint. Even internally, you could just send an email from your mobile device and it used to get recorded in the SharePoint portal automatically.
 
We were able to store documents to a document library in SharePoint by sending it as an attachment through email. It was so easy to push your important document to a centralized location.
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 

Problem

 
Now, as the world has moved from on-premise servers to the cloud, the SharePoint has also evolved from on-premise versions to cloud online versions. Considering security reasons and technical evolution, the feature of incoming emails is not provided for both, list and library, in SharePoint online.
 
For the organizations who are migrating from on-premise versions to SharePoint Online, this is brainstorming question – how to overcome this lack of feature?
 

Solution

 
So, what are the alternative solutions for this problem?
 
Well, it’s not that difficult, there is a quick and easy alternative available. We will use Microsoft FLOW to track incoming emails on a mailbox. This FLOW will create the list item or add a document in SharePoint online site.
 
Whoever is using SharePoint Online, mainly they have Office 365 account and licenses. This license already includes a FLOW plan in it.
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
Let’s create a simple FLOW to fulfill our requirement.
 
Login to FLOW online workflow service with your Office 365 account credentials.
 
Click on My FLOWS >> Add new FLOW >> select the "Instant - from blank" option.
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
Skip this step >> click on "Skip".
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
Now, search for Office 365 Outlook triggers. You will have all the options as shown below. We can choose one of the below two -
 
When a new email arrives OR When a new email arrives in a shared mailbox
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
We will go with the first trigger – When a new email arrives. Select it; the following configuration window will appear
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
In the above configuration, we can specify various options to trim down which incoming emails the FLOW should trigger. Because if you are using your regular mailbox, then you might be getting hundreds of emails in a day and we don’t want to bother the FLOW to run every time.
 
So, you can specify the folder in your mailbox where mail is going drop, you can specify who is the recipient of a mail, you can skip CC and From, which are not needed in our case. You can specify if the email has an attachment and if are you willing to include the attachment or not. Depending upon  what purpose you are tracking emails for, you need to choose these options.
 
If you are just creating an item in SharePoint, then keep those No. If you need to store attachments in the document library, then make them Yes.
 
Note
Make sure you use the same connection to log in that is going to be in “To” of the email. If it’s a shared mailbox, then these two things can be different.
 
More important is to add Subject filter. This will make sure that FLOW triggers only for specific incoming emails and not to all. If you are providing a link somewhere on your application to send emails then already include this filter word in the subject, or else inform your end users to keep the subject in a specific format.
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
Now as we have informed FLOW when to trigger, we can add the next action depending upon our requirement. We can either create a list item in SharePoint online or add a document in a library.
 
Let’s add Create Item action for SharePoint list as shown below >> you can access various metadata of the incoming mail now to store in the list, like mail subject, from, to, time, etc. Choose the correct metadata and map it to list columns
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online
 
If you want to store attachments from email to document library, then add Create File action.
 
And as shown below you can add Attachment Content in File content section of the action.
 
Alternative For Incoming Email In SharePoint Online 
 
That’s it. Try it out and send an email to the configured account and check it out in SharePoint list or library -- the item should get created in a minute or two. FLOW keeps on checking with trigger source in a span of 5 mins for free licenses.
 
Thanks for reading, and I  hope this helps.