Role email aliases and accounts
What are role addresses?
The department provides email aliases which allow mail for particular functions to be directed to the relevant person or people – and these are known as role addresses. In general when advertising email addresses it is better to use a role address rather than an individual one unless that mail only needs to be seen to a specific individual.
Role addresses are handled in two main ways:
- They can be sent directly to an individual or individuals – this is sometimes known as a role email alias
- They can be sent to a separate email account on the Hermes or Exchange Online mail system, to which one or more people have access – this is known as a role email account
Do I need a role address?
There are many different ways in which a role address can be useful. Some examples are:
- To allow multiple people to share a function
- To allow one person to easily keep mail for separate functions apart
- To make the transition between role holders easier
- To make it easier to provide cover for holiday, sick leave or maternity leave
- To provide a short term address for a particular event
Obtaining a role address
If you believe you have a new role for which a specific role email alias or role email account would be useful please email email@example.com and we will discuss your requirement with you. If you’re not sure whether you want an alias or an account we can usually help you work out which will be more appropriate.
Role email aliases
These are handled entirely within the department and once we have agreed a suitable name they usually take around one day to set up. Any changes to the email alias will also take place overnight.
Role email accounts
Whether you need a Role Email Account on Hermes or on Exchange Online (ExOL) will depend partly on what systems the Role Email Account users are currently using. In general we would expect all users of a shared account to be on the same system, although we are aware this is sometimes complicated. However, as Hermes is reaching retirement we are now unlikely to offer any new Hermes role accounts, unless you are in a group with existing Hermes role accounts and cannot yet migrate to Exchange Online.
Hermes Role Accounts
Once we have agreed a suitable name we will contact UIS to apply for the account on your behalf, and you will receive the password from them by UMS in the next couple of days. We can then help you to configure webmail and/or your preferred email program in order to access it in a way which is convenient for you and for anyone else with whom the account is shared. For Windows users we recommend the use of Thunderbird.
Exchange Online Role Accounts
Instead of having a separate password these accounts are accessed using your existing UIS username and password via the Exchange Online System. As for a Hermes Role Account we would need to agree with you a suitable name and email address for the Role Account, we would also need a list of all the people who need access to the account, and we would then be able to apply for the account on your behalf.
Once the account has been arranged you can access it via Outlook or via the Outlook on the web (https://outlook.office.com/). Access to Role Accounts via other clients is more complicated, and this may be a factor in deciding whether Exchange Online is suitable for you and your group.
If someone leaves and should no longer be allowed access to the Role Account then you will need to let us know so we can remove access.
Configuring and using a role address
Role email aliases
You will receive mail to a role email alias in your normal Inbox. If you would like to send mail out using the role email alias in the From: line of the message then see changing email address for advice.
Role email accounts
Generally you will see a role email account as a separate Inbox and set of folders alongside your existing Hermes account. In most mail programs you can move messages between the two accounts simply by dragging them from one account to the other. It’s usually quite straightforward to choose when sending a message whether to use your own account or the role account.
We will always offer assistance in setting these accounts up, but for reference the mail settings used for Hermes Role Accounts for machines on the University network would normally be:
Name: The role’s name, eg “Example Office”
Address: The engineering alias for the account, eg “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Username: The role account’s username, eg “engexoff”
Incoming mail server: imap.hermes.cam.ac.uk – with SSL, on port 993
Outgoing mail server: ppsw.cam.ac.uk – with no SSL and no authentication, on port 25
These settings ensure that correspondents will see outgoing messages as coming from the engineering address, eg in the form:
From: Example Office <email@example.com>
The Outgoing mail server ppsw.cam.ac.uk is only available from the University network. If you will be sending mail from a machine outside this network you will need to contact the IT helpdesk for advice.
Again we will offer help and advice on how to access Exchange Online Role accounts when they are created, however for reference you can add an ExOL Role Account in Outlook using the following steps:
- File -> Add Account
- Enter the mailbox’s name and email address (e.g.
- Leave password fields blank
- When it prompts for credentials, enter your personal
firstname.lastname@example.org address and UIS password
Alternatively you can add the account in outlook.office.com as follows:
- Log in to your mailbox using outlook.office.com.
- At the left, right-click “Folders”, and select Add shared folder…
- In the Add shared folder dialog box, type the email address or name of the mailbox and click Add.
If you have difficulties, or use a different mailer, please contact the IT helpdesk for advice.