Create and edit a Contact Group (formerly distribution lists)

A Contact Group, known in previous Outlook versions as a distribution list, is a grouping of email addresses collected under one name. A message sent to a Contact Group goes to all recipients that are listed in the group. You can include Contact Groups in messages, task requests, meeting requests, and in other Contact Groups.

Contact Group dialog box

There is no maximum number of names that you can include in a Contact Group.

What do you want to do?


Create a Contact Group

  • Create a Contact Group with new names or names in the Address Book    
    1. In Contacts, on the Home tab, in the New group, click New Contact Group.

New Contact Group command on the ribbon

  1. In the Name box, type a name for the Contact Group.
  2. On the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click Add Members, and then click From Outlook Contacts, From Address Book or New Email Contact.
  3. If you are adding a new email contact, enter the information for the person in the Add New Member dialog box.

If you are adding a member from Outlook Contacts or an Address Book, do the following:

  1. In the Address Book drop-down list, click the address book that contains the email addresses that you want to include in your Contact Group.
  2. In the list of names, click the names that you want, and then click Members. You can add names from different address books to the same Contact Group.
  1. Do this for each person whom you want to add to the Contact Group, and then click OK.

The Contact Group is saved in your Contacts folder under the name that you give it.

  • Create a Contact Group by copying names from an email message    
  1. In the message that you want to copy the names from, click the names in the To or Cc box (To, Cc, and Bcc boxes: A message is sent to the recipients in the To box. Recipients in the Cc (carbon copy) and Bcc (blind carbon copy) boxes also get the message; however, the names of the recipients in the Bcc box aren't visible to other recipients.).
  2. Right-click your selection, and then click Copy.
  3. In Mail, on the Home tab, in the New group, click New Items, then click More Items, and then click Contact Group.
  4. In the Name box, type a name for the Contact Group.
  5. On the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click Add Members, and then click either From Outlook Contacts or From Address Book.
  6. At the bottom of the Select Members dialog box, in the Members box, right-click, and then click Paste.

 Note    A member doesn’t have to be in your Address Book to be added to the Contact Group. The member's name and email address are included when you copy and paste from the original email message.

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Add a Contact Group received from someone

When you receive a message that includes a Contact Group that you want to use, you can save it to your Contacts.

  1. Open the message that contains the Contact Group.
  2. In the To or Cc box, right-click the Contact Group, and then click Add to Outlook Contacts.

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Add or delete a name in a Contact Group

ShowShow me the names in a Contact Group

Do one of the following:

  • View the names in the Address Book
    1. In a new message, click To.
    2. In the Address Book drop-down list, click the address book that contains the Contact Group that you want information about.
    3. Browse for the name of the Contact Group, or type it in the Search box.
    4. In the Name list, right-click the Contact Group that you want, and then click Properties.
  • View the names in the header of a message or meeting request
  • In the To box, click the plus sign (+) next to the name of the Contact Group.

 Note    After the list is expanded, you can’t collapse the list again in that message.


  1. In Contacts, open the Contact Group.

 Note    In list views, Contact Groups are marked with the Contact Group Button image icon.

  1. Do one or more of the following:
    • Add an address from an address book or a contacts folder    
      1. On the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click Add Members, and then click From Outlook Contacts or From Address Book.
      2. In the Address Book drop-down list, click the address book that contains the email addresses that you want in your Contact Group.
      3. Browse for the name that you want, or type it in the Search box.
      4. In the Name list, click the name, and then click Members. Do this for each person whom you want to add to the Contact Group, and then click OK.
    • Add an address that is not in a contacts folder or an address book    
      1. On the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click Add Members, and then click New E-mail Contact.
      2. Type the information for the email address, and then click OK.
    • Remove a name    
  • In the list of names, click the name that you want to remove, and then on the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click Remove Member.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010