Create and use distribution groups

As an Office 365 Small Business admin, you can create and manage distribution groups for your organization. A distribution group is a collection of two or more people that appears in your organization’s address book. When an email message is sent to a distribution group, it goes to all members of the group.

 Note    If you are not an admin, see People overview and Distribution groups for information about how to use distribution groups.

Internal users (users that have a mailbox in your organization) and external users (people that don’t have a mailbox in you organization) can be added as members of a distribution group. However, only external users that have been added to your organization’s address book (also known as shared contacts), can be members of a group. For information about how to add external users to your organization’s address book, see Create and use shared contacts.

Why use distribution groups?

  • They make it easy to send an email message to lots of people at once.
  • They help people inside and outside your organization communicate and collaborate more easily. You can specify which users in your organization can send email to a distribution group. You can also specify whether users outside of your organization send email to a distribution group.
  • If you or someone in your organization sends email to a lot of users at once, send to a distribution group so you don’t exceed the maximum number of recipients per message.

Create a new distribution group

To create a new distribution group, follow these steps:

  1. In the header, click Admin, and then under Users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. On the Users & groups page, click Groups, and then click Add new group Add.
  3. On the Add a distribution group page, enter the following information:
    • Group name   This name appears in the address book, on the To: lines in email and on the Groups page. It's required and should be user-friendly so people recognize what it is.
    • Email address   Enter the email address for the group. It's required. Email sent to this address is forwarded to all members of the group.
    • Description   Use this field to describe the group so people know what the purpose of the group is.
  4. If you want to let people inside and outside of your organization send email to this group, select Let people outside of your organization send email to this group. If you don’t select this, only people in your organization can send email to this group.
  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Add members page, click Add new member Add to add people who will receive messages sent to this group. You can add internal users (users with mailboxes in your organization) and external users to a group. Only external users that have been added to your organization’s address book (also known as shared contacts), can be members of a distribution group. For more information, see the introduction of this article.

 Note    By default, the admin who creates a group is automatically added as the owner of the group. People who are listed as owners of a group can make changes to the group. Shared contacts can’t be owners of a group. After you create a distribution group, you can change the list of owners.

  1. In the search field, type a person’s name and then click Search Search. The person is added to the list of members.
  2. When you’re done adding members, click Finish.

Manage an existing distribution group

After you create a distribution group, you can make changes to the distribution group whenever you want. You can make the following changes to an existing distribution group:

  • Change the name, email address, or description.
  • Add or remove members.
  • Add or remove owners. A group must have at least one owner. People who are listed as owners can make changes to the group in Outlook Web App. Shared contacts can’t be owners of a group.
  • Make other settings changes for the distribution group. For example, you can specify which users in your organization can send messages to the distribution group.

 Important    If you are an admin, you can edit some settings of a distribution group from the Office 365 admin center. For example, you can edit the list of member or owners. If you are the owner of a group, you can make additional changes to a group from Outlook Web App settings.

Manage a group from the Office 365 admin center

If you are an admin, follow these steps to make changes to an existing group.

To add or remove a member:

  1. In the header, click Admin, and then under Users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. On the Users & groups page, click Groups, select a distribution group, and then click Edit Edit.
  3. To add a new member, under Members, click Add new member Add. In the search field, type a person’s name and then click Search Search. The person is added to the list of members.
  4. To remove a member, under Members, select one or more members to delete, and then click Delete Delete.
  5. When you’re done, click Save.

To add or remove an owner:

  1. In the header, click Admin, and then under Users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. On the Users & groups page, click Groups, select a distribution group, and then click Edit Edit.
  3. To add a new owner, under Owners, click Add new owner Add. In the search field, type a person’s name and then click Search Search. The person is added to the list of owners.
  4. To remove an owner, under Owners, select one or more owners to delete, and then click Delete Delete.
  5. When you’re done, click Save.

To delete a distribution group:

  1. In the header, click Admin, and then under Users & groups, click Add users, reset passwords, and more.
  2. On the Users & groups page, click Groups, select a distribution group, and then click Delete Delete.

Manage a group from Outlook Web App settings

If you’re a group owner, you can manage the membership and ownership of a group from Outlook Web App settings. You can also manage additional settings for the group.

  1. In the header, click Outlook > Settings settings > Options > Groups.
  2. Under Distribution groups I own, select a distribution group, and then click Edit Edit.
  3. Select the setting you want to change. The settings include: Ownership, Membership, Membership approval, Delivery management, Message approval, Email options, and MailTip.
  4. Make any changes to the group.
  5. When you’re done, click Save.

What if I want to know more?

You can assign a user permission to send email from a group. For example, if you have group named Contoso Sales, you can assign one of the users in your organization Send As permissions for that group. After you assign the permissions, the user can send email and make it appear as if it was sent by Contoso Sales. For information, see Sending email from another person's mailbox or from a group in Office 365.

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Applies to:
Office 365 operated by 21Vianet - Small Business admin, Office 365 Small Business admin