When you create a distribution list, you can include addresses from several different sources.  It’s typically easier to create a distribution list when all the addresses already exist in an address book or Global Address List but doing so isn’t necessary.  You also can add new addresses to a new distribution list on the fly.

Creating a Distribution List

  1. Open the Contacts folder by clicking on the Contacts folder in the Navigation Pane.
  2. Click the New Contact Group icon.
  3. Type a name for your distribution list in the Name text bar.
  4. Click Add Members.
  5. To add members to your distribution list, you can type an email address or choose one from your Contacts or the Global Address List. Click Add Members.
  6. Select which option you wish to use, either From Outlook Contacts, From Address Book, or New E-Mail Contact.

    When you select "From Address Book", the Global Address List will open.  Select each member you want to appear on your distribution list by using the Search box to find the person and then clicking on the Members button.  You can select multiple names (CTRL + click or SHIFT + click) before clicking the OK button.  You can also type an email address in the Members field.

    When you select "From Outlook Contacts",  your list of contacts will display.   Select the contact(s) you wish to add and click the Members button.   You can select multiple names (CTRL + click and SHIFT + click) also. Click OK to add the members.

    When you select "New E-Mail Contact", you can add a member who isn't in the GAL or your Contacts.   Type a Display Name for the new address and type the email address.   If you wish to add the address to your Contacts, click the box marked Add to Contacts.  Click OK to add the address to the list.

  7. Click Save and Close to save your new list.

Creating a New Message to Send to a Distribution List

To use a distribution list to send email, you can right click the distribution list and select Create | Email .  Distribution Lists are shown in bold in your Contacts folder.  You can also create a meeting request to a distribution list by right clicking on the list and selecting Create | Meeting

You can also select New Items | Message.  Then click the To: button and select your distribution list from the Contacts folder or type the distribution list name in the To: field.  You will need to change the Address Book to Contacts if it is set to Global Address List.

Modifying a Distribution List

  1. Double click the distribution list in your Contacts folder.
  2. To remove a name, highlight the name and click Remove Member in the Ribbon.
  3. To add a name, click Add Members and follow the steps as instructed above.
  4. Click Save & Close to save your changes.

Dynamic Distribution List

This is for the situation where you  want to send a message to the list but not to certain individual members.  You might want to use this feature if you were planning a surprise retirement party for someone in the office.  You can send a message to the entire list and remove that one person..

  1. Create a new message to send to your distribution list as instructed above.
  2. Expand the list by clicking on the plus sign in front of the distribution list name.  (You may want to select and drag the distribution list to the Bcc field so that recipients will not see the other names on the distribution list.)
  3. A pop-up window will appear to let you know that an expanded list cannot be collapsed.
  4. Delete the individual names that you want to exclude.  Complete and send the message.
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Last updated: 
July 25, 2016