How To Create A Distribution List In Outlook

If you deal with the same group of people in Outlook frequently, chances are you also need to send an email that’s common to all of them.

Instead of manually writing each individual’s email address, you can use a helpful feature in Outlook called “distribution list.” This feature lets you send an email to all of the group members at once.

How to Create a Distribution List in Outlook?

Once you create the distribution list (also known as the contact group list), you just have to enter the group name while composing the new message. Later, you can add/remove members in the group, as you wish, from the Outlook settings.

On Desktop

  1. Open the Outlook app.
  2. Select the People icon in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Under the Home tab, click New Contact Group.
  4. Provide a preferred name for the contact group.
  5. Click Add Members and select From Outlook Contacts. Alternatively, choose one of the other options to include contacts from your address book or create a new one.
  6. On the Select Members Contacts prompt, double-click the contact you want to add. To add multiple contacts, press and hold the Ctrl key while selecting them.
  7. Now, click the Members button.
  8. When done, click Save & Close in the top-left corner.

On Outlook Web

  1. Launch a browser application and sign in to your Outlook account.
  2. Click the People icon from the sidebar.
  3. Then, click the down arrow next to New contact and select New contact list.
  4. Enter the name for the group under the Contact list name.
  5. Under Add email addresses, enter the email addresses of people you want to add to the group and press Enter. To cancel adding the person, click the cross icon next to the corresponding email address.
  6. Provide a description of the group if you want.
  7. Click the Create button.

On Mac

  1. Open Outlook and select the People icon.
  2. Then, under the Home tab, select New Contact Group or New Contact List, depending upon the Outlook version.
  3. On the next window, name the contact group.
  4. Click the Add button and enter the name/email address to add a person to the group.
  5. Click Save & Close.

How to Edit the Contacts Group List?

After creating the contacts group, if you feel someone is missing or you want to exclude a person from it, you can edit it anytime later.

On Outlook Web

  1. After signing in to your Outlook account, click the People icon and select All contact lists.
  2. On the right pane, select the contact list you want to edit.
  3. Click Edit on the top bar.
  4. Enter the email address you want to add and click Add.
  5. Click the cross icon next to the email address of the person you want to exclude from the group.
  6. Additionally, you can even rename the contact list name and edit the description section as well.
  7. Click Save to apply the new changes.

On Desktop

  1. Click the People icon and open the contact group you want to edit.
  2. Under the Contact Group tab, select the member (s) you want to add/remove and click the Add Members or Remove Member from the top bar.
  3. Click Save & Close.

In case you have contacts saved in an Excel file (CSV format), you can import and add them to the contact group list on Outlook using one of the above methods.

How to Send Emails Using the Contact List Group?

Once you create the contact group, it’s synced across another platform (web app) as well. So you can access it to send emails to all group members. The process is similar to how you used to send emails to an individual email address.

  1. Select the Inbox icon and click New Email to compose a new message. On Outlook web, click New Message.
  2. Now, type the group name next to the To field. As you type, Outlook will suggest individual contacts along with the contact list name.
  3. Select the contact group from the recommended list.
  4. Fill in other necessary fields and click the Send button.

If you send the mail to a contact group, all members can view each other’s email addresses which can be a privacy issue. To avoid it, enter the contact group list name next to BCC instead of the To field.

The Contact List Option Is Grayed Out on Mac

In case you can’t seem to access Contact List from the File menu, you need to enable it in the preferences.

  1. Launch Outlook and click on its icon.
  2. Then, select the Preferences option.
  3. Under the Personal Settings option, click on General.
  4. Next, uncheck the Hide On My Computer folder checkbox under Sidebar.

The above option isn’t available in newer Outlook for Mac as Microsoft is upgrading it. Instead, you can revert to the older version of Outlook to resolve the issue. You can do so by selecting Help > Revert to Legacy Outlook.

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