Distribution groups

Distribution groups (sometimes called distribution lists) have been the go-to solution for Outlook Web App users to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and partners. They're still a great solution for Outlook Web App users. But Outlook on the web users (users whose email mailboxes are hosted on Exchange 2016) have a more powerful way to do that now: Office 365 Groups.

Office 365 Groups are similar to distribution groups in that they allow you to communicate with multiple people in one email, but they also come with a shared mailbox, calendar, document library, notebook, and more. Although Outlook on the web users can still use existing distribution groups, when you want to create a new distribution group it will be an Office 365 Group instead.

If you aren't sure which version of Outlook you're using, match your screen to one of those shown here and pick the corresponding instructions.

This is Outlook Web App

This is Outlook on the web

This is what OWA looks like

This is what Outlook on the web looks like

Use Join or leave a distribution group to see and manage the distribution groups you’re a member of.

To join a distribution group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I belong to.

  2. Select Join Join distribution group .

  3. In the dialog box, select the group you want to join. You can search for a group by typing all or part of its name in the search window, and then selecting the search icon search . To clear the search results, select Clear discard .

  4. Select the group you want to join.

  5. Select Join Join distribution group .

To leave a distribution group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I belong to.

  2. Select the distribution group you want to leave.

  3. Select Leave Leave distribution group .

Create and manage distribution groups shows the distribution groups that you’re listed as an owner of. Use it to create new groups and manage existing groups that you own.

To create a new group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I own.

  2. Select New new .

  3. In the dialog box, add the information needed to create your distribution group.

  4. Select Save.

To edit a group or review information about a group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I own.

  2. In the dialog box, select the group you want to edit. You can search for a group by typing all or part of its name in the search window, and then selecting the search icon search . To clear the search results, select Clear discard .

  3. Select Edit edit .

  4. Make the changes you want.

  5. Select Save to save your changes, or Cancel to leave without saving.

To delete a group that you own, find it in the list and select Delete discard .

After you’ve created a group, you can edit it to control who can send messages to it. By default, only people inside your organization can send to distribution groups in your organization’s address book.

To determine who can send to your group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I own.

  2. Select the distribution group that you want to change the settings for.

  3. Select Edit edit .

  4. Select Delivery management.

  5. Choose the delivery management settings.

  6. Select Save to save your changes, or Cancel to leave without saving.

Messages sent to a moderated distribution group can be screened by a group moderator before being sent to all members of the group. If you own a group, you can set up moderation rules for the group.

To configure a moderated distribution group:

  1. Select Settings Settings icon > Options > Groups > Distribution groups I own.

  2. Select the distribution group that you want to make a moderated group.

  3. Select Edit edit .

  4. Select Message approval.

  5. Choose the message approval settings you want and add group moderators.

  6. Select Save to save your changes, or Cancel to leave without saving.

Distribution groups in Outlook on the web have evolved and are now Office 365 Groups. You'll find a Groups node in the navigation pane, and a Groups ribbon for creating and managing all your Office 365 Groups.

You'll find a groups node in the left nav in Outlook on the web

Groups ribbon in Outlook on the web

You can still use any distribution groups you created in other versions of Outlook, but any new distribution groups will be Office 365 Groups instead. See these articles for guidance on how to use Office 365 Groups.

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