Compare groups

In the Groups section of the Office 365 admin center, you can manage these types of groups:

Type of group


Where to create it

Office 365 group

Used to communicate, collaborate, and schedule events with colleagues. Users can create, find, and join Groups right from their inbox or calendar and share files on a dedicated OneDrive for Business page. These Groups are typically created by users. Once created, Groups are displayed in the Groups section of the Office 365 admin center. To participate in Groups, users need both a OneDrive for Business license and an Exchange Online license.

Office 365 Outlook, People, Calendar, OneDrive for Business or Office 365 admin center

Distribution list

Used when you want to send email to group of people without having to type each individual recipient's name, distribution lists are organized by a particular discussion subject (such as “Dog Lovers”) or by users who share a common work structure that requires them to communicate frequently. Distribution lists are sometimes referred to as distribution groups.

Office 365 admin center or Exchange admin center

Shared mailboxes

Shared mailboxes in Office 365 make it easy for a group of people to monitor and send email from a common email address, like, or When a person in the group replies to a message sent to the shared mailbox, the email appears to be from the shared mailbox, not from the individual user.

Office 365 admin center, Exchange admin center

Security group

Grant access permissions to a group of users. For example, you could create a group of designers for a SharePoint Online site and then assign read/write permissions to that group. Everyone in the group will be able to view and edit the site. Another example is when setting up mobile device management (MDM), a security group is created for the security policy. Assigning permissions to groups is much faster and more efficient than assigning permissions to individual users one at a time.

Office 365 admin center

Mail-enabled security group

Used to grant access permissions to resources in Active Directory. If you mail-enable the security group, you can send e-mail to all members of that group. For example, if you create a security group that gives members access to the computers in a specific server lab, you may want to send mail to that group to notify them of a power outage in the lab.

Office 365 admin center, Exchange admin center

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