Learn about Office 365 groups

Getting things done at work or school means sharing information and collaborating with others. The folks you collaborate with might be in the next room, across town, or in a different time zone, but with an internet connection and common set of tools, you can get your project done from wherever you call home.

Office 365 Groups is a service developed with collaboration in mind. It works with the Office 365 apps you use already so you can collaborate with your teammates when writing documents, creating spreadsheets, working on project plans, scheduling meetings, or sending email.

Microsoft Teams are built on Office 365 Groups! See Microsoft Teams Help for more information!

What's the difference between an Office 365 group and a distribution list?

A distribution list is a set of email addresses. You can use the distribution list to send an email message or meeting invitation to all the addresses at once. An Office 365 group includes a distribution list but also includes a shared:

  • Document Library for storing and working on group files and folders

  • OneNote notebook for taking project and meeting notes

  • Planning tool for organizing and assigning tasks and getting updates on project progress

When you join a group, your email address is automatically added to the distribution list and you gain access to all group information. You don't have to wait to see group email or view a shared document. You join, you have access to everything, from everywhere: in the cloud, on the desktop, or on a mobile device.

Additionally if you are using your Office 365 group in Outlook or Outlook on the Web, you will get an Inbox for that group that contains all of the group messages and a shared Calendar for scheduling group meetings and events. If you're using your Office 365 group in Yammer, you will use Yammer conversations to exchange those messages among your group.

Check out this video to see Office 365 Groups in action.

Groups featured at Microsoft Ignite!

Here are a few videos from Microsoft Ignite 2016 that you may want to watch in order to better understand how Groups can work for you.

For the full list of Groups session recordings at Ignite please see Office 365 Groups session recordings from Microsoft Ignite 2016.

Private groups vs public groups

When creating a group you'll need to decide if you want it to be a private group or a public group. Content in a public group can be seen by anybody in your organization, and anybody in your organization is able to join the group. Content in a private group can only be seen by the members of the group and people who want to join a private group have to be approved by a group owner.

Neither public groups nor private groups can be seen or accessed by people outside of your organization unless those people have been specifically invited as guests.

Help and how-to

Click the headings below for more information.

Office 365 Groups works on your phone so you can collaborate when you're on the go. Just download the Outlook Groups mobile app from your app store; it's available for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. See Outlook Groups mobile app for system requirements and how-tos.

Which Office 365 plans include Groups?

Groups are available to any Office 365 plan that includes Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Online. This includes: Office 365 E1-E5, Office 365 Academic A2-A4, Office 365 Government G1-G4, Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business Premium and Office 365 Enterprise K1 (Kiosk).

Note: Users who have an Exchange-only license will be able to use the Inbox and Calendar features of groups but won't have access to the other features.

Help and how-to for Office 365 admins

An admin for the Office 365 organization is also knows as the global admin. Global admins don't have to be the a group creator, owner, or member to manage Office 365 Groups. We have lots of help and how-to information written specifically for admins. If you're looking for additional information on how to manage groups see the Office 365 Groups admin page.

See also

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