Video: Reach out with contact groups (distribution lists)

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Use a contact group to send an email to multiple people — a project team, a committee, or even just a group of friends — without having to add each name each time you want to write them.

Create a contact group

  1. On the navigation bar, click People.

  2. Under My Contacts, pick where you want to add the contact group. For this example, click Contacts.

  3. Click HOME > New Contact Group.

  4. On the Contact Group tab, in the Name box, type a name for the group.

  5. Click Add Members, and then add people from your address book or contacts list. To add someone who is not in your address Book or Contacts, create or add a person as a contact.

  6. Click Save & Close.

Send an email message to a contact group

  1. Click HOME > New Email.

  2. In the new email message, click To. The Global Address Book is set as the default address book in Outlook. However, you can change the address book. To change the address book, under Address Book, click the down arrow and choose a different address book.

  3. In the Search box, type the name of the contact group.

  4. Double-click the name to add it to the To box, and then click OK.

Want more?

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The ins and outs of BCC

If you often send email to the same group of people, you can save time by using a distribution list, which is called a Contact Group in Outlook.

Instead of typing out everyone's address whenever you email the group, just type the name of the Contact Group.

Here's how to create one.

Click People, then choose the contact folder in which you want to save the list, and click New Contact Group.

If the New Contact Group command isn't available, try a different contact folder, if you have one.

If that doesn't work, see Movie 2 for more options.

Type a name for the contact group and Add Members.

You can add them from your Outlook Contacts, your Address Book, or you can create a New Email Contact.

Make sure Name only is selected. Then, select names in the list and click Members to add them.

Hold down the Shift or Ctrl key to select multiple names.

You can also type email addresses directly in the members list.

Or you can even copy names from other places, such as an email message.

When you finish adding names, clickOK and the names and addresses are added to the contact group.

If you forget someone, don't worry. You can always add more names later. Click Save & Close.

The contact group shows up in the folder list and you can use it just like any other contact.

If you want to use the group in an email, just type the contact group name on the To line.

You can click the plus sign to show all the members of the group, or leave it the way it is, and click Send.

When members receive the email, they see the other members' addresses on the To line, as if you'd entered them all manually.

You can use Blind carbon copy, or Bcc, if you want to hide the names from recipients.

See the Course Summary for more information about using Bcc.

Any time after you create a contact group, you can double-click it in the contacts folder to View or Edit the member list.

You can add more members, or remove members by selecting them in the list and pressing Delete.

Remove the whole contact group by clicking Delete Group.

One more thing you may want to do is share the contact group with an associate. Click Forward Group.

You can send the group As an Outlook Contact.

Or if the contact files are blocked by a user's email system, click In Internet Format(vCard) to send the group in a text file.

A new email message opens with the contact file attached.

Recipients can then drag the Outlook contact file to their contacts folder.

Contact groups can be very useful, especially when you create them in a contacts folder associated with an email account.

Because then you can use them anywhere you can access your email.

For example, we can use the contact group we created in Outlook on a different computer using the Outlook Web App.

However, if Outlook doesn't support contact groups for your email account, you have other options.

Up next, Group contacts using categories.

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