Creating a Distribution Group in Office 365 – Exchange Online

A Distribution Group (DG) is a group that contains two or more people, has an email address and appears in the Global Address List (GAL) for your company. Internal and External users can send emails to the DG and it will go to all members of the DG. Distribution Groups are easy to create and manage, follow the steps below to create a new Distribution Group.

Login to the Office 365 Admin Center

Click the App Launcher (top left corner)

Click Admin

Open Exchange Admin Center

Click Recipients (1)

Click Groups (2)

Click + (3)

Click Distribution Group (4) (a new window will pop open)

Enter a Display Name (5)

Enter an Alias (6)

Enter the name for the Email Address (7)

Select the SMTP domain (if you have more than one registered in your tenant) (8)

Add Notes (9)

Select the DG owner (this person will be able to manage member of a DG) (9)

Select the DG members (these are the people that email will be sent to) (10)

Select whether owner approval is required to join the group (11)

Select whether owner approval is required to leave the group (12)

Click Save (13)

Modify the Distribution Group so that External Senders can use it (if required)

Select the Distribution Group

Click the Edit Pencil (A new window will open)

Select Delivery Management

Choose the option required for the Distribution Group. If you want to restrict external senders to specific people, then add them to the list.

Click Save


Thanks for visiting and reading my posts. I am always looking for more ideas. Please comment or email me with what you would like to see.

Kelsey Epps

Office 365 MVP

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15 thoughts on “Creating a Distribution Group in Office 365 – Exchange Online

  1. Jack

    Thanks for this page; i have a related question.
    We have a distribution group with 19 members, all internal. The distribution group allows email from external sources. However, one or more of our business partners have apparently configured there automated systems to send to a similar but incorrect address.

    Example: distribution group is, but some systems are sending to (no “s”).

    With a mailbox, I can add numerous alias’ and to resolve this type of problem. Can something like that be done for a distribution group. I would like to avoid 1) creating a mailbox simply to auto-forward, or 2) creating a second distribution group with the same members.
    Thanks for any tips you can offer.

    1. Kelsey EppsKelsey Epps Post author

      There are a couple different options. First, you cannot have multiple email addresses on one distribution group.

      Option 1 – Create another distribution group (hide from the GAL) with the bogus address and then configure transport rules to redirect any email sent from the bogus DG to the actual DG.

      Option 2 – Create a shared mailbox (hide from the GAL and no need to license) with the bogus address. Create an inbox rule on the bogus mailbox to forward all incoming email to the real DG.

  2. Bob Smith

    My company just switched to Office365. One thing we are wondering is if you are part of a group, you do a “reply all” so the other members of that same group know you responded to the external request. Is there a way so that person sending the reply doesn’t also get a copy of it back in her mailbox?

    I know we can set rules to move it to sent items, but there is already an email in there.

    1. Lohith B E

      Hi This is Lohith,

      One of our customer want to know how many distribution groups/Dynamic distribution groups can be created in office 365 for E3 license ??

  3. Lohith B E

    Is there any limitations like 500/1000 or we can create unlimited numbers of distribution group,resource mailboxes like room, equipment?

  4. Rafael

    Can I add a distribution list as an account, I would like to send emails from a distribution list.

    Thank you in advance.

  5. Scott

    How can I add a Mail Contact with a External Address to a Distro Group. My Mail contacts do not show up in the People Picker only my domain users appear.

    Thank you.

  6. Joerg Ewald

    It seems as if Distribution Groups have been disabled in favor of Office 365 groups: When I create a new group, I get the options:
    – Office 365 group
    – Distribution group
    – Security group
    – Dynamic distribution group

    When selecting “Distribution group” (and I tried that several times, to make sure I hadn’t misclicked), I always end up with a new Office 365 group instead! Do you know of any workarounds?



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