How to Create an Email Group in Outlook in 7 Easy Steps

Are you wondering how to easily email many people at once in Outlook? You’re in the right place. This guide will show you how to create an email group in Outlook. With an email group, you can quickly send messages to several contacts simultaneously, saving you the hassle of selecting each person individually.

We’ll guide you through setting up an email group in the latest version of Outlook and Outlook 2007, 2010, 2016 and 2019. You’ll also learn how to do this using Outlook in Microsoft 365 or Exchange and on the Outlook mobile app.

We’ll explain the benefits of creating email groups for both your work and personal life. Follow this easy guide to make your email experience in Outlook more efficient and organized.

What is an email group in Outlook?

What is an email group in Outlook?

Outlook’s email group, a contact group, is like a team list of email addresses. It lets you send emails to many people at the same time. This way, you don’t have to type in everyone’s email address whenever you want to send a group email.

Just type the name of the email group, and Outlook will send your email to everyone in that group for you.

Differences between contact group, contact list, email group, and Distribution Lists

Regarding Microsoft Outlook, there’s no difference between a contact group, contact list, email group, or distribution list. These names all mean the same thing and are used similarly.

Interestingly, on the Microsoft Office support site, they mainly use “Contact Group” instead of “Distribution List” in the latest posts. In the Outlook app, you’ll find “Contact Group” used in the Windows version and “Contact List” in the Mac version.

In the older versions (2007 or earlier), it was called as Distribution list. They named it “Contact group” in 2010 and now it is called as email group. These terms show up in the app’s menus, its ribbon, and even in its help guides. So, as we go through the steps below, “Email Group,” “Contact Group” and “Contact List” are the terms you’ll come across most.

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Create email group or contact group in Outlook

We will outline steps to create an email or contact group in Outlook for almost all of its versions, allowing you to send messages to multiple recipients with a single click. With these methods, managing group communications becomes a breeze.

1. Create email group in Outlook’s latest version

These steps work the same in the latest version of Outlook, whether you’re using the beta version on Windows, the regular app on MacOS, or the Outlook website. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Click on “People” on the Navigation bar.
    Click on People
    Click on People
  2. Go to Home, then click on “New Contact Group.”
    Click on New Contact Group
    Click on New Contact Group
  3. In the box that pops up, type a name for your group.
    Type a name for your group
    Type a name for your group
  4. Then select “Add Members.”
    4. Then select Add Members
    Then select Add Members
  5. Select “From Outlook Contacts.”
    Select From Outlook Contacts
    Select From Outlook Contacts
  6. Add people from your address book or contacts list, and click “OK.” To pick several people at once, hold the Ctrl key while selecting.
    Click OK
    Click OK
  7. Click “Save & Close.”
    7. Click Save and Close
    Click Save and Close

2. Send an email to a contact group

Once the contact or email group is created, here’s how you can send email to it:

  1. Go to Home, then choose “New Email.” Click on “To” and enter the name of your contact group.
    Click on To
    Click on To
  2. Click the group name to add it to the “To” field, then click “Send.”
    Click Send
    Click Send

3. Create email group in Outlook 2016 and 2019

If you are using Outlook in slightly older versions of Microsoft Outlook (2016 or 2019), here are the steps you need to follow for the process:

  1. Open Outlook and click the “People” icon at the bottom left in the navigation area.
    1. Click on the People icon
    Click on the People icon
  2. Go to the Home tab and choose “New Contact Group.”
    2. Choose 'New Contact Group
    Choose ‘New Contact Group
  3. Click “Add members” and select “From Outlook Contacts.”
    3. click on Add members
    Click on Add members
  4. If you want to add many contacts simultaneously, press the CTRL key while selecting each email contact from your address book.

    4. Press and hold the CTRL
    Press and hold the CTRL
  5. Name your group, ensuring you’ve added all the contacts you need.
    6. Name your group
    Name your group
  6. Finally, under the Contact tab, click “Save & Close.”
    Click Save and Close
    Click Save and Close

4. Create email group in Outlook using Microsoft 365 or Exchanger

Creating an email group in Outlook with Microsoft 365 or Exchange differs from the regular process. In Office 365 Outlook, you can’t create an email group directly. Only authorized administrators can set up groups in the Admin Center, which is only accessible online.

You must use Exchange Online or the Microsoft 365 Admin Center to create a contact group. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Microsoft 365 Admin Center and look for “Active Teams & Groups.”
    1. Look for Active Teams Groups
    Look for Active Teams Groups
  2. Click on “Add a Group.”
    2. Click on Add a Group
    Click on Add a Group
  3. Select the type of group you want to create. For most cases, choose “Microsoft 365 (Recommended)“. 
    Select the type of group
    Select the type of group
  4. Name your group.
    Name your group.
    Name your group.
  5. Next, click “Add Owners.” Owners can add or remove members, change the group’s name, and more.
    Click Add Owners
    Click Add Owners
  6. Add members to your group.
    Add members to your group
    Add members to your group
  7. Create an email address for the group.
    Create an email address for the group
  8. Click on “Create group.”
    Click on Create group
    Click on Create group

This email group will then be available to everyone in your organization. In Exchange Online, you can create a distribution group by going to Recipients > Groups and following these steps.

Images sourced from KELVGLOBAL ICT.

5. Create email group in Outlook mobile app

If you often handle your emails on mobile, which most of us do, here’s how you can create an email group in Outlook mobile app:

  1. Open the Outlook mobile app and select “Groups” from the folder pane.
    select "Groups
    Select Groups
  2. In the Groups header, “+ New Group.”
    Tap New Group
    Tap New Group
  3. On the New Group page, type a name for the group, add the email address in the “Add members” section, then tap “Create.”
    Tap Create
    Tap Create
  4. You’ll see a welcome mail in your newly created group inbox.
    Group Created
    Group Created

6. Create email group in Microsoft Outlook 2010

In the latest versions of Microsoft Outlook, the process of creating email groups has evolved. If you find yourself using an older version, don’t worry—whether it’s called Distribution Lists, Contact Groups, or simply Groups, the steps to create them remain consistent. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook and navigate to the Contacts tab.
    Click on Contacts tab
    Click on Contacts tab
  2. Click on “New Contact Group.”
    2. Click New Contact Group
    Click New Contact Group
  3. Provide a name for the new contact group, such as “Office Staff.”
    3. Add a name to group
    Add a name to group
  4. Click on “Add Members” to add individuals to the group.
    4. Click on Add Members
    Click on Add Members
  5. Choose the source for adding members: “Email Contact” for manual entry or “Add Members from Outlook Contacts” for existing contacts.
    5. Click From Outlook Contacts
    Click From Outlook Contacts
  6. If selecting from Outlook contacts, double-click on the names of the individuals you want to add. “OK” to confirm your selections.
    Click OK
    Click OK
  7. Click “Save and Close” to finalize the creation of the new contact group for the sales team.
    7. Click Save & Close
    Click Save & Close
  8. Contact group is created.
    Contact Group Created
    Contact Group Created

Images sourced from Howtech.

Why do you need to create email groups? 

Why create email groups?

Using email groups in Outlook brings many advantages beyond just the ease of messaging multiple people at once. Let’s explore the reasons why adding email groups to your communication strategy can be beneficial:

  • Time-saving: You can avoid the hassle of adding individual email addresses each time you need to email a group. Just one click on the email group does the job, saving both time and effort.
  • Better organization: It’s easier to manage your contacts by categorizing them into email groups. You can have separate groups for colleagues, friends, family, or any other category, simplifying your contact management.
  • Reducing errors: Email groups reduce the chance of accidentally missing someone from important group emails, ensuring that your communication is accurate and inclusive.
  • Efficient communication: With email groups, you can quickly reach out to large groups, making them an essential tool for distributing updates, announcements, invitations, and more in a time-efficient manner.

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Final thoughts

Creating an email group in Outlook can significantly streamline your communication process. Whether for personal or professional use, email groups offer a convenient, time-saving, and error-reducing solution for sending information to multiple people efficiently.

We’ve walked you through different methods to create these groups in different versions of Outlook, including for Microsoft 365 and Exchange users. Remember, organizing your contacts into groups simplifies sending emails and enhances the overall management of your digital communications.


How to share a contact group in Outlook?

In Outlook, you can share a contact group by email. First, open Outlook and start a new email. Then, open your Contacts and arrange the Contacts and the new email windows. Drag the contact group you want to share into the email, then send it.

What is the purpose of Contact Groups in Outlook?

Contact Groups in Outlook are used to group many email addresses together. This makes sending emails to specific groups like work teams or friends easier, helping you communicate more smoothly.

Is there a limit to the number of emails that can be added to a Email Group in Outlook?

There’s no set limit to the number of emails in a Contact Group in Outlook, but too many can slow down the program. Keeping groups to around 100-200 email addresses is usually best.

Are contact groups in Outlook private?

Contact groups in Outlook are private by default. Only the person who made them can see them unless they decide to share them with others.

What is the difference between a Distribution list and an Email Group in Outlook?

A Distribution list in Outlook is mainly for sending emails to a list of people. An Email Group has more features. It lets people work together better, not just by emailing but through other tools for teamwork.


Khalid Ali

Khalid is a versatile analyst honing his expertise for the past 5 years. With certifications from Google and IBM to back him up, his knowledge extends far beyond the routine coverage of the latest trends and in the industry.