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Create a contact group or distribution list in Outlook for PC

Use a contact group (formerly called a “distribution list”) 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 to the To, Cc, or Bcc line individually.

For information about contact groups for Mac, see Create a contact group in Outlook for Mac.

  1. On the Navigation bar, click  People.

  2. Under My Contacts, select the folder where you want to save the contact group. Usually, you'll select Contacts.

  3. On the Ribbon, select New Contact Group.

  4. Give your contact group a name.

  5. Click Add Members, and then add people from your address book or contacts list.

    Add members to a new group

    Note: To add someone who is not in your address book or contacts, select New E-mail Contact.

  6. Click Save & Close.

    To learn how to use your new contact group, see Send an email message to a contact group.

If you’re always emailing the same group of people, you can create a contact group (previously called a distribution list) that includes all of the recipients by using a previous email that you sent to them. Then, the next time you want to contact them or schedule a meeting with them, you can add the contact group to the To line of your message, instead of adding each person individually.

  1. Open an email that was sent to the people you want to include in the contact group.

  2. In the To or Cc box, highlight all the names with your mouse.

    Select the people in the email message

  3. Right-click your selection, and then click Copy, or press Ctrl+C.

  4. In the main Outlook window (not in the opened email message), click People on the Navigation bar.

    Click People

  5. Click New Contact Group.

    Click New Contact Group on the Home tab

  6. Type a name for your contact group, like Special Projects.

  7. Click Add Members > From Outlook Contacts.

    Add New Members from Outlook Contacts

  8. In the window that opens, right-click inside the Members box, and click Paste, or press Ctrl+V.

  9. Click OK.

    The people from the email will appear as a list of members for your contact group.

    Your new contact group should now contain people

  10. Click Save & Close.

Contact groups show up in your list of contacts, along with individual people. You can tell the difference by the icons that appear to the left of the names in List view. The card icon is for individual contacts and the people icon is for contact groups.

People icons are for contact groups, and card icons are for individuals

Finally, you can always add people or remove people from the contact group later.

If you have a lot of business or personal contacts that you keep in an Excel spreadsheet, you can import them straight into Outlook.

Then you can create a contact group (formerly called a “distribution list”) using the imported contact information.

Unfortunately, you can't import a list of contacts from Excel directly into a distribution list, but you can import the contacts into your Contacts folder, then use the instructions above to create a distribution list from those contacts.

For information about importing contacts from Excel, see Import contacts to Outlook.

See also

Add people to a contact group

Change what appears on the Navigation Bar

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