How to Create a Contact Group in Outlook?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024 by Amit Bansal

In Outlook, a contact group (previously known as a distribution list) is a compilation of email addresses. Instead of typing individual email addresses, you can use this contact group to send an email to all members simultaneously.

Well, in Outlook, you can group these folks. So, instead of picking each person every time, you just choose the group.

Plus, if you get an email and think, “Oh, they should be in my group,” you can add them right from that message. Cool, right?

Currently, what is the process?

Enter the name or email address of the person individually to the To, Cc, or Bcc line, sounds like no problem.

But there is one issue.

  • If you forget some members in the queue.
  • If the list of huge what is the alternative?

In this article, I will guide you through a step-by-step method on how to create a contact group in Outlook Classic, Outlook on the web, and the new Outlook.

This solution is particularly useful for sending emails to multiple recipients simultaneously without the need to type individual email addresses.

Contact Groups Vs Distribution Groups Vs Distribution Lists in Outlook

In general, you can use these terms interchangeably since they serve the same purpose for the most part.

For older versions of Outlook, distribution lists were used. However, they were later changed to groups.

This is because, as they are easier for most users to understand and use than distribution lists.

Create a Contact Group in Outlook Classic [Distribution/Email List]

Microsoft Outlook Classic allows you to create a Contact Group/Distribution List/ Email List/ Email Group (whatever you name all are the same) to manage dozens of team members and send specific email messages designed for them.

How To Make Outlook Group?

First, open Outlook Classic and click on the “Contacts” tab. Next, click on the “New Contact Group” button available in the navigation section.

New Contact Group Outlook Classic

A new window will open asking you to name your group and add members.

To add members, you can either type in their email addresses or click on the “Add Members” button to select them from your contact list.

Add Member in contact

Once you’ve added all the members you want, click on the “Save” button. And that’s it! You’ve now created a group in Outlook.

Save Contact Group

There is an alternative method to create a contact group in Outlook. Let’s also explore this process in detail.

  • Open Outlook Classic
  • From the Home tab, click on “New Items” under the “New” section. You will see a few options; click on “More Items” and then select “Contact Group” from the additional options.
Outlook Group
  • Contact Group window dialog box appears, now it’s time to do some homework.
  • Name your group (for instance – Black Friday Sales). As soon as you name the group, the window automatically names itself.
Add members group

On the Contact Group tab, in the Members group, click the Add Members list and then choose how you can add the member:

There are three ways you can add members.

  • From Outlook Contacts
  • From Address Book
  • New E-mail Contacts

From Outlook Contacts & Address Book

Both options are technically the same, after clicking on the options (Outlook contacts/address book), you will be forwarded to the address book,

You will get a massive list of contacts in your contacts, simply double-click on the connection you like to add to the group, and the name automatically added to the member below: refer to snapshot

Click as many members as possible, you like to add.

From <a href=

After adding members, you can see the email address list on the board, Click Save, and close on the left-hand corner of the page.

You can also remove any member, if by mistake added, by selecting that member and clicking Remove Member from the tab.

Remove Member

From New E-mail Contacts

Once you have added the required members already in your address book, there must be some more members you need to add to the group.

For that, New E-mail Contact options come into play.

How does it work?

When you like to add members through new email contacts, that means your members are not added to your contacts list.

Simply click on Add Members >> New email contacts >> you will be directed to (Add new member form)

add new member

For new contacts, enter the desired display name in the window, insert their email address, and click “OK.” [It is recommended to always check the “Add to Contacts” option], which will save your new entry into your contacts.

Click “OK,” and your contact will be added to the group list. Finally, click “Save and Close.”

What if you need to add multiple email addresses that are not in your address list? Adding new email contacts is a good option, but it’s not suitable for multiple emails. For that, you’ll need a different approach.

You can create a contact list in Excel, and import the list in Outlook (refer to the article – How to Import Contacts from Excel to Outlook?)

How to Add Members to the Existing Group?

After saving the group the same is saved in the contacts on your computer, for more editing like adding more members or selecting an existing one, you have to find the group.

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on people from the navigation section
find the group email

You will find your group, double-click on the group, and you can further add members.

Create a Contact Group in NEW OUTLOOK?

The new Outlook has been introduced, and its interface is almost similar to Outlook on the web. Let’s explore the process of creating a distribution list or contact group.

Once you open Outlook, click on the People icon located in the left navigation section, which is vertically aligned on your screen.

Next, from the Home tab, click on “New Contact” under the “New” section. You will see two options. Click on “New Contact List,” which will open a separate window where you can create a new contact list and add members to it.

Create Group New Outlook

First, name your contact list at the top. Second, add email addresses by clicking on the space provided. You will see all the added contacts, and you can select them one by one to add to the list.

You can also remove an added email address by clicking on the cross sign available on the right side of the email address.

If you need to add an email address that is not in your contact list, you can type the email address manually and click on the “Add” button.

Add Member New Outlook

You can also add a description to your contact list. Finally, click on “Create.” Your contact list will now be created with all the members you have added, either from your list or manually.

When you create a new email and want to send it to all the members of the contact list you have created, simply type the name of the contact list in the “To,” “CC,” or “BCC” section while composing the email.

How to Create Email Group in Outlook Web

The use of Outlook on the web is rapidly increasing. You can also create a distribution list or a group of members by following these steps.

  • Step 1: – Open Microsoft Outlook 365 web, and click on the People icon from the left navigation of your screen. That will take you to a new webpage with your contacts.
People Outlook Web
  • Step 2: – In the People tab, click on All contacts from the left panel, then click on Add to list drop-down list, and click on New contact list.
Contact List
  • Step 3: – Enter the name for the contact list, which will be further added to all contact lists.
Add to List Outlook Web
  • Step 4: – Click on All contact lists, you will get the added contact group here, select that and click ‘Edit’ to add members to the list.
Edit Group Outlook Web
  • Step 5: – In the “Add email addresses” section of the window, type the initials of the person’s email address that will open the list of email addresses added in your Outlook, or type in your contact’s email and click “Add” to add it to the list. To remove an email address from the list, click the cross icon on the right side of the address. Once you’re done making the changes.
  • Step 6: – Add the description required in the description box and Click Save to create.

Your contact list is ready. You can update the contact list by heading over to the All-contact lists section in the People tab.

How does Outlook Send Emails to Contact Group?

Use a contact group (formerly called a “distribution list”) to send an email to multiple people—a project team, a committee, or even a group of friends—without adding each name to the To, Cc, or Bcc line individually.

As usual, creating an email for the group or individual is the same, type the group’s name into CC: or BCC:

A particular group name entry automatically adds all the members of the group, you can double-cross by clicking on the plus sign before the name of the group.

After clicking on the plus sign, the group member’s email address is split, and you can check a separate entry.

How Outlook Send Email To Contact Group

Click send and all your members get the messages. That’s the beauty of Outlook.

How To Merge Two Contact Groups in Outlook

Case Study: I worked in a multinational company (project section), and my job was to coordinate with the team members in different segments.

Execution team, billing team, and majoring team, the work of all the teams is different at some stage but when the billing of the executed work starts, there must be clean coordination among all three team members.

So instead of dealing with the teams separately, Management decided to merge all teams.

For, transparency and proper communication all three groups required a single gateway.

How To Combine Distribution Lists?

There are three simple ways to send the message to the merged or combined group with a single click.

Option A:

While creating a mail, you can simply type the name of all the groups into To: CC: or BCC, when you click on the plus sign of both groups, all the email addresses expand, and the mail is sent to all the members.

Combine Distribution Lists

Option B:

You can create a new group while adding members you can simply add that specific group (instead of any member), that way you add all group members in a single group, name your new group, and the process of mailing is well aware.

Option C:

In the third option, you can edit one group and add another group directly, refer to snapshot – while editing the billing group, and adding more members, I simply added the group with other members, that’s a beautiful example of merging or combining the distribution list.

How To Combine Distribution Lists
Outlook Group List

You can also copy all the members of one group and add all those members by name to another group, that also works but is quite lengthy.

Keyboard Shortcut to Create Contact Group in Outlook

To create a Contact Group List in your Outlook Contact folder, you can directly use Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl + Shift + L.

Create a Contact Group in Outlook (FAQs)

What is the Outlook contact group limit?

Microsoft recommends that Contact Groups are no more than 50 to 70 contacts in length. You can also add further members ion the group, but it might be possible that you get some technical glitch.

How Outlook Contact Group Export to Excel [Application]?

To export a certain contact group from Outlook to Excel, Open contact and double click on contact group, click the File tab >> Save As

  • Select the folder that you will save this contact group into.
  • Enter a name for the exported contact group into the File name box.
  • Click the Save as type box and select Text Only from the drop-down list.
  • Click the Save button.

All contact in the group is exported into text format, you need to transfer the data into an Excel File now:

Open Microsoft Excel Blank sheet, Click File >> Open >> Browse

Click on the All-file drop-down list available on the second box behind the File name and then select All Files (or Text Files). Find your saved file which is visible now then Click Open.

All Files

In the popping-up Text Import Wizard dialog box, make sure the Delimited option is checked, and then click the Finish button. All the contact of the group is now exported into Excel File.

How to Export Contact Group in Excel from Outlook Web?

Open Outlook Web >> Click All contact Groups >> Select the contact group available in the list >> Click on Manage from the top right corner of the screen >> Select Export contacts.

Finally, Click Export contact and all the contacts of that particular group are exported into an Excel file directly.

Export Contacts

Wrap Up

In summary, A contact group allows you to create a consolidated, named email list of contacts. You begin by setting up a group and then adding members to it.

When you create a contact, you can choose whether to make that person a member of one or more groups. You can then view group member’s information in one place.

Also Read:

Amit Bansal

Hello, my name is Amit Kumar Bansal, and I am the founder of MailSmartly.com. Through this blog, I focus on Microsoft Outlook, offering insightful and informative content. Additionally, I produce educational videos on YouTube to further enhance the understanding of my audience. visit my YouTube Channel

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