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Distribution Lists in Outlook

Do you frequently find yourself addressing your Outlook e-mails to the same group of people? You know, over and over again, you end up building the “To” field with the same set of names. Tired of repetitive work?

If you answered yes, then I’ve got good news for you! What you need is to set up a distribution list for that group of people. With a quick few clicks, you’ll be down to one name, but the e-mail will still be sent to the entire group.

Regardless which Outlook version you’re using you start with the File menu, New submenu, Distribution List choice. (Ctrl + Shift + L works too).

In the Distribution List dialog box give the list a meaningful name in the “Name” field at the top.


Now, it’s time to add members to your list. Click the Select Members button. (In older versions of Outlook the button is below the name field. In Outlook 2007 you’ll find it above the field on the Ribbon.)

Again, we’ve got to make a distinction between Outlook versions…

Older versions of Outlook:

In the Select Members dialog box, highlight the contacts you need on the left side list and click the Members button to move them into the Distribution List on the right.

Click OK when all the needed addresses are on the right side of the window.

Outlook 2007:

The Select Members dialog box will present you with a list of contacts at the top. Select the contacts to be added to the list – either one at a time or use the Ctrl and Shift keys to make multiple selections at one time.

You will find the Members button at the bottom of the dialog box. Click the button each time you want to add the selected contact(s) to the distribution list.

Click OK when all the needed addresses on in the Members field at the bottom.

If you have members to add to the list that are not currently in your Contacts, just click the Add New button.


In this window, you can enter a new address that should be added to your distribution list. You can also add a display name for the address and don’t overlook the check box at the bottom which allows you to add this new address to your contact list from this entry.

Click OK to complete the addition.

When everything is set, click Save and Close.


Next time you try to send an e-mail to that group of people, address the e-mail to your distribution list and all the members of the group will receive it, with no individual addressing required!

~ April