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Setting Up Distribution Lists in Mozilla Thunderbird

Hettie from Vancouver writes:

Can Mozilla Thunderbird make a “group list” of addresses so I can send messages to specific groups?

Making a group or distribution list is an important skill to have when it comes to sending the same message to multiple people on a regular basis.

Even with all those people in your address book, it gets tiresome choosing them one at a time and we all know that someone always seems to be left out of the list.


So to avoid that problem we set up a distribution list – a named list of people from our contacts that we address the message to so that Thunderbird will send it to everyone you’ve designated as a member of the list.

You only have to address it to a single name and you can’t possibly forget someone unless you never added them to the list.

Sounds like an all-around winning situation to me, so let’s take a look.

I’ll begin by stating that my instructions and pictures are coming from Thunderbird 9.0.1 so that there’s no guessing at the version.

To start you’ll need to go to your address book.

Once there click the New List button.


When the mailing list dialog box opens you’ll need to name your list at the top


… and add the members of the list at the bottom.

As you can see, the naming part can be very simple or more detailed depending upon how you use the 3 fields at the top.

When adding members to the list simply start typing a contact’s name like you would to address a message. When either the correct address is suggested in the blue highlight or you’ve finished typing the address hit the Enter button.

This will move you to the next line in order to add another person to your list.

When everyone is there click OK.



In your contact list you can now see the distribution list as an entry.

To edit it (add or delete members of the list) simply double-click the name in the contact list to re-open the same dialog box we used when it was first created.

That’s all there is to it… one small dialog box and you’ve got endless combinations of distribution lists to meet all your needs.

~ April