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Create and manage distribution lists in Microsoft 365

A Microsoft 365 distribution list performs an important function in any organization's environment by making it easy for users to send messages to a group of people without having to pass on the information individually to each of them. This function saves both time and effort, which in turn makes administration more efficient. Distribution groups are the ideal communication and collaboration tool for Outlook Web App users.

Creating a Microsoft 365 distribution list can be done from the Microsoft 365 admin center. You can add both users and contacts as members of the list. You can use Outlook to send an email to a Microsoft 365 distribution list. Remember, you need to be a member to be able to send emails to a distribution list.

Microsoft 365 distribution list management can be done in the Microsoft 365 admin center itself. Once you are logged in as an administrator, you can easily create, modify, and remove distribution groups according to your organization's requirements. For Microsoft 365 distribution list management, the administrator must first locate the group in the system and then make the required changes.

Microsoft 365 distribution lists and M365 Manager Plus

ManageEngine M365 Manager Plus offers a lot of features when it comes to making Microsoft 365 distribution list management efficient.

  • Bulk create: You can create individual Microsoft 365 distribution lists as well as create them in bulk for easy administration.
  • Creation template: You can also use the Distribution/Mail-enabled Security Group Creation Template to ensure that the distribution lists created across the organization follow the same pattern.
  • Modify groups: You can add or remove owners and modify the members of any list in your Microsoft 365 environment.
Management tasks specifically for Microsoft 365 distribution lists (excluding general group tasks)

Distribution/Mail-Enabled Security Group Creation (single group creation)
Distribution/Mail-Enabled Security Group Creation Template
Create Distribution Groups (bulk group creation)
Add/Remove Distribution Group Owners
Modify Distribution Group Members

M365 Manager Plus also provides extensive reports on various aspects of Microsoft 365 distribution lists to help you learn them. With the General Group Reports, Member Based Reports, and Group Usage Reports, you can manage Microsoft 365 distribution lists with a better understanding of them.

Reports specifically for Microsoft 365 distribution lists (excluding general group reports)

Distribution List Members
Distribution Groups

Here are some reasons why you should choose M365 Manager Plus reports

  • M365 Manager Plus provides you with the feature to not only export reports into PDF, XLSX, CSV or HTML formats but also to mail these reports.
  • If the reports contain any graphs, they can be exported as images and also added as widgets to your customizable dashboard.
  • Generating various reports manually often can be a tiresome task. M365 Manager Plus offers you the perfect solution for that by allowing you to schedule reports to be generated automatically at personalized periodic intervals.

Perform Microsoft 365 distribution list management efficiently with M365 Manager Plus.

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1. Microsoft 365 groups or distribution lists—which do I choose?

With the rising use of Microsoft 365 groups, Microsoft 365 distribution lists are slowly losing their popularity.

  • One of the biggest advantages a Microsoft 365 group has is that it can serve the same function as a distribution list and also offer users many additional features.
  • The fact that Microsoft 365 groups also offer a collaboration workspace makes the choice easier.
  • Groups work with SharePoint, Yammer, Teams, and other services, something that distribution lists fail to do.
  • Microsoft 365 groups also provide members with a shared calendar.
  • In the event of an accidental deletion, Microsoft 365 groups can be restored for up to 30 days, while this function is not possible with a distribution list.

You can manage Microsoft 365 groups using both PowerShell and the Exchange admin center. Microsoft 365 distribution list management can also be done with the same solutions. A free Azure Active Directory subscription is enough for creating and using both Microsoft 365 groups and distribution lists, but the free subscription might limit the number of features you get for a Microsoft 365 group. For example, to create a dynamic distribution list, a free Azure Active Directory subscription might suffice but a paid one is required to create Microsoft 365 groups with dynamic membership.

A holistic Microsoft 365 administration solution