How to create a new distribution group in Exchange Online

This article lists the steps to use PowerShell to create a distribution group in Exchange Online or Office 365 and also compares it with the steps needed to accomplish the same in ADManager Plus, a unified Active Directory, Office 365 and Exchange management and reporting tool, to explore which is the best and simpler option.

Windows PowerShell

Steps to use PowerShell to create a new distribution group.

  • Ensure you have the necessary permissions to create distribution groups.
  • Get the values for all necessary attributes viz., Name, Alias, EmailAddress, Members, etc.
  • Create the script with these values.
  • Execute the script in the PowerShell window.

A sample script to create an Exchange Online distribution group using PowerShell

New-DistributionGroup -Name "Marketing" -EmailAddress "" -Members,
Click to copy entire script

ADManager Plus

To create a distribution group in Exchange Online

  • Select the Create Distribution Groups option from Group Management in Office 365 tab.
  • Select the desired Office 365 tenant, select the CSV file with the details of distribution groups to be created, and click Create.


Create Office 365 Distribution Groups using ADManager plus

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The script mentioned above shows how you can use PowerShell to create new distribution group in Exchange Online. If you wish to use PowerShell to create distribution groups from CSV in bulk, the script has to be modified or another script has to be created.

Limitations of using PowerShell to Create Distribution Groups in Microsoft Office 365

  • You will not be able to create distribution group using PowerShell unless you have the necessary Exchange Online permissions. With ADManager Plus, users privileges in native AD or Exchange doesn't have to be elevated, and they can be allowed to do this operation only in specific OUs or domains.
  • To configure all the other properties of the distribution group or every time you wish to add a new attribute, the script has to be modified. With ADManger Plus, all properties can be configured at once.
  • To bulk create distribution groups in Exchange Online or Office 365 from CSV, the script has to be modified, to include information such as path, or location of the CSV file. With ADManager Plus though, it is offered as a built-in option that's available by default.
  • You must know how to execute the scripts from the PowerShell window. ADManager Plus is purely GUI-based, allowing you to perform all management and reporting actions with just mouse clicks from its web-based console.
  • Even a misplaced hyphen, a typo in the LDAP names or lack of sufficient permissions will lead to errors. As all actions in ADManager Plus are GUI-driven, there is no need to write scripts, eliminating the chances of errors.

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