How do I manage Distribution Lists in Office 365?


Office 365 distribution lists have the ability for an "Owner" (or owners) to be assigned, so they can manage multiple facets of the group.  Owners can modify the members within the group, the name, and whether or not to have the group be moderated to name a few.  Even though you can modify the group membership through an Outlook client, the below information is going to focus on OWA ( since this is where all the options can be found.


Step 1:  Start by logging into Microsoft 365 ( with your credentials.

Step 2: Once you are logged in, go to to manage your distribution lists.  

Step 3: Select "Distribution groups I own" on the right-hand side of the screen.  Below that you will see a list of groups that you are assigned as an Owner, or you can use the search field to find a specific group (in case you happen to be the Owner of many distribution groups).  To edit the group, you can either double-click on it, or you can simply highlight the group and click the "edit" icon (looks like a pencil).

General tab:  From the General tab, you have the option to change the name of the distribution group or add Notes.  The "Alias" and "Email address" fields are grayed out, because that impacts the email address of the group, and that needs to be done by a Messaging Administrator.  The Display Name is how the group appears in the Global Address List, so any changes to the name may prevent others from being able to find it without communicating the change ahead of time.

Ownership tab:  In the Ownership tab, you have the ability to add other owners or even remove some.  Anybody listed as an Owner will then have the ability to do anything described in this article.

Membership tab:  Using the Membership tab, you can add and remove individual people or even other groups.

Membership Approval tab:  The Membership Approval tab is where you'll set the permissions for how others can be added to the group as members.

Open:  People can use OWA to search for groups and add themselves as members

Closed:  Owners are the only people who can manually add other members

Owner approval:  People can use OWA to search for groups, request to join, and then the Owner(s) receive an email for the request.  They can choose to approve or reject from there.

OPTIONAL Membership Approval tab:  If you set your group as Open or Owner Approval, the below information will show you how somebody can join or submit a request to join your group.

People can go into OWA, then go to Settings (the gear icon) > Options > Groups.  On the left side of the screen they'll see "distribution groups I belong to", and below that is the "Join" option (circled in red below)

After clicking "Join", the screen below will appear.  People can enter words in the text field to bring up a list of groups that match.  This is where they would highlight the group and click the "Join" button.

Delivery Management tab:  The Delivery Management tab is where an Owner can restrict who is allowed to send email to the group.  Individual people can be added, or even other Exchange distribution groups.  In the example below, only members of the group would be allowed to send to the group.  All other senders would receive a bounce message saying their message was rejected due to not having permissions.

Message Approval tab:  The Message Approval tab can be used for moderator purposes.  Once you check the box below, messages sent to the group would actually go to a specified moderator (or moderators) to approve or deny the message being sent to the members.

Group moderators:  The first field would be where you enter the people in charge of moderating any messages sent to the group

Senders who don't require message approval:  There's also an option here that allows you to specify people who don't require a moderator to approve the message.  Emails sent by folks in the second field allows them to send directly to the group and bypasses moderator approval.

Below the two text fields, you also have options for how you'd like to notify the senders if the moderator rejects the message.  The top two options will notify the sender that their message was rejected, whereas the bottom option will silently reject the message.

We're skipping the Email Options tab, because all that shows are the email addresses associated with the distribution group (that cannot be changed by any Owners).

MailTip tab:  The MailTip tab is where an Owner could put some text in that potential senders would see before an email is sent to the group.  However, MailTips are only seen by those using Outlook or OWA (this is the same as sending an email to somebody in Outlook and you see their Out of Office message before sending), so this would be an option that is not used frequently.


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Article ID: 292
Tue 5/30/23 3:41 PM
Tue 5/30/23 3:42 PM

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