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How to Set Up a Distribution List in Outlook

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When you've just become grandmother, signed a contract with a major label or found an ancient engraving trying to plant a tree, don't you want to tell as many people as possible?

Getting the message out, that's what mailing list are for. In Outlook, such lists are (quite appropriately) called "distribution list". Using such a distribution list, you can then send an email to a group of people easily. But first, let's find out how to set up a mailing list in Outlook — easily (that goes without saying).

Set Up a Distribution List in Outlook

To set up a mailing list in Outlook:

  • Select File | New | Distribution List from the menu.
    • Alternatively, hit Ctrl-Shift-L (think list).
  • Type the desired name under Name:.
    • The list name is what you will use to address messages to the list.
  • Now, you can add new members immediately using the Add New... and Select Members... buttons.
  • Click Save and Close.

Mail Your List from Outlook

With your distribution list in place and ready, you can start sending messages to its members.

Categories as Distribution Lists

If you find Outlook's distribution lists a bit unstable, arcane and separated from your main list of contacts, you can use contact categories to form elegant mailing lists.

Better Outlook Email Marketing

For more advanced list mailing that allows for each recipient's address to be in their message's To: field and personalization, you can turn to an email marketing add-on that integrates with Outlook. Outlook's own merge to email function is another, albeit a bit clumsy, option.

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