How to Add Members to a Distribution List in Outlook

Use a new address or existing contact to update Outlook contact groups

Illustration of a person adding a new member to a Distribution List in Outlook

Lifewire / Derek Abella

When you create a distribution list in Microsoft Outlook, it's easy to send a single email to a group of people. Over time, the contacts for the distribution list may change and new people need to be added to the list. There are two ways to add contacts to an existing distribution list: Import contacts that are in your address book or add members to the list by their email addresses.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, and Outlook for Office 365.

How to Add Members to an Existing Outlook Distribution List

To update a distribution list (also called a contact group in Outlook) and add new contacts to the list:

  1. Open the Outlook desktop app.

  2. Go to the Home tab and select Address Book.

  3. In the Address Book window, double-click the distribution list.

    Screenshot of Distribution List in Contacts
  4. In the Contact Group window, go to the Contact Group tab, select Add Members, then choose the location where the contact is stored. If the contact is in your address book, choose From Outlook Contacts. If the contact isn't in your address book, select New E-Mail Contact.

    Screenshot of Add Members
  5. To add existing contacts from your Outlook Contact list, choose the contacts you want to add to the distribution list (hold Ctrl to select more than one contact), then select Members. Select OK to return to the distribution list.

  6. To add a new contact, enter a Display name and E-mail address. Select OK to return to the distribution list.

    Screenshot of Add New Member dialog
  7. In the Contact Group window, go to the Contact Group tab and select Save & Close.

    Screenshot of Save & Close
  8. The distribution list is updated with the new contact and you can now send an email to the distribution list to email all of the members at once.