How to Send a Message to a Distribution List in Outlook

Save time sending emails with an Outlook distribution list

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 Claudio Scott / Pixabay

Use a distribution list in Outlook to send the same email to a group of recipients. Setting up a distribution mailing list in Outlook is easy. After the distribution list is created, use this list to send messages in Outlook and have them magically go out to all the list members immediately.​​​

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007; and Outlook for Office 365.

How to Send a Message to a Distribution List in Outlook

To send the same email to an entire distribution list in Outlook:

  1. Create a new email message in Outlook. Go to the Home tab and select New Email.

    You can also send a meeting request to a distribution list. Select New Items in the New group of the Home tab and choose Meeting.

  2. Select To.

    A blank email message in Outlook.
  3. Highlight the distribution list.

    Selecting a distribution list from the address book in Outlook.
  4. Select Bcc.

    Selecting to put a distribution list in the Bcc field in Outlook.
  5. In the To text box, type your email address.

    To use a descriptive name in the To field, put the descriptive name in front of your email address and surround your address with < and >. For example, a message to a Phytocodex list would be Phytocodex <test@example.com>.

  6. Select OK.

  7. Compose the message.

    An addressed email in Outlook.
  8. Select Send to send the email to everyone on the distribution list.

Because your email address is in the To field of the message, you will receive a copy. This does not indicate an error.

How to Send an Email Mailing List

Sharing a contact group or distribution list to a person or group of people using Outlook is simple and straightforward.

  1. Create a new email message in Outlook. Go to the Home tab and select New Email.

  2. Go back to the main Outlook window and select People or Contacts from the navigation pane.

    Resize the windows if necessary so you can see both the message and the inbox.

    Screenshot of People in Outlook navigation pane
  3. Drag the distribution list from Contacts into the open message body.

    Screenshot of distribution list attached to email message in Outlook
  4. Enter the recipients to whom you want to send the list in the To field.

  5. Enter a subject and any other information in the message body.

  6. Select Send.

More Flexible List Messages

For more advanced list emails including email marketing with personalized messages, turn to a bulk email add-on for Outlook. Outlook's own merge to email function is another option.