Friday, October 18, 2013

Organizational Tip #6 - Creating & Using Distribution Lists for Email Groups

Distribution lists are likely something you have heard of, but perhaps never used or created.  A distribution list is a list of email contacts that you can use to email a group of people while only needing to type in the name of the distribution list.  Creating a distribution list for any group of people you email on a regular basis can be a great time saver.  Many people have distribution lists available to them at work but those lists might not be the only ones that could be helpful to them.  Or, perhaps you might want to use distribution lists at home but do not know how to create them.  This post will show you a few ways you can create distribution lists which will allow you to type in only the name of the distribution list yet send to all of the recipients at once.  Distribution lists can be a huge time saver as well as making sure you never accidentally leave someone off of the list or add someone who does not belong on the list.

Some examples of distribution lists would be for groups of existing or potential customers, all parents in a class you are teaching, all friends that are part of an art group, a book club, or even all of your family members.  Below are two sets of directions for creating distribution lists.  One example uses Outlook, a common email application software.  The other example uses Gmail, a common web-based email application.  Keep in mind different versions of software, as well as different types and versions of web browsers may present you with different options.  For the most part, the options should be the same but perhaps the buttons will be in a different location or in a different order.  The instructions below should provide you enough information to figure out what to select at each option even when the options are a little different.


To create a distribution list in Outlook:

1.  In Outlook, click on the arrow next to New, and select Distribution List.
2.  In the Name box type out a name for the distribution list - Parents, Drawing Group, whatever makes the most sense for the group you are creating so you always know which group you are selecting.


3.  If you are using Outlook at work, you will likely have members in the Global Catalog.  This means you can add members by clicking the "Select Members" button.  You can also add contacts that you have created that exist only in your Outlook Contacts using this same method.  Scroll through the users, and click on each user you want to add, then select the Add button at the bottom.  As you add names you will see them added in the box at the bottom.
4.  If you are creating a group with contacts that are not in the Global Catalog or already listed in your Contacts, you can add email contacts by selecting the "Add New" button.  Once prompted, type in the display name which is an easy to recognize name, and their email address.  Also, to save yourself time, you can check the box to add them to your Contacts by checking the box at the bottom before you click "OK" which will save the contact to your distribution list.


5.  Once you have added all of your members, you will see them listed in the new distribution list box.  Verify all members should be in the list and no one is missing from the distribution list.
6.  Click the "Save & Close" button to save the distribution list.
7.  To use the distribution list, open a new email message, then type in the name of the distribution list to add it to the email message.  Once you send the email message, it will send to each person in the group all at once.

To create a distribution list in Gmail:

1.  From inside your Gmail account, click on the arrow next to Gmail and select Contacts.
2.  On the left, click "New Group".
3.  In the New Group box, type in a name for the distribution list - Parents, Drawing Group, whatever  makes the most sense for the group you are creating so you always know which group you are selecting, then click "OK".
4.  Click on "My Contacts" to view your existing contacts.  You will need to have created, added, or imported in the contacts you wish to add to the distribution list.
5.  Check the box next to each contact you want to add to the new distribution list.










6.  Click the button above the contacts showing multiple people with a plus sign.
7.  From the menu that drop downs, select the distribution list you want to add the contacts to and click the "Apply" button at the bottom of the drop down menu.
8.  Once your contacts have been added, click on the group name to open up the group and verify all contacts selected are listed.










9.  To use the distribution list, open a new email message, then type in the name of the distribution list to add it to the email message.  Once you send the email message, it will send to each person in the group all at once.

As always, good luck and hopefully this tool will be useful in your everyday use.

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