How to Create a Gmail Distribution List: Complete 2022 Guide

Gmail Distribution List Creation

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Organizations around the world use Google apps like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and more every day. However, many Google Workspace environments make little use of the many great features of Google Groups, including the ability to create distribution lists (also known as mailing lists).

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As a Google Cloud Premier Partner, we help clients across all industries get the very most out of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). This is why we encourage our Google Workspace customers to use distribution lists. Below, we will make the case for why you should be using these, and show you how to create your first Google distribution list.

 

What is a distribution list?

First, let’s define a distribution list. A distribution list, or “mailing list,” is a function of a Google Group which enables users to send an email to a group of users using a single mailing address.

For example, we at HiView have a distribution list for all HiView employees, all members of the Sales team, and more. Once we select contacts to join the group, our email lists can be used by our team and external users as well. We save a significant amount of time by sending to a single email address.

Users can even enable their distribution list to allow external email addresses, regardless of whether they are attached to a Google Workspace account. For example, your team might create a contact list of newsletter recipients, press release recipients, or external contractors.

Distribution lists should not be confused with Organizational Units, Admin Groups, Shared Inboxes, or Collaborative Inboxes. Things get a bit complicated here, but allow us to explain.

These are defined as shown below:

 

Organizational Units (OUs)

OUs allow Admins to categorize users and devices so that settings can be deployed for the entire group. These are configured in the Admin console and are unrelated to Google Groups.

 

Admin Groups

These are Groups that are created and managed by Google Workspace Admins with the Admin console. Once created, these have nearly all the same functions and capabilities of a regular Google Group. Unlike ordinary Groups, these Groups can be used to configure features or services. Admin Groups can be used to create distribution lists, as explained in the instructions below.

 

Shared Inboxes

Shared Inboxes (also called Service Accounts) are user accounts that are configured to be shared by members of a team. For example, you may want accounting@yourdomain.com to have its own separate inbox rather than functioning as a distribution list. It occupies its own Google Workspace license.

 

Collaborative Inboxes

These are user-created Groups which allow users to receive emails sent to an alias (e.g. support@yourdomain.com) in a central location. Users can claim or assign inbound emails, making it a great solution for Support teams and others who might require the use of ticketing. Unlike Shared Inboxes, these do not occupy a license.

 

Who can create Gmail distribution lists?

A distribution list, which serves as a mailing list in Gmail, can be created by Google Admins and end users. All Google Workspace/G Suite editions include this feature.

 

How to create a Gmail distribution list

Creating a distribution list is fast and simple. Here’s how.

 

For Google Admins:

1. Within the Admin console of your Google account, navigate to the Groups section.

Note: You must have the Groups administrator privilege to complete this. If you do not have this, ask a super administrator to provide you with this or follow the alternative instructions for other users.

2. In the upper-left corner, click Create Group.

3. Enter the requested information for your Group. Below is an example:

Name: All XYZ Employees
Description: This Group includes all employees of XYZ Company. It is used for announcements that concern all team members.
Group email: internal@xyzcompany.com
Group owner(s) (Optional): john@xyzcompany.com, maria@xyzcompany.com

4. Select your Group’s access type.

As previously mentioned, external users can be a part of your distribution list. If you wish to allow external users to join, select Public. If not, select the other option that best suits your needs.

5. Create custom access settings (Optional).

6. Here, you may choose to customize role-based permissions and membership settings.

7. Click Create Group.

8. At the bottom of the screen, click the link to Add members.

9. Add all desired members.

10. Click Add to Group.

 

 

For all other users:

1. Sign into Google Groups.

2. In the upper-left corner, click Create Group.

3. Enter the requested information for your Group. Below is an example:

Name: All XYZ Employees
Description: This Group includes all employees of XYZ Company. It is used for announcements that concern all team members.
Group email: internal@xyzcompany.com
Group owner(s) (Optional): john@xyzcompany.com, maria@xyzcompany.com

4. Select your Group’s access type.

As previously mentioned, external users can be a part of your distribution list. If you wish to allow external users to join, select Public. If not, select the other option that best suits your needs.

5. Create custom access settings (Optional).

6. Here, you may choose to customize role-based permissions and membership settings.

7. Click Create Group.

8. At the bottom of the screen, click the link to Add members.

9. Add all desired members.

10. Click Add to Group.

HiView Solutions

Need assistance?

Our Google-certified Workspace experts are ready to help you with Google Groups, distribution lists, and more. By simply transferring your license billing to HiView as your Google Workspace consultant, you’ll gain access to on-demand professional support services at no cost to you. Contact us  and we’ll be in touch promptly!

 

 

 

Watch our Google Groups Overview (~8 mins)

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