How to create a contact group in Outlook

Emails are great for digital communication. This is true even for group-communication when you take into account Outlook’s contact group functionality. Contact groups allow users to establish a group of addresses under a custom identifier which can be used to simultaneously deliver messages to each address in the group.

Here’s how you can create a contact group in Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Scroll to “Groups”
  3. Select “New Group”
  4. Enter “Group Name”
  5. Enter “Description”
  6. Add members to group

Don’t worry if that was a lot to take in. The rest of this blog contains a step-by-step walk-through with images. Not only on creating contact groups, but deleting them too. Lastly we’ll cover the benefits of using contact groups. Please enjoy.

Quick links:

Creating contact groups in Outlook

Step 1 – Open Outlook

  • In this example we’ll be using the web-version of Outlook. To follow along, please visit Outlook online and sign-in.

Step 2 – Locate the “Groups” category/folder

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a group already- this folder should still exist. You may find it located at the bottom of your list, so try scrolling if you don’t spot it straight away.

Step 3 – Create a new group

  • To begin the creation process, just click “New group.” Afterwards, you’ll see a pop-out menu with 2 fields. “Group name” and “Description.” The group name and description will be visible to all members added; it’s advised both your group names and descriptions are appropriate.

Step 4 – Add members to group

  • To add a member, simply enter their name, or email address into the text field. Please note that if the name associated with their Microsoft account differs from the one you know them by, you will need to use the different name instead.

Step 5 – (Optional) Message the group

  • After adding members to the group, you will return to Outlook’s default screen. However, your newly created group will be open. Take this opportunity to test everything worked and send the group a message. This can be done via the “Send email” button below the group name.

Deleting contact groups in Outlook

For whatever reason, you might want to delete a contact group at some point in the future. We thought it would be handy to walk through how you can delete a contact group should you ever need to!

Step 1 – Locate and open your unwanted group

  • All groups are displayed in the default groups folder (usually the last folder in your list). To open a group, simply click its name.

Step 2 – Open the group settings

  • The group options can be identified via it’s blue “. . .” icon to the left of the other action buttons. Clicking will produce a drop down from which you may select “Settings.”

Step 3 – Edit the group via the side-panel

  • You may now access the group side-panel. At the bottom you will find a “Leave group” option. If you did not create the contact group, you will only be able to leave the group. As opposed to deleting it. However, if this is your own group, you may access the “Edit group” option.

Step 4 – Delete the group via the editing options

  • At first glance you will notice the editing options provide the ability to alter the group’s name, description and icon. In addition to this, is the more discreetly positioned group deletion button. You may find the “Delete group” button in the bottom right of the pop-out menu. After doing so, you will be met with a confirmation screen.

Step 5 – Confirm your choice

  • If you acknowledge the group conversations, attachments and calendar will be lost, tick the confirmation box. Lastly, select the “Delete” button. This will begin the erasure of your contact group, as well as all of its content. While this choice may be undone within 30 days, failure to do so will result in the irreversible loss of all aforementioned group content.

Benefits of contact groups in Outlook

Initial argument

Sending an email to a large number of recipients frequently is often tedious as you must both recall each recipient’s name and/or address, as well as manually type each one out. This can take varying amounts of time depending on the number of recipients- as a result, it’s not often ideal to be doing a lot. Contact groups aim to resolve this by allowing you to group addresses together for different content.

Practical application

The practical example of this is mailing lists. If you’ve ever signed up for freeware or some form of online service, you’ve likely been asked if you’d like to be added to a mailing list. A contact group can be thought of as a mailing list- in the sense that users can both leave and be added to a group- from which mail can be passed to all inhabitants at once. The only key difference is that mailing lists are typically one-way. Contact groups allow messages to be sent by all members. A way around this could be the use of an automated no-reply email.

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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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