How-To Geek

How to Create and Manage Contact Groups in Outlook 2010

If you find you’re sending emails to the same people all the time during the day, it’s tedious entering in their addresses individually. Today we take a look at creating Contact Groups to make the process a lot easier.

Create Contact Groups

Open Outlook and click on New Items \ More Items \ Contact Group.


This opens the Contract Group window. Give your group a name, click on Add Members, and select the people you want to add from your Outlook Contacts, Address Book, or Create new ones.


If you select from your address book you can scroll through and add the contacts you want. If you have a large amount of contacts you might want to search for them or use Advanced Find.

4search contacts

If you want to add a new email contact to your group, you’ll just need to enter in their display name and email address then click OK. If you want the new member added to your Contacts list then make sure Add to Contacts is checked.


After you have the contacts you want in the group, click Save & Close.


Now when you compose a message you should be able to type in the name of the Contact Group you created…


If you want to make sure you have everyone included in the group, click on the plus icon to expand the contacts. You will get a dialog box telling you the members of the group will be shown and you cannot collapse it again. Check the box not to see the message again then click OK.


Then the members of the group will appear in the To field. Of course you can enter a Contact Group into the CC or Bcc fields as well.


Add or Remove Members to a Contact Group

After expanding the group you might notice some contacts aren’t included, or there is an old contact you don’t want to be in the group anymore. Click on the To button…


Right-click on the Contact Group and select Properties.


Now you can go ahead and Add Members…


Or highlight a member and remove them…when finished click Save & Close.


If you need to send emails to several of the same people, creating Contact Groups is a great way to save time by not entering them individually. If you work in for a large company, creating Contact Groups by department is a must!

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 06/2/10

Comments (29)

  1. Jan

    How to delete the same contact from various email groups? Is there a way of doing that without going into each group and manualy deleting that contact? Thanks!

  2. Tim

    Wish someone knew how to take an existing email distribution of 50 or so and turn this list into a group.

  3. Rosalie

    How do I change in my contact list: Filing in list by surname, first name.

  4. khaleel

    Good Info.. Thanks

  5. Sunshine

    How do you combine multiple “group contacts” (formerly known as distribution lists) into one group contact without retyping?

  6. Kristel

    How can I sort members in a group by surname then first name?

  7. Grandpa

    Very helpful – thank you very much. After trying several times to create a group using the “Team” icon and finding that every time I tried to send an email to lots of people it kept asking me to “select a person to send” I was getting VERY frustrated! This is much easier.

  8. Kathy

    If I send a message to multiple groups, will individual contacts that belong to multiple groups receive the message more than once? If so, is there a work around for this?

  9. Merisha

    How do I edit a contact within the distribution list? Right now I have to delete it entirely from the list and then add it as a new recipient. Is this the only way?

  10. mary

    Someone sent me an email with a contact group – I can click on the group and see all the members but have no idea (after trying everything) how to save the group in my contacts? I have office 2010

  11. Stu Anthony

    This is so much better than the forums that assume you know where to click your mouse. By presenting this information with Graphic displays it is possible to actually perform the function you’re looking for. THANK YOU for making it simple for us ‘newbees’.

  12. David

    Why is there not a shortcut to right-click on e-mail address and you can select which group to add it to? MS always make things so complicated. It is a waste of time to go to the actual group every time, then search for the contact to add it. Today technology is so advance one would imagine adding an e-mail address to a contact group should be one click. Perhaps there is a way which I am not aware of.

  13. Geeta

    My outlook express has contacts randomly scattered and entered. My boss wants me to put scattered contacts in the respective groups so that when he wants to send an email to a particular person in a group he can go to that group, pick that person and email him.
    Can you suggest a way I can do that ? I managed to create the contact groups with their members, but when I go to create mail I cannot pick up just one person from that group to email.
    Would appreciate your help.

  14. MLW

    I would like to know how to take the recipients on an email or meeting and put them in a group without having to enter each one separately.

  15. Shevaun

    I seem to get ‘lost members’ a lot and then Outlook ‘repairs’ them, but they lose some of their functionality and lists don’t update properly. Does anyone know why this happens, and how I can repair them properly??

  16. Johnny Green

    Did Tim ever get an answer from 24 Dec. 2010?

    “Wish someone knew how to take an existing email distribution of 50 or so and turn this list into a group”.

    I have a list I wish to amend and save as a different list, retaining the original list as it was; I cannot believe this seems to be so difficult but can find no help on it.


  17. Natalie Eustace

    I did all this a year ago, creating two groups which I then synced to my iphone through itunes.
    Now I am trying to create a new group and I cannot get it to sync to my phone. HELP!

  18. Azam Patel

    Good information. thanx

  19. Margaret

    What I would like to know is this: When entering a new contact the email address is inserted and underneath that is the Display Name and I want only the name to show and not the email address next to it (for privacy reasons). However, when I remove the email address and leave only the name of the contact, then save and close, the email address still shows up next to the name when I send an email. In my group contacts I particularly don’t want members to see the actual email address of another member (for privacy reasons). Even though in the Display Name area of the contact I manually remove the actual email address, it keeps reappearing. Is there a solution to this problem. Your help would be so much appreciated. Thank you. Margaret

  20. Margaret

    Doesn’t anyone answer these queries anymore???

  21. Kevin

    @Merisha , I think you can’t edit a contact in the distribution list. It was possible in Outlook 2003/2007 ….

  22. Nancy

    I have created a contact group and want to send it my manager. Once he receives my email with the contact group – how does he go about saving it to his contacts as a new contact group?

  23. Sebb


    only way I know is to open the e-mail and then drag and drop the attached group to the Contacts.

  24. marina

    I also would like to know how to make a group out of an email sent to me with a large group of contacts. Doesn’t look like people get responses very often here … :(

  25. Kathy

    OK, when I try to send a group to another user it is blank. If I drag the group to Contacts it just trys to add it as the sender….. Can anyone help?

  26. Kathi

    My boss and I share a huge contact list on a Microsoft Exchange Server. We recently had to change servers and had to set up our Outlook email options all over again (including sharing setup).
    Is this the reason why now when we click on Contact Groups, it is not pulling from the shared contact list?

  27. Kim

    I share contacts with another employee and when I place a category label on his contact it does not transfer to his contact list on his Mac.

    Can anyone help?

  28. Mari

    How do a change the members between To and CC. I want one group but some i want to send to and some I only want to CC in. how do i split the members?

  29. Andrea

    Using Outlook 2010 1. How do I move a contact to another group? 2. Can I open a contact and see what groups they are in? 3. Can i see how many contacts are in each group without counting them? 4. If I delete a contact from the main list how can it also be deleted from the groups it is in? 5. Correcting an email address you have to delete the whole thing or is there another way? Thank you I appreciate your help!

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