Outlook: Contact Lists VS Distribution Groups

Written by Christopher Lee

Last published at: August 22nd, 2022


  • Outlook Contact Lists (previously Contact Groups) are limited to platform they are created in.

    • In other words, a Contact group created on Outlook for Mac is limited to Outlook for Mac and can not be shared with Outlook for Windows or Outlook for Web.

  • Not easily moved between systems
    • Since not synced between platforms when a device is swapped out groups need to be manual copied over
  • Not enabled by default on Outlook for Mac


  • Central group that only contains accounts in our domain (shakopee.k12.mn.us)
    • Creation:
      • Staff can request a Distribution Group be created via Helpdesk request
    • Management
      • Two options for group membership:
        • Logic controlled - depending on information available through Skyward extract may be able to automate membership, would be treated same as district created groups.
        • Manual controlled - Technology will assign staff member as manage of group. Manager(s) would use SSO portal to manage group membership.
  • Central group that contains accounts outside our domain (shakopee.k12.mn.us) (Ex: Activity/Club groups)
    • Currently do not have a solution at this time but are researching options