Emailing Groups of People

There are multiple options available for emailing groups of people.


  • Listserv's primary function is to send email messages to a large number of people at the same time.
  • Listserv can be used to send email to both OU and non-OU email accounts.
  • Depending on the settings, users can add/remove themselves from the list.
  • Owners of the list can manage their list by using the instructions found in the Manage a Current Listserv article. Additional information on how to manage a Listserv is located in the manuals that are linked out of
  • Listserv lists that originate with OU will have an address that follows the naming scheme of or
  • If you need a group for just OU mail accounts or if you also need the group to manage special permissions to OU systems or services, you should consider using an AD Distribution List, of which more information can be seen by visiting the Service Catalog form for Distribution List.
  • More information on requesting a Listserv or changing a Listserv owner may be found on the Listserv Service Catalog form.


AD Distribution List

  • Distribution Lists are groups of users within Active Directory (AD) that, similar to Listserv, can be used for the purposes of sending multiple users a message at the same time.
  • Distribution Lists are also sometimes referred to as a "DL", Distribution Group, or AD Group.
  • Distribution Lists can also have the option of being displayed in the Exchange Global Address List (GAL), or not, according to your preference.
  • A Distribution List is created within Active Directory and is used to both assign multiple users permissions for certain systems, as well as to send email messages to a large number of recipients at once. If you need to have a group created containing only OU/OUHSC email addresses, that may also be used to assign permission for systems, this is an excellent choice.
  • Owners of a Distribution List have the option to allow incoming email from all email addresses or just those with an email address. 
  • Owners of a Distribution List can specify which OU users are allowed to send emails to this DL by specifying in
  • Membership of AD DLs is managed by the owners of the group via Members cannot add/remove themselves.
  • Differences from Listserv:
    • They can also be utilized to assign users special permissions to access certain applications.
    • These groups are only able to contain OU and OUHSC accounts as members; external accounts and email addresses are not supported.
  • Visit the Distribution Group Service Catalog page for more information. 


Mailing List in Outlook


Microsoft 365 Distribution List/Group

  • Similar to AD Distribution Lists/Groups. However, they only exist in Microsoft 365 and cannot be used by OU IT to assign permissions/privileges to other university systems. 
  • Created by users. OUIT can see these, but does not create or manage them.
  • Have an email address of (not to be confused with managing AD Distribution Lists at
  • Creating these groups also creates corresponding workspaces in Microsoft Teams and OneDrive.
  • Visit this article for instructions:


OU Mass Mail (OUMM)

  • Any faculty or FTE can login at to send a mass mail to students.
  • Filters can be added by classification, college, campus, major, etc.


3rd Party Mail Service

  • If none of the above options meet your needs, you may need to look into a 3rd party mail service, e.g. Mailchimp
  • If you need assistance, please speak with your local on-site IT support.


Deciding which option to use:

Will you email OU accounts only, or both OU and non-OU accounts?

  • OU/OUHSC Only: any option in this article can work
  • OU and Non-OU: Listserv, Outlook Mailing List, or 3rd Party

Should users be able to add or remove themselves from the list?

  • If yes, Listserv is the only option.

Will this group/list be used to manage special permissions to OU systems or services?

  • If yes, AD Distribution List/Group is the only option.


What type of group are you emailing?

  • To email specific groups of people that are defined by an attribute, such as major, gender, college, or campus, consider OU Mass Mail (OUMM). This service is not available to be utilize by all OU users (such as students).
  • If you want to simply avoid typing every recipient email address every time and want to have full control over your list (from creation to editing to deletion) then try creating a group in Outlook.
  • For use on a class project for collaborative space, consider an Microsoft 365 group for full integration with other O365 suite applications, such as Teams.


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Article ID: 1743
Tue 3/9/21 5:01 PM
Wed 5/8/24 5:25 PM

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