Create and manage distribution groups (Exchange Online)

Note this article applies to Cloud only environment where AAD sync is not in place, If the AAD sync is in place you can use the AAD sync to replicate the DLs and manage the membership in the on-premise only, but there is a drow back of it that DL owner would not be able to manage the DL directly from the outlook. 

Managing DL on-prem is only suggested if you are using any third party tool or The Microsoft Identity Management tool for Identity Management, if you do not have the same setup, I would suggest keeping the DLs cloud only, so users could manage them from the outlook itself.

Apart from that, I would suggest that we utilize the new Unified Groups in place of DLs, which has great new features and integrate itself with SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

Anyways this article is about the Distribution Group management in Exchange Online, I will discuss the Unified group is a different post. 

So further not to waste the time anymore, let's discuss how to setup and Manage DLs in Exchange Online.

So, There are two types of groups that can be used to distribute messages:

  • Mail-enabled universal distribution groups which are also called distribution groups, they can only be used for message distribution
  • Mail-enabled universal security groups they are called security groups and can be used to distribute messages as well as to grant access permissions to resources in Active Directory.
Setting up a Distribution group is very simple process, in this post I will cover the process using the PowerShell and that is how the real admin's do it :)

Use the Shell to create a distribution group

Run the below cmd to set up a DL for HR team, this DL is open to anyone and anyone can join this group without approval by the group owners.

New-DistributionGroup -Name "HR Notifications" -Alias HRnitifications -MemberJoinRestriction open

Further, we can set the DL properties using the Set-DistributionGroup

Use the Shell to change distribution group properties

Let's enable the moderation for the distribution group "Customer Support" we will set "Raj" moderator of this DL. Further, If the message is not approved by the moderater the sender within the organization will be notified.

Set-DistributionGroup -Identity "Customer Support" -ModeratedBy "Raj" -ModerationEnabled $true -SendModerationNotifications 'Internal'

We can change the other settings as well using the same cmd, for more information please visit the TechNet article here.

To Further review different DL attribute and settings, we can utilize the Get-DistributionGroup cmd.

I hope this post was informative for you, and you found it useful, please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below.