Creating a distribution group naming policy in Exchange Online

Setup an office 365 group naming convention policy in office 365.

Unified groups in office 365 is a new alternative to the distributions groups and comes with a lots of others features, which users can setup from their mailbox itself, and if there is no naming policy there is risk of having a lots of unstandardized Groups, and with the unstandardized names groups are a pain for the Exchange admin to Manage, hence it’s the best to apply naming standard for the DLs, so to solve this issue Exchange online provide options to setup Group Naming Policy, In this article we will learn how can we setup the group naming policy.

A group naming policy:
  • Enforces a consistent naming strategy for groups created by users.
  • Identifies distribution groups in the shared address book.
  • Suggests the function or membership of the group.
  • Identifies the type of users who are likely members of the group.
  • Identifies the geographic region the group is used in.
  • Blocks inappropriate words in group names.
When a user creates a group, they specify a name in the Display Name field and if the Group Naming policy is setup, Microsoft Exchange applies the group naming policy by adding prefix or suffix that the admins have defined. 

Example: In the below example a User type the Group name to be as “Sales_Team” after the group policy was applied its display name would appear as below.


We can specify a specific prefix and suffix to be added to the Group name to be created and can block specific words to be used in the Group Name, which eliminates the use of inappropriate words in group names.
  • The maximum length for a group name is 64 characters includes the prefix and the suffix.
  • The group naming policy is applied only to groups created by users. 
  • Its recommend that an underscore character (_) or some other placeholder character is used between group name text strings.
  • Windows PowerShell or ECP can be used by admins to override the group naming policy as and when needed. 

Creating A Group Naming Policy

Below are the steps to setup the group Naming policy.
Open the Exchange Admin center, (
Go to Recipients, Groups 

Click on “…” and select “Configure group naming policy”

A new Configuration pop up windows will be opened, Add the attributes you want to be added to the Group Name prefix and suffix.

Next, you can go the “Blocked words” and add the words you wish to block to be used in the Group names.

And then click on Save, now you have successfully setup the group naming policy.
If you wish to edit the Group Name policy settings, you can follow the same steps.

Let’s now see how users will see the impact of the Group name policy when users try to setup any New Group.

To setup a new group click on the "+ Create" or drop down from "+ New" main menu in Outlook on the Web.

Now if I try to setup a group with the letters which are blocked to be used by the policy I see the below error.
And the name and the email address has automatically been updated with the prefixed and the Suffix.

Now lets me setup a group for IT team.

Note: The policy is only Enforced for the end user, and is ignored when used ECP.

The example below, when trying to setup a new group form ECP no Group Name policy enforcement.

So, this is how a Group Naming policy can be setup in office 365 Exchange online environment.

This complete this post, where we learned about Group Naming policy and how can we setup a Group Naming Policy, and we also setup a new group after we setup the Naming policy and reviewed how it changed the Group email address and Display Name. I hope you would found this post informative, please feel free to leave your comments and feedback in the comment section.