Office 365 - Getting Started with Groups

Important: You have multiple choices when it comes to using this feature. Before proceeding, please review the following document to see if another option exists to better suit your needs: Office 365 - What are the differences between an Office 365 Group, an Office 365 Security Group, a Contact list, a Google Group, and WiscLists?.

Groups in Office 365 let you choose a set of people that you wish to collaborate with and easily set up a collection of resources for those people to share. You don't have to worry about manually assigning permissions to all those resources because adding members to the group automatically gives them the permissions they need to the tools your group provides.

When you subscribe to a group, all the email messages and meeting invitations are sent directly to your inbox. But they're also stored in your group folder. So don't worry about accidentally deleting something or creating a rule to move mail from your inbox to a private folder. Delete it from your inbox after reading it and know there's still a copy safely stored in your searchable group folder; in fact, all the messages since the group began are stored in the group folder. Even if you weren't a member at the beginning, you'll get to see the full history once you join.


A public group is open to everyone. If you just want to see what the group is doing, all the content and conversations are easy to view. But if the group interests you, you can join it and become a member. In most cases, a public group is your preferred alternative.
A private group is exclusive and only open to its members. The content and conversations are secure and not viewable by everyone. Choose a private group when you are concerned about security and privacy, such as trade secrets or confidential information. Although anyone can see the name of the private group, information is also security-trimmed so it is not accessible from search, links, or in other ways. Joining a private group requires approval from a group administrator.


It is recommended that you use Outlook on the web to create a group. Learn more.

You can set up your group to allow external senders to email your group. See below to learn how.

  1. Select "Settings" within your Office 365 group
  2. groups_setting.png

  3. Select "Edit group"
  4. group_edit.png

  5. Select the "Let people outside the organization email the group" setting
  6. group_outside_email.png

  7. Select "Save"

Important: If you have not enabled advanced administration for the Group, you will not be able to complete the steps below. See Manage/View Group Settings/Parameters on how to enable advanced administration.

  1. Log into the
  2. Enter your NetID credentials
  3. Select Delegated Administration
  4. Select a domain that you have administrative rights to

    • If you do not see the option to select a domain (ex:, you do not have administrative rights to one
    • You will need to contact the DoIT Help Desk or your IT department for further assistance
  5. Select Add Alternate Address

    • Account to Add Address To: Enter your Office 365 Group's email address (ex:
    • New Alternate Address: Enter your preferred alternate email name (ex: buckyacademics)
  6. Select Add Alternate Address
  7. Search for your Office 365 Group email address (ex: in the search field
  8. Select Email Addresses
  9. Select Set Primary next to the newly created alternate email address
  10. Done

Note: If your newly created alternate email address does not appear right away for your Office 365 Group, try opening a new private browser session and search for your Office 365 Group using the group's email address. Then select the Email Addresses option and try to select the alternate email address as the primary again.

As an owner of a group, you can manage members of the group.

Important: If the Office 365 account you are attempting to add is hidden in the GAL (Global Address List), it cannot be added through the Group/Teams client. You will need to use the administration site to add this member.

As an owner of a group, you can advertise (email, flyers, word of mouth, etc.) the group by providing the url of the group. The format of the url should be in the form of:

AddressOfGroup = email address of the group (

There are times when you would like to browse/search for an existing group - use the instructions below:

  1. Open Outlook on the web.
  2. In the navigation pane, under Groups, select Discover. (If you don't see Discover, click More at the bottom of your groups list. Once all of your groups are displayed you should see the Discover link.)

There are times when you would like to join an existing group or looking for more information on the purpose of the group. Follow steps to request to join a group. To find out the use of the group, contact the group owner - by searching for the group and viewing the group members. Important: If the group/members are hidden in the Global Address List, contact the help desk to make this request.

All accounts that have this format are group accounts.

If the account is searchable in the Global Address List (GAL), you will be able to find additional details on the account. You can search for the account using the search feature via the 'People' screen within Outlook on the web. If the account cannot be searched for, then you must contact the DoIT Help Desk for further assistance.

When you follow a group in Outlook, all group conversations and calendar events will be sent to both the group mailbox and your personal inbox. This is particularly helpful when you belong to multiple groups and want to stay on top of the conversations from one location.

Note: Message originators won't receive copies of their messages in their inboxes.

Learn how to follow or unfollow a group.

Groups can be created and managed by any Office 365 account. View the following video to see a group in action. At this time, PLC groups can only be created using Outlook on the web. When creating a group via Outlook on the web, you will have the option to create a Standard and Professional Learning Community (PLC) group.

Important: It is recommended that you wait at least 60 minutes after creating, managing members, or deleting a group so that the changes are synced within Office 365.

Manage/view Group Settings/Parameters.

For more information about how to perform certain actions, such as joining a group, scheduling a meeting on the group calendar, managing group members, limits for groups, etc, review the following document: Learn about Office 365 groups.

Guest access

Guest access in Office 365 Groups enables you and your team to collaborate with people from outside your organization by granting them access to group conversations, files, calendar invitations, and the group notebook. Access can be granted to a guest --- including partners, vendors, suppliers, or consultants --- by any group owner.

Learn how to use guest access.

What happens when a group is deleted

You can interact with a group using many different clients/devices:

Compare Outlook Groups on all platforms

What's the difference between an Office 365 group and a distribution list?

See Also: