Office 365 - Which distribution list should I pick?

This document will help you select a service for your distribution list needs. The recommendations below are meant for (but not limited to) the following types of communication:

  • ad-hoc
  • forum
  • internal (ex: vacation, out of office)
  • community of practice
  • occassional announcements

Note: This document is not intended to make recommendations for marketing communication that requires features such as click rate, HTML editor for campaign templates, demographics, analytics, campaign sharing, etc.

Distribution list services

  • Office 365 Groups
  • Google Groups

What is Office 365 Groups?

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. Resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar or a document library for collaborating on files.


  • Integrated Inbox, Calendar, and OneDrive cloud storage
  • Integrate with Microsoft Teams chat client

What is Google Groups?

Google Groups makes it easy for groups of people—such as project teams, departments, or classmates—to communicate and collaborate. You can send an email to everyone in a group with one address, invite a group to an event, or share documents with a group. You can also create an online forum to discuss a popular technology or answer questions about a product.


  • Add external (non UW-Madison) email address
  • Moderate messages sent to Google Groups
  • Hide membership from members (ex: list of students)

Note: Currently, Google Groups cannot be used where electronic protected health information (ePHI) or HIPAA data is shared. Anyone working in the Health Care Components must use Office 365 Groups.

Which service should I pick?

Take the quiz below for a quick recommendation.

Who is your target audience?


Keywords:office 365 groups google groups membership transition from wisclist internal external shared inbox calendar distribution list collaborate outlook inbox which distribution list should i pick   Doc ID:91721
Owner:Josh O.Group:Office 365
Created:2019-05-13 14:05 CDTUpdated:2019-11-14 16:02 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Google Apps, Office 365
Feedback:  4   2