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In Outlook 2010, the traditional distribution list has been renamed to the contact group. A contact group is basically a list of names to whom you are going to be sending out a communication, typically an e-mail message. Now it's really easy to create those contact groups, once you have already created the contacts. So we are going to start by going to the Contact area of Outlook, which we get to by clicking the Contacts icon on the Navigation Bar. Now at that point, we can go up and hit the New Contact Group icon, and as promised, the New Contact Group window opens.
The first thing we want to do is give it a name, and that's really up to you what you want to name it, but I can offer a suggestion. Many people traditionally name their group with the name of what it contains, which makes a lot of sense. But in this case, we might want to call it something like Office Staff. That seems like a pretty good idea until we want to go back and find it again. Now we might have to go back and look over here in the Os and hunt around a little bit, until we can find that Office Staff group.
If I want to go back and change that name, I can simply give it a double-click, and what I recommend is just to put an underscore in front of the name. And again I am going to click on Save & Close, and that way, I will find that all my distribution lists will be at the top of my contact list, all together and easy to access. Now once I have created that contact group, my next step is to fill it up with some of my existing contacts. So I am going to do that by double- clicking on my group to open it up again, and this time I am going to click on Add Members.
I have a couple of options here. I can add members from my main contact folder or I can add members from all of my contact folders, which is combined into Outlook's main address book. Or I can even add contacts from another address book, for example, if you are using salesforce.com with the Outlook. What I am going to do in this example is choose my contacts just from the Outlook contact folder. So I am clicking from Outlook contacts.
And now I can go through my list and choose the names I want. And each time I find a name that I want to add to the contact group, I simply double-click it. When I am happy with my choice, and I have all my names safely added to the group, I click OK, and I am now seeing a list of all those names appear in the bottom of my contact group. I can click Save & Close and at any time that I want, I can always go back and add additional members, or I can select a member and remove that member if I no longer want them to be part of the group.
When I am finished making my changes, once again, I click Save & Close. Now the nice thing about sending e-mail through the Contact group is that there are four different ways that we can send an e-mail. One way is if I happened to be looking at my contact folder, I might want to just do a right-click on that Office Staff group, go to Create, and select E-mail. And you notice the new e-mail message pops up with the Office Staff group in the To line. The second way I can do this is to actually open up the group, go to the Communicate area, and click E-mail.
The third way that you can send your e-mail is by using the Folder List. I like the Folder List because it shows me my Contacts and my Inbox at the same time. So what I could do in this case is to simply drag my Office Staff contact group over to my Inbox. When I let it go, once again, I get the message, and we can see that the To line has been filled in with that Office Staff group.
The final way to send an e-mail to your contact group is simply by creating a new e-mail message, so I am going to click the New E-mail icon, and what I do now is just type in the first couple of letters of that contact group name. Now this is where my little secret of putting the underscore in really pays off. So I am going to send this off to the office staff, and in this case it's going to be about Yvonne's Birthday. I type in my message, but in this case, I don't want to send this message to Yvonne, who I know is part of this Office Staff group.
So I am going to hit this Plus sign, and Outlook is going to prompt me, and say that it's going to replace the name of my contact group with the names of the individuals. I am going to click on ok, and now I am seeing all the individual names. At this point, I can simply backspace over Yvonne and choose Removed and send out this e-mail. So it will go to everybody in my contact group except for Yvonne, who I don't want to be aware of this upcoming event. If you often find yourself sending messages to the same group of people, you'll want to create a contact group.
Now you can send out important mailings --or even a really great joke--with a few clicks of a button.
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