Distribution lists have long been a favorite feature of power email users. They allow you to use a single list name that equates to the email addresses of the people on the list. For example, you could have a personal distribution list called “family” that includes the emails addresses of all your relatives. Rather than typing or selecting each address, you just use the list address. One caveat is that these lists work for your Gmail account, but not to others even if they're on your list.
Gmail does allow distribution lists, but they use the term “Groups”. There are several ways to create groups in Google email. Gmail also doesn’t care when you create the group. You could create the group first and add contacts or the other way around. Some people prefer to create all the groups at once and then add the contacts. Others prefer to create one group at a time.
Google is equally flexible when it comes to adding contacts to a group. One way is to individually select or type the contact name or address. The second way is to define a group by search criteria. This method is useful if people have a common denominator such as the same domain address or note.
An important point to remember is if you created a group based on search criteria, the group isn’t dynamic. For example, if I created a group based on contacts with the address @timeatlas.com and add another contact with the same domain, it will not join my existing group. Conversely, if I change a group member’s address to @gmail.com that won’t delink the contact from the group.
Creating a Distribution List from Search Criteria
In this example, I’m going to create the group first. I wish to create a group for each member of the city council. In each of these fictitious contact records, I had added the text “city council” in the Notes field.
To create a Gmail distribution list,
1. Click the Contacts link on the left side.
2. Click the Groups link.
3. Click the Create Group link. This link is to the right of the drop down list box.
4. Enter a name for your group.
Note: If you wish to create a simple group, you can start typing contact names and add them to this list.
5. Click Create Group. Google provides an informational message that the group has been created. You can also add other groups at this stage.
Adding contacts to the group,
1. Click Contacts link form the left side.
2. In the Search Contacts textbox enter your criteria. As example, we wanted contacts that referenced “city council”.
3. Click Search Contacts.
4. From the results list, select the contacts you wish to add to your group.
5. From the Add contact to… dropdown menu, select your group name. Gmail will inform you that your contacts have been added to the group.
Note: If you hadn’t created a group, you would select New group…from the drop down menu instead.
If you have a group of friends or co-workers you routinely send email to, you should consider creating a Gmail distribution list or group. It will take some of the drudgery out of addressing all those emails.
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Last Updated (Friday, 18 June 2010 15:49)