Topics Map > Communication and Collaboration > Exchange
Topics Map > Communication and Collaboration > Office 365
Topics Map > Communication and Collaboration > Email

Office 365, Email, Exchange, Distribution Groups, How to request a mail-enabled Exchange Distribution group

What are distribution groups? What information is needed to request a distribution group to be mail-enabled?

For IT Pros

Follow these steps to create a UOFI Active Directory distribution group in order to manage group access permissions to resources and communicate with a group.

Exchange allows distribution groups of "Universal" scope and "Security" type to be mail enabled.  This allows mail addressed to the group to flow to each member of the group, and also allows members of the group to be given specific levels of control over resource mailboxes (such as those used to manage rooms and equipment).

**All members of distribution groups, whether individual users or nested sub-groups, need to be mail-enabled in order to receive messages.** 

If you are a faculty or staff member who wants a distribution group for resource management, contact your departmental IT Pros for assistance.

If you are a departmental IT Pro with access to the UOFI AD forest, the instructions on this page are for you.

Creating a Distribution Group

  1. Create a new universal security group in the UOFI domain.
    (See "Why Universal Security Groups?" below for the reason behind this choice.)
  2. Populate the new group with the correct user membership.
  3. Email with the following information:
    1. The distribution group name
    2. Desired delivery restrictions (none, UIUC email addresses, group members only)
    3. (Optional:) Any additional email addresses that should be added to the group (such as or

Note: The Default Delivery Restrictions for Distribution Group will Reject email from External Sources.

Why Universal Security Groups?

When you create a distribution group in Active Directory, you have three choices for scope (domain-local, global, or universal) and two choices for type (security or distribution). 

The only group scope that Exchange can mail enable is Universal.  Exchange can mail enable a Universal Security or Universal Distribution group type. 

A Universal Security group can be mail enabled AND used for permissions.  A Universal Distribution group can only be mail enabled, it cannot be used for permissions.  So Tech Services asks for new groups to be created as Universal Security groups since that option offers the most flexibility.

Distribution groups vs. mailing lists

There are several distinctions between distribution groups and traditional mailing lists.

  • Distribution group members can also be assigned permissions to manage Exchange resource objects like rooms and equipment because of their membership in the group. Mailing lists aren't used to control access permissions.
  • Distribution group membership is controlled by an IT Pro. Individuals can join or leave mailing lists at will.
  • Distribution group members must have UOFI AD accounts. (Most) mailing lists can be joined by anyone with any email address.

Distribution groups are better suited for:

  • Replicating a department's organizational structure
  • Location and equipment tracking, scheduling, and management
  • Controlling permissions
  • Controlling the group membership

Mailing lists are better suited for:

  • Communicating with interest-based groups
  • Allowing individuals to join and leave a group of their own volition
  • Communicating with groups that include non-University members

KeywordsExchange distribution group requirements   Doc ID48047
OwnerOffice 3.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2015-03-03 15:21:49Updated2023-10-16 12:32:07
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Feedback  3   0