4. Creating Contact Groups

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Learn how to use custom contact groups that make communicating with a group faster and easier.


Lesson Goal

Explore the benefits of creating custom contact groups.

What are contact groups

Contact groups are a custom and sometimes temporary grouping of contacts. Unlike folders or folder groups, these do not appear in the folder pane. Rather, they appear within a contact folder.

Contact groups are useful for small groups that isn’t big enough to justify its own folder or if you want to group contacts without removing them from their existing folder.

The main advantage of contact groups is that they enable you to quickly address multiple people.

Creating a contact group

Let’s say you’re working on a project with 10 other colleagues, it’s likely that you’ll regularly need to email them all. The best way forward is to add  them to a contact group.

To do this, we’ll click the New Contact Group command to open the new contact group window. Give the group a name and then click the New Members dropdown and select either from address book or from contacts. Both options open the same menu.

Now hold Ctrl and select all the members you want to add. When finished click the members button and OK and then Save and Close.

Now we have our group without having to move these contacts out of the colleagues group.

Now when we compose an email, we just address it to this group. Much quicker than finding all 10 colleagues every time.


In this lesson, we'll explore the benefits of creating custom contact groups.

When composing an email, we can click the "To:" box to open our list of contacts.

This makes it easier to quickly add our contacts to the address line, but it can be slow when we want to address multiple contacts.

If we're regularly sending emails to the same group of contacts, we can speed up this process by creating a contact group.

Let's consider an example where the company has run into an issue with one of its products.

The research team who developed it were very enthusiastic, but sales and customer satisfaction are low.

A team made up of sales people, marketing managers and the original researchers has been assigned to getting to the bottom of this problem. Because this team includes people with different titles from different departments, there's no easy way to categorize the members.

However, I can easily communicate with this team for all matters related to the project, by adding them to a custom group. To create this group, I'll navigate to the desired folder and click the new contact group command. In this window, I'll give the group a name.

Next, I'll click the new members drop down command and select either from Outlook contacts or from Address Book.

Both options open the select members window.

I'll hold down "Ctrl" and click the relevant contacts.

Note that at the top right, I can choose a different contact folder.

I can even choose to add contacts associated with other accounts to this contact group.

I don't want to add any of my friends or family to this group, so I won't change the folder.

Once I've selected them, I'll click the members button to add them, and then click okay.

We have the option to add some notes here too. I'll click the notes command and write a quick note on why I've grouped these colleagues together.

We can also add categories and follow up flags, just like we can with emails. In this case, I'll opt not to.

My group is now finished, so I'll click the save and close command.

Back in the contacts view, we can see that this new group appears among the list of contacts.

If we double-click it, we'll open the group, allowing us to make adjustments. From this view, we can instantly email the group.

I'll click the email command, and see that our group is now in the "To:" field of another email. We can view the members of the group if we click the plus icon next to the group name.

Note that we get a warning to say that once expanded, we cannot collapse the emails back into the group name. We can now quickly send emails to this group, without having to manually add the recipients each time. This is especially useful for very large groups, such as group of over a hundred new employees. We'll stop the lesson here. In the next lesson, we'll move on to the basics of Outlook calendars.

Managing Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks


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