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Let’s say you’ve been tasked with creating user accounts, including distribution lists and aliases, in Microsoft Office 365’s Exchange Online.  You may be wondering how to best configure these settings to ensure the CEO is included in all management discussions and the maintenance crew can be contacted at the same email address, even if there is turnover.  How do I account for the rapid growth in our sales team when the sales manager needs to communicate with an ever-expanding team?

Many organizations have info@, legal@, IT@, or email addresses.  These addresses make it easier to conduct business both internally and externally, but what is the best way to configure them in Exchange Online without adding cost?

What are my options?

Typically speaking, an alias is best used to communicate with a single individual, whereas a distribution list allows an email sent to a single address to serve as communication to an entire team.

Why use an alias?

If the response to an email request will come from a single individual, using an alias can be a great way of making that communication easier.  For example, an in-house counsel responsible for all internal legal affairs could have his personal address, just like everyone else (for example:, in addition to  This can make it easier to remember the address and easier to manage turnover. In the case of turnover, the legal@ alias remains the same, while the in-house counsel is a new employee. This creates a better sense of continuity to those viewing your business from the inside or the outside.

Why use a distribution list?

If there is an organizational unit that is commonly grouped together on the same email communications, it can help to use a distribution list.  As an example, growing sales teams can benefit by adding individuals to a distribution list organized by region.  When the announcement for a new sales incentive or quarterly goal is sent by the manager, he can be sure that everyone is receiving it.  Giving the group a single name and email address for easy communication means everyone is kept up-to-date.  Users won’t have to type out each member of their team.  They simply use

Here are the steps to add an alias or a distribution list:

Create an alias

Manage a distribution group

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