Distribution List To Add to Teams Group

Occasional Visitor

When creating a new group in Teams, I can see the option to add via distribution list.


However, I'm not sure whether this refers to an email distribution list already existing within the organisation (i.e: if in Outlook we have an "ALL 1st Year STUDENTS" email distribution list, can I add "ALL 1st year STUDENTS" to bulk enrol everyone into the group?), or Teams-related distribution lists of some sort?

Even if I can use an email list, I understand it's not dynamic - i.e if the distribution list was updated, the group would not be - but if we can create email distribution lists to then bulk add members to a group (at least when it is created - doesn't seem possible after?), this would solve issues we are having with Microsoft not integrating with our student admin system.

The solution we've been offered is to make a static link to a meeting, and then manage who can access this link via our (non-Microsoft) VLE (pasting it into restricted access folders/pages to dynamically control who can access, relevant to enrolled student groups). We've been told this is because we can't batch add students to Teams. This is a poor option, ofc., and I feel that a distribution list, and some manual updating, would solve this?



5 Replies
best response confirmed by ThereseSolimeno (Microsoft)
Hi @EFraser22

Just tested it - it does refer to a distribution list existing within the organisation and either created in Exchange, or via the Microsoft 365 admin centre - and you can use it to bulk add users into a chat group. Try it out by creating a new DL with you and a few others and then add it to a group chat as a test

You are correct its not dynamic, it is a one time bulk add, but you may wish to add a DL then add a few new members and then add that DL again to see if it adds the remainder. If it does it may give you what you need

In terms of bulk adding users to teams? Not natively at this moment in the client. Uservoice open for this here

But you can always do it through Powershell

Hope that answers your question

Best, Chris
Hey Chris, thank you for sharing that insight and the "Uservoice" forum link. Lots of good information for sure! Quick note on that though... sadly, it looks like Microsoft and UserVoice are parting ways (as of 3/3/21) so I'm not sure that the postings there will remain current over time.

Hi @wwholl   We're in the process of determining the new feedback forum and the current UV items will be transferred to that.  You'll here more about it when everything is in place.

@Christopher Hoard 

I'm assuming that the CSV file you are referring to will have been created by the requester, but what format would that take?


I'm guessing that you would go for either the User ID,  the email address or some other field that is unique on the system, but this would mean that the requester would be responsible for making sure that the data is correct. You are now potentially involving a second person in the process to be the Checker.

Hopefully, if there is a typo such that the reference doesn't exist, the file would (in its entirety) fail to load, but what if the user typed "JBloggs3" when it should have been "JBloggs2", where JBloggs3 does exist? Potentially, that could cause a data breach as the wrong user has been given access.


It also seems very longwinded to say they should create a DL which they are going to then upload into the group (unless they intend to use the DL afterwards for other things) - that's effectively two steps, whereas just adding the users to the group is one step and makes the person adding the users responsible for getting it right.


I'm not sure why you would recommend that an end-user does this through PowerShell, given that one typo could cause major damage to the system and most end-users are not that skilled in PowerShell.
And I know that our Exchange Admins wouldn't want to do it for them, given my points in paragraph 2, nor would they want to get bogged down with multiple change requests per day.

Lastly, assuming you were using a DL to do the upload, what would happen if one of the members of the DL has their email address flagged as Hidden? We use that for a lot of our users when they are on things like maternity leave or sabbatical, etc., so that they don't come back to a load of old/no-longer-relevant emails, as the current version of Exchange ignores members in a DL when they are hidden. Would the upload follow the same rules and ignore those users?






Hi All,
Maybe off topic - but a quick question?
Can I add a private Teams group to a Distribution List?
When I try - I cannot see the group or its email in the list...
Any ideas?
Thanks in advance, All!
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