How to set up a distribution list in Windows Live Mail and Hotmail

In Windows Live Mail / Hotmail distribution lists (a group of email addresses that can be emailed at the same time) are setup and managed using Categories  and once you know that they are very simple to create and manage, here is how:

Windows Live Mail

1. Open Windows Live Mail and go into your contacts open contacts in Windows Live Mail
2. Press the Category button in the ribbon add a new category in Windows live Mail
3. Enter a new category name such as Friends and Family and  add people to the list  by simply clicking on them add contacts to a category
4. once you have added everyone you want to the list just press save. press save
5. now when you want to email all the people in that category just type it into a new mail and your new category should appear email a distribution list

If you are using Hotmail using a browser then it is a very similar process but differs a little

1. Open Hotmail in your browser and go into your contacts. open contacts in hotmail

2. To create a new category choose New category from the Categories  menu

create new category
3. Give your new category a name and then in the member s box, type in the names of the contacts you want to add, and when you have found the right ones simply click them to add them and press save. add members to the category

Learn more about  Windows Live and Hotmail


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Comments (39)

  1. Beverly says:

    This was the fourth site we checked and the only one that made sense!  Thank you.

  2. Pat says:

    Many thanks.  Some of the other sites were useless

  3. Backie says:

    I have booked this site for future use.

  4. Keith says:

    Thanks for your help. I made my group. I sent out a "test" email to the group and asked them to reply to my email. The group I made numbered 67. Some of those replies to me, went to others in my grouping. I did make one big error. I did not put my group name into bcc, Therefore each member of my group got others addresses, however the main worry was that several got the replies that were sent back to me. I am not the cleverest with computers. Kindest. Keith    

  5. Colleen says:

    I booked this site for future reference. I just wish I could print it out! Thanks so much for making it understandable.

  6. g fox says:

    BUT how do I then look at my new category group list and perhaps edit or add to it? I have windows 7 and cannot figure this out. Have had hotmail since 1997 and this is first time I cannot look at my groups.

    yes your page is clear but no solution for me.

  7. Laila says:

    Hotmail just completely changed its lay out and it is impossible to just typ in e-mail addresses into contacts. Does anyone have any tips?

  8. says:

    I cannot set up a group on my hotmail using your guide.  When I go to contacts I get a red page which does not allow me to see the drop down menu you talk about.  I have tried other help sites too and they do not work either.  I can create a group name but not add names.

  9. chile says:

    it doesnt work

  10. Rob Margel says:

    Jane / Chile

    Feel free to drop me a line and maybe I can help a little more

    I did write this article a year ago and maybe something has changed recently, I need to check


  11. Rich Morris says:

    I have contacts with several emails, i want the list to include all emails for the contact how do we do that?

  12. Mike says:

    How do I add existing addresses to an existing contact group?  This is driving me crazy!  It should be easy!  I can be reached at

  13. Annoyed says:

    Hotmail has changed the contacts page format…none of this applies.

    It is now impossible to edit a group list, you can create as many groups as you want..but you CANNOT edit the content!!!

  14. lynne says:

    I made the dist list as per the above instructions.  When I want to send an email it just pops it into OUTBOX and I can't send it.  What the heck is wrong, please help me, I hate this Windows 7.

  15. lynne says:

    I made the dist list as per the above instructions.  When I want to send an email it just pops it into OUTBOX and I can't send it.  What the heck is wrong, please help me, I hate this Windows 7.

  16. Rob Margel says:

    Hi Lynne – are you able to send normal emails?

  17. Angela says:

    I'm in exactly the same position as other commentators from end August 2012 onwards.   I cannot edit my Group lists. Has anyone found how to overcome this yet?

  18. Rosie says:

    How do I print the hotmail contact list out with names & e-mail addresses?

  19. Rosie says:

    How do I print the hotmail contact category list with the names & e-mail address?  It used to be easy – now impossible. This was supposed to be an improvement;it is just terrible.

  20. Lori says:

    I've done this repeatedly, yet after a few days, it seems the contacts appear in the list, but are not actually included in the emails…only a few of the contacts from a category get the mail?  What is causing this to happen?

  21. Gretchen says:

    Thanks Rob, that worked

  22. Val says:

    Thank you, this made setting up a distribution list very easy, I have Windows Live.

  23. Mark says:

    A good guide, but it frustrates me when I select one group to BCC an email to, only to go to my sent items and see it has sent to a completely different group. Very close to moving away from Hotmail!

  24. jeannie says:

    In the past I have been able to print out my different distribution lists. This helps me to compare who is and isn't on the list without spending an awful lot of time going through each person online. I do not know how to do this now. There should be an option on the screen where we can edit our distribution lists. Why is that option not there and where is it? I have defended hotmail for many many years and this is NOT good.

  25. Bill says:

    Seeing as its not mentioned … do you have to add a person to your contacts list before you can add them to your category list? I have added some to my category list direct and the system does not seem to recognize them i.e. the message goes to my outbox and sits there.

  26. Kim says:

    I'd done this several times and the category doesn't always save all the entered email addresses that i have taken from the contact list. Once I close the windows live mail, and then re-open it, all the contacts in that category are gone.

    Very frustrating. I am using microsoft 2007 Office.

  27. Denny Gash says:

    If I enter this in the "To" line it sends, but shows all addresse's names,  & I can't figure out how to send from "blind copy" to preserv addressee's anonymity.  Any ideas?

  28. Rashida Thornewell says:

    Thank you! Me being so dumb but managed to get there with your help!

  29. Johnny Mansson says:

    Hi Rob, I'm Johnny from Sweden. I've printed your manual for setting up a distribution list and done exactly as you say but it doesn't work.

    I'm running Windows 7 SP 1 on a laptop (Dell) and Windows Live Mail 2012. All goes well until klicking on "send" where it halts.

    Furthermore I have a Hotmailaccount but I'm trying to send by an ordinary account.

  30. Rob Margel says:

    Hi Johnny – no error messages…

    this post is a few years old now so need to know if it still works


  31. Peter G. says:

    When trying to send to a distribution list in Wi

    ndows 7 a message box appears:  

    "The name or distribution list has been deleted and is no longer a valid address book entry. The object could not be found.  No longer an address book entry"

  32. Booksale says:

    I created a distribution list yesterday with 20 names in Hotmail, and it works perfectly. However today I wanted to add another person and it will not let me. I tried a couple of my contacts – doesn't work. Why?

  33. Charlie says:

    My email is getting hung up in the outbox, using Box shows that it is processing (no errors), but it is just sitting there after several hours.  What can be done to get it sent out?

  34. Mike says:

    Brilliant! It worked! This was the only site that fixed a frustrating problem! Thanks!

  35. Salmo says:

    U dah man !

  36. Gary Thompson, says:

    Hope this helps, have to have a separate contact list for a reunion each year, and I didn't want the approx. 100 + e-mail addresses in our personal contact list.  Have printed off your instructions, so I have a hard copy in front of me. Thanks for the tip/help – will try later this week.

  37. Richard C says:

    Even though I have transferred the names into a group list, when I put the category into my send column, the window live mail messages me that I must enter a name to be able to send the list.

    Why – want else do I need??

  38. peter wright says:

    nice layout.

    pity the instructions dont work when you go to send a message and some of the addressees dont get sent.

  39. Ivyrose says:

    I've created my distribution list in Windows Mail.  It works a couple of times and then it decides to only include a couple of the names and I have to re-create the distribution list again.  Any ideas ?

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