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Combine or nest multiple Contact Groups into one

I’ve created several Contact Groups in Outlook (known as Distribution Lists in previous versions of Outlook) which I use for mailings.

Due to some restructuring and increase of my sending limit, I now like to combine some of these groups into 1 group. As they hold quite a few Contacts, I don’t really feel like adding them manually or recreate the group entirely.

Is there any way I can quickly combine multiple Contact Groups into one?

Combine Contact Groups buttonSadly, you can’t directly copy the members of a list and add them to another list not is there a direct way to combine groups in Outlook.

However, there are a couple of ways to still combine them with minimal effort or at least a whole lot less than doing it manually ;-)

Nesting groups

When you also still want to use the smaller groups, it is best to nest the Contact Groups into a new Contact Group instead rather than to add individual contacts; You would then have a group in a group.

For instance, when you have a list of contacts for your soccer club and you have created groups for Players, Trainers, Referees and Support but also want to have a Contact Group to address everyone at once.

Instead of creating a group which includes all the contacts of your list, you can create a new Contact Group which contains the Contact Groups Players, Trainers, Referees and Support.

The benefit of this approach is that when someone leaves, you don’t have to update multiple groups.

To do this, simply select another Contact Group when adding members to the list.

Contact Groups nested in another Contact Group

Expand the list and add as members

When you want to add the members of a Contact Group to another Contact Group or create a new one, you can use the following approach:

  1. Create a new email.
  2. Add all the Contact Groups that you wish to combine in the To field.
  3. Press the + icon in front of each Contact Group to expand them into individual contacts. When you have nested any groups, press on the + again until all lists are expanded.

    New email to Contact Groups

  4. Place your cursor in the To field and select and copy all addressed (CTRL+A and then CTRL+C).
  5. From your Contacts folder, open the Contact Group to which you want to add these members or create a new one.
  6. Choose Add Members-> From Address Book
  7. Paste the addresses (CTRL+V) in the Members field.
  8. Press OK and confirm any name resolution conflicts when prompted.

Note: Don’t worry about any duplicates in the list, Outlook will automatically remove them and will only list them once.

Save list as txt and add as members

As an alternative to expanding all the Contact Groups in the To line of a new email (an option which sometimes has been disabled in corporate environments), is to save the Contact Group which you would like to combine as a txt-file first.

  1. Select the Contact Group from your Contacts folder.
  2. Choose: File-> Save As…
  3. Set the “Save as type” dropdown list to: Text Only (*.txt)

    Save Contact Group as tx-file

  4. Double click the just created txt-file to open it in Notepad.
  5. Only select and copy the lines which contain the Contact Group members.
  6. From your Contacts folder, open the Contact Group to which you want to add these members or create a new one.
  7. Choose Add Members-> From Address Book
  8. Paste the addresses (CTRL+V) in the Members field.
  9. Press OK and confirm any name resolution conflicts when prompted.

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