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Count Contact Group or Distribution List members

I’ve got several large large distribution lists in Outlook.

How can I find out how many members are exactly in there?

Contact Group buttonSadly, there is no “Count” button in Outlook for Contact Group members. However, there is a quick way around this via Notepad or by using a VBA Macro.

Note: “Contact Groups” are called “Distribution Lists” in Outlook 2007 and previous.

Save the Contact Group as txt-file

Notepad buttonIn order to count the amount of members, you can save the Contact Group or Distribution List as a txt-file.

  1. Select the distribution list
  2. Choose File-> Save As…
  3. In the Save As dialog, set the “Save as type” drop down list to: Text Only (*.txt).

Once you’ve saved it, you can open the txt-file in Notepad by double clicking the saved txt-file. To get the count, enable the Status Bar of Notepad via View-> Status Bar.

Note: If the Status Bar option is grayed out for you, you must first disable Word Wrap via the Format menu.

Remove the first few header lines of the saved distribution list and then place your cursor all the way at the bottom of the list in front of the last address. In the right bottom corner, Notepad will reveal the line number that you are on and thus the amount of members in the Contact Group.

Using Notepad to count the amount of addresses in a Contact Group.
It looks like my test Contact Group contains 128 members ;-)

Count Contact Group Members via VBA Macro

VBA Macro buttonEven though the above workaround is quite easy and quick to perform, when you need to count the members of a Contact Group on an a frequent basis or need to check multiple Contacts Groups, using a VBA Macro would be a better way to go.

You can find a ready-to-use VBA Macro for this in the guide: Display the member count of a Contact Group.

Message box output of the CountDLMembers macro.
Message box output of the CountDLMembers macro.

Mail Merge usage

Mail Merge buttonIf your Contact Group is too long for usage for a mass mailing, you can either split the Contact Group or use the saved txt-file as a source for a Mail Merge since the file also contains the email addresses of the members.

For this, you can start the Mail Merge from within Word and choose “Use Existing List…” when selecting your recipients and browse to the saved txt-file containing your Contact Group members. The entire process is explained in greater detail in the guide: Mail Merge with a Contact Group as the source.

The saved txt-file containing all the Contact Group members can also be easily copied or imported into Excel or Access for further manipulation.


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