Send emails to distribution lists using SharePoint

It is easy to send emails to shared mailboxes or to distribution lists (DL) using your outlook. But have you ever wondered what happens when you try sending email to a DL using SharePoint (workflow).

I had the requirement to send emails to multiple DLs using my workflow and a 2 hours estimated work took me nearly 2 days to complete.

Basically, the email id of the DL won’t appear in your active directory while you search for it. Also, it is fair enough since a DL has no physical mailbox associated to it, just an id. Hence, the email id of the DL won’t be resolved.

Solution – Email enabled security group!!

In order to send emails to a DL from SharePoint, the DL needs to be converted to a security group that is email enabled. The same setting can be done by the exchange engineer either through command prompt or through exchange console. Below steps can be followed

  1. Go to Exchange Management Console -> Recipient Configuration -> Distribution group.
  2. Right-click on the problem group (i.e. the DL or the security group) and choose properties.
  3. On the Mail Flow Settings tab, double click on Message Delivery Restrictions.
  4. Uncheck the check box “Require that all senders are authenticated”.


Once done, the DL’s id can easily be searched in SharePoint’s directory and emails can be sent using workflows. However one thing to be kept in mind, it is the description or the display name that can be searched and not the DL’s email id directly.

Hope this helps!