I have a workflow set up to send an email to a set group of people once an item in a list is created.

There are ~40 people in the distribution list. I want to use a distribution list so I don't have to manually add/remove individuals from the email in the event that someone leaves/joins the company.

Throughout testing I configured the workflow to only send the email to me to reduce noise. Now that we're trying to push out the list to the entire organization, we've began testing it with the distribution list we plan to use in production.

This morning I received the email (I was added to the email individually whereas the rest of the audience is a part of the distribution list), however no one on the distribution list received the email. Is there something I must configure to allow for emails to be sent to a distribution list, or is that not supported in SharePoint workflow?

I'm using SharePoint Online through Office 365, and it's a 2010 workflow.

Also worth noting - The distribution list turns into a strange string of characters after being added. See below:


3 Answers 3


That character string is indicative of SPOnline relating to an existing Active Directory group.

  1. Your Active Directory group will need to be "a member" of a SharePoint group - this is just like adding a person using the people picker.
  2. Be sure to add them to the SP group that relates to their level of access (Visitors, Members, etc).
  3. Check to see if the group email is enabled in Exchange, and using a global vs local AD group.

Good luck!


Revisiting something today in an old workflow I set up a while ago, I figured out how to send emails to a distribution list. Based on the example image, the "PO Type" field will determine what email addresses are added to the email that is being sent out once a list item has been created. If PO type equals "All" then set variable [variable name, as a string] to [email address of DL]. Go to the email you want to send and add "Workflow lookup for a user..." and set the data source to "Workflow Variables and Parameters", and the field from source should be the variable you created. Add every possible variable to the email recipients, and the conditional statement will determine what variables are set. If the variable is not set, no email address is added. enter image description here


Something I found elsewhere that may be useful - (for 2013) format of variable lookup needs to be LoginName (delimited if there are multiples), not email or display name, etc.

In Jake's answer above, that formatting would go in the Email... line of the workflow.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.