I have a People Picker column in one of my lists and it can pull users and security groups but not Distribution Lists. Is there any way to make it pull from Distribution Lists or do you know of any tools that would do this?

I know that you can make distribution lists into security groups but we already have a large amount of pre-existing distribution lists that we would have to change. In addition I read from this forum that having a user in a lot of security groups increases the footprint of their usertoken.


Looks like you might have to convert those DL lists to Groups. Take a look at this post.


  • I've already mentioned in the question that I'm aware of being able to convert the distribution lists into security groups but I'm looking for a better solution. – skeletank Oct 11 '12 at 17:38
  • What I am saying is that the solution you presented is the only one. The difference is that a Security Group is a distribution list that can be used for Microsoft security or more specifically, it can be used for SharePoint permissions. Regular Distribution list cannot be used for Security so it will never be accessible from the people picker. – Joseph D Surgeon Oct 11 '12 at 17:44
  • it may be a lot of work but if you write code just automate the task – Joseph D Surgeon Oct 11 '12 at 17:55
  • I'm also concerned about the usertoken bloat though as well (blog.imanami.com/blog/bid/33875/…). Do you have any experience with that? – skeletank Oct 11 '12 at 18:06
  • I mean for that to be a relevant issue for you you would need an organization the size of Microsoft lol. Truth is it is theoretical and if you do encounter it your sys admin teams should have already had that accounted for. AD resources can be scaled across multiple servers for resource intensize task. Yes it is possible to get token bloat but I highly doubt you would reach that type of scenario. Example over 1000+ users added to over 1000+ groups on one AD server then you might experience bloat. – Joseph D Surgeon Oct 11 '12 at 18:59

You can create SharePoint Audiences that contain the Distribution Lists: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms571011(v=office.12).aspx

Just create Audiences that coincide with your DLs and you will have a roundabout way of using them.

  • This would work for 1 column in the list but if I have two separate ones that both require being able to use distribution lists then it wouldn't work. – skeletank Oct 11 '12 at 20:06

I'm not aware of anything. The best approach is to turn them into email enabled security groups. This way, they can still be managed in Outlook, can be used for security in your domain, and can be imported and used as security objects in Sharepoint groups and used in audiences.

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