Indiana University
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Sending mail to groups of people

Note: IU regulates the use of electronic mail for administrative mass mailings, and also prohibits the use of electronic mail or mailing lists for commercial purposes. See Relevant email policies.

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Sending mail to multiple addresses

On most email systems, you can put several addresses on the "To:" line. On some systems, you need to separate the addresses by commas or spaces; Outlook, for example, requires a semicolon. Some systems require you to put each address on a separate line. However, if you are sending email to a large number of people, it's a good idea to place all but one of the addresses on the blind carbon copy ("Bcc:") line of the message. If the addresses are on the "Bcc:" line rather than the "To:" and "Cc:" lines, a reply to the message will go only to the original sender, not the entire list of recipients. When replies go to all the original recipients, each reply is also considered a mass mailing.

Distribution lists

Several methods exist for setting up a distribution list. Your choice depends on the list's size and purpose. If you wish to send messages regularly to the same group, you can create a personal distribution list. If you have a very large list, or if you'd like people other than yourself to be able to send mail to the list, you may need to use a mailing list service, such as IU List.

Personal distribution lists

Create personal distribution lists using your email client's address book. For instance, you could create a list named "Family" containing the following addresses:

astudent@indiana.edu sally@ibm.com dad@comcast.net mom@purdue.edu

Then, to send a message to all four members of your family, you would address the message to:

Family

Check the help for your email software for more information about creating and using a mailing list. Such personal distribution lists are by far the easiest to manage. You can set them up and make any changes yourself, and the commands you enter will take effect right away.

Note: When you create a distribution list using a desktop email program, it is usually stored only on your computer (the exception is Outlook configured to use IU Exchange). This is called a client-side distribution list. When you create a list using IU Webmail on the Cyrus mail system or Outlook in the IU Exchange environment, it is stored on the mail server, and you can access it from any other computer on the Internet. This is called a server-side distribution list. For more, see Distribution list basics

IU List mailing lists

You can subscribe individuals to an IU List mailing list if you have each person's email address, or individuals can subscribe themselves.

Oncourse mail

Oncourse offers several tools for managing email among participants in your site.

Relevant email policies