How to Create a Microsoft 365 Group

In this guide, you will learn how to create a Microsoft 365 group using the Admin center and using Powershell.

Microsoft 365 groups are used to create resources such as outlook inboxes, teams, shared calendars and provide access to Microsoft 365 resources. Groups provide an easy way for your users to share and collaborate with email, files, and other resources.

Topics covered in this guide:

Types of Microsoft 365 Groups

There are different types of Groups in Microsoft 365. There are Microsoft 365, Distribution, Dynamic Distribution, and Mail-Enabled Security groups. I will give a brief explanation of each below. Then I will walk you step-by-step through creating a Microsoft 365 Group.

Microsoft 365 Group

Microsoft 365 Groups are the foundation for sharing and collaborating in the Office 365 environment. When a Microsoft 365 Group is created, a group mailbox and calendar, a OneNote notebook, a Planner workspace, and a SharePoint Team site are created. A 365 Group consists of members and each member has the same set of permissions within the group, except for the owner of the group who has more privileges. A group can include users inside and outside of the organization. 

An ideal scenario for a Microsoft 365 Group would be a group of users both inside the organization and outside the organization who needs to share files, email, calendar, and chat all in one location. 

Distribution List

A Distribution List or DL, also known as a Distribution Group, consists of at least two or more people. The purpose of a Distribution List is the ability to send an email to multiple people using one email address. The Distribution List will show up as a single entry in the Global Address List. When you send an email to a Distribution List, a copy of that email goes to every member in the list. Not only can you add regular user mailboxes to the Distribution List, but also any mail-enabled recipient such as Shared Mailboxes and contacts. 

Dynamic Distribution List

There is another type of Distribution List called a Dynamic Distribution List. It works the same as a Distribution List except it uses filters and conditions to add/remove members to the list automatically. A common use of a Dynamic Distribution List for Office 365 admins is creating an “Everyone” list meaning that it will automatically add/remove users for your organization. This alleviates the need to manually update the list when an employee joins or leaves the organization. 

Mail Enabled Security Group

A Mail-Enabled Security group is a Distribution List that is also a security group that can be used to give access to resources in Exchange and SharePoint. You can just email the Mail-Enabled security group email address that access has been given to a resource, which in turn notifies all members of the group. You can also assign owners to the group so they can add/remove members, which then adds/removes member access to resources. 

Security Group

Security groups are used to grant access to Office 365 resources such as mailboxes, calendars, and SharePoint sites.

How to create a Microsoft 365 group using the Admin Center

Step 1. Log into the Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Step 2. Click on Teams and groups then click Active teams & groups

Step 3. Click on “Add a group”

click on add a group

Step 4. Select the group type and click next. In this example, I’ll select “Microsoft 365”

select Microsoft 365 group type

Step 5. Enter a name for your group. It should be a unique and easily recognizable name.  In this example, I’m going to call my group Accounting Team. Enter the name of the group in the Name field and then type in a detailed description in the Description field. Click next to proceed.

enter group name

Step 6. Now we will assign owners to the group. Owners have permission to add/remove members to the group, as well as unique permissions in the resources. Click on Assign owners.

Search for the name of the owner(s) you want to add to the group, then click the box to the left of the name. Once you have all owners you want to add selected, click on Add at the bottom. In this example, I’m going to add “123 User” as the owner. Notice to the right of Add that it has a number in parentheses. This is the number of users you are currently adding as owners. Mine shows 1 since I am only adding 1 user.

assign group owners

Click Next at the bottom to proceed.

Step 7. Now you can add members.  Each member of the group has the same permissions.  The owner is the only member with elevated permissions. 

Click on Add Members.

Search for the name of the member(s) you want to add to the group, then click the box to the left of the name. Once you have all the members you want to add selected, click on Add at the bottom. In this example, I’m going to add members “ABC User”, “Apple Pie”, and “Annie Smith”. Notice to the right of Add that it has a number in parentheses.  This is the number of users you are currently adding as members.  Mine shows 3 since I am adding 3 users.

add group members

Now my members show up in the list.  Click Next to proceed.

Step 8. Next, we are going to edit the Settings for the group.  I will go over each option.

Group email address

You need to pick a unique and easily recognizable email address for your group. This will be used by anyone emailing this group, including people outside the organization. In this case, I am going to give my group name the email address of Acct_Team.

Privacy

You need to select the Privacy level of your group. If you choose Public, anyone can join the group without getting approval from an owner of the group. If you choose Private, then only an owner can add members to the group. I am going to make this team Private because it could contain confidential information since it belongs to the Accounting Team.

Role assignment

Under Role Assignment, you can choose to allow Admin roles to be assigned to this group. By selecting this option, you can automatically assign an admin role to members of this group. In this case, I am not going to allow this so I will leave the box unchecked.

Add Microsoft Teams to your group

You can create a Microsoft Teams Team from this group as well. It is checked by default. I am not going to create a Team from this group so I will uncheck the box.

edit group email address

Click Next at the bottom and review your settings. You can edit any settings you need on this page. If everything is how you want it, click Create Group.

Step 9. Review and finish adding group

You can edit any settings you need on this page. If everything is how you want it, click Create Group.

review group settings

You will get the confirmation page. Click Close at the bottom of the screen.

You are finished.

Create a Microsoft 365 Group Using PowerShell

In this example, I’ll create a 365 group using PowerShell. I’ll also show you the cmdlet to list all groups.

Step 1. Connect to exchange online

For complete steps refer to the article -> How to connect to exchange online powershell

Step 2. Use the cmdlet New-UnifiedGroup to create a Microsoft 365 Group

New-UnifiedGroup -DisplayName "Accounting Dept" -EmailAddresses "Acct_Dept@activedirectorypro.com" -Members "ABC User","123 User" -Owner "Annie Smith" -Notes "All users in the Accounting Department" -RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled:$false -AutoSubscribeNewMembers

In this example, I created the Microsoft 365 Group called Accounting Dept with an email address of “Acct_Dept@activedirectorypro.com” with members ABC User and 123 User, with owner Annie Smith.  I put in a description of All users in the Accounting Department, also both internal and external users can send emails to this group, as well as copies of all emails are sent to the owner’s/members’ inboxes.

Step 3. Modify existing Microsoft 365 group

To modify an existing Microsoft 365 Group, we are going to use the cmdlet Set-UnifiedGroup.

Set-UnifiedGroup -Identity "Accounting Dept" -AccessType Private

In this example, the group is set to Private.

Step 4. Add members to Microsoft 365 group.

To add members to a Microsoft 365 Group, use the cmdlet Add-UnifiedGroupLinks.

Add-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity "Accounting Dept" -LinkType Members -Links applepie@activedirectorypro.com

In this example, we add user Apple Pie to the Microsoft 365 Group “Accounting Dept”

Step 5. Add owners to the 365 group

To add owners to a Microsoft 365 Group, use the cmdlet Add-UnifiedGroupLinks

Add-UnifiedGroupLinks -Identity "Accounting Dept" -LinkType owners -Links applepie@activedirectorypro.com

In this example, we add user Apple Pie as an Owner of the Microsoft 365 Group “Accounting Dept”

Step 6. List all 365 groups

Use the below command to list all 365 groups in your tenant.

Get-Unifiedgroup

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have a comment or questions please leave a comment below.

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