How to Create an Enterprise Distribution List in Google Apps
By Allen Bethea
Email provides a fast, low-cost, efficient way to keep your employees and business partners informed and up to date. Email contact lists, however, sometimes contain street addresses and phone numbers you can use to communicate by more traditional means as well. You can create custom contact or enterprise distribution lists using Google's Group app that enable you to contact all your employees, enterprise-wide, or target specific recipient subgroups. In addition, you can use Google's spreadsheet app to create a distribution list database file in CSV or comma-separated values format that you can import and use with Gmail or other email applications like Thunderbird or Outlook.
Google Groups Distribution Lists
Log into your Google account.
Type "https://groups.google.com" in your browser's address bar and press "Enter."
Click the "Create Group" button to create a group page that will serve as home to the contacts on your enterprise distribution list.
Type your group name and new group email address in the labeled input boxes.
Select "Email list" in the "Group type" drop-down list.
Click the "Create" button to create the group.
Click the "Invite people to join the group" link.
Type in the email addresses for each person or organization you want to join the group on a single line. Separate each email address by a comma.
Type an invitation message that will be sent to everyone on your list.
Click the "Send" button to mail out the distribution list invitations.
Google Spreadsheet App Lists
Log into your Gmail account and click the "Drive" menu item.
Click the "Create" icon then select the "Spreadsheet" icon.
Type the column headings in row one that describe the information your contact list will contain. For instance, a standard Google app contact list will include column headings like "Name", "E-mail 1 - Type","E-mail 1 - Value", "Phone 1 - Type", "Phone 1 - Value", "Address 1 - Type, "Address 1 - Street", "Address 1 - City", "Address 1 - Region" and "Address 1 - Postal Code."
Type in the information for each contact in a separate spreadsheet row beneath the appropriate column heading. For instance, type the name, email address and phone number for the first contact in row 2, beneath the "Name," "E-mail 1 - Value" and "Phone 1 - Value" column headings.
Click the app's "File" menu, select "Download as" then click the "Comma Separated Values (.csv Current Sheet)" option.
Select "Save file" then click the "OK" button to save the CSV file to your computer.
Click the "Gmail" link to return to the Gmail app.
Click the arrow next to the “Gmail” button then select "Contacts."
Click the "More" button then select "Import."
Click the "Browse" button and use the file manager to select the CSV file you created with the spreadsheet app.
Click the "OK" button to open the CSV file then click the "Import" button.
Click the imported contact list link under "My Contacts."
Click the "Find & merge duplicates" link to add the contacts to your Gmail account.
Use and existing Gmail contact list to create a CSV file template that includes the same information Google uses for each person on an actual list. The "More" button of the contact app lets you export an entire contact list as a single CSV file. Import this file into a Google Drive spreadsheet then examine its column headers and the information they describe below. After you delete all cells except those in the first row, you can use the CSV file as a starting point for custom enterprise distribution lists.
If someone on your distribution list is not expecting email from your company, they may view your messages as spam or an annoyance. Your email may be blocked by spam filters or simply ignored by the recipient. You can prevent this by asking potential recipients to join your list first by sending an invitation. Only those who accept the invitation should be included on your final distribution list. The Google Groups app verifies all list members in this way by default.
Allen Bethea has written articles on programming, web design,operating systems and computer hardware since 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and AAS degrees in office technology, mechanical engineering/drafting and internet technology. Allen has extensive experience with desktop and system software for both Windows and Linux operating systems.