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Updating Microsoft 365 Group Settings for Distribution and Team Invitation

Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams

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As you probably know, Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 Groups (e.g., Outlook Groups, Exchange Groups), are intertwined. Microsoft has made many changes to the default settings of these two items in order to minimize confusion. But the defaults aren’t always what you need, and Groups/Teams created before the defaults were changed continue to retain the old settings. 

3 Issues of Incorrect Microsoft 365 Groups and Teams Settings

Here are a few issues you might encounter if your settings aren’t correct:

  • Not everyone is receiving emails. Users send an email to a distribution group, but not everyone is getting the email. The problem is that users may have changed their email notification settings for a group, and you want to apply consistent settings to all members of a group.
  • Not everyone is invited to join Teams. You’ve trained your team to setup meetings in Teams and assign them to a channel – which is great for keeping invitations, notes, and videos all organized in the right channel. But not everyone got the invitation to join. You’ve had to manually add them to the invitation, but you thought they should automatically be invited if they were a member of the team. The issue is essentially the same as above. Those invitations are going out to distribution groups, but if users haven’t set them to send notifications to their inbox, they’re not going to get the invite.
  • Not all teams have an email distribution group. You’ve created a Microsoft Team, and you want to also have an email distribution group for that team. You see distribution groups for some teams, but not for others. Microsoft changed the default settings to hide Groups when Teams are created. Your older Teams will have Groups (and distribution lists) associated with them, but your newer Teams won’t.

In this article, we’re going to solve all of the problems listed above without having to learn scary PowerShell commands. However, PowerShell commands can still be very helpful if you want to automate this solution, or if you’re in a very large organization and you need to apply these settings across many groups at once.

How to Administer Microsoft 365 Groups with Correct Settings

To change the settings for a Group, all you need to do is:

1. Login to the Microsoft 365 administration portal ( with the proper credentials (e.g., Global Administrator).

2. Select “Groups.”

3. Click the Group you want to change.

3. Select the “Settings” tab.


The settings you see will most likely be different depending on when your Team and Group were created. But here’s how each works:

Allow External Senders to Email This Group

This setting allows people outside of your organization to send an email to the email address assigned to this list, and everyone on the list will get it. Could be a good idea in some cases; then again, do you really want “” to be open to spam?

Send Copies of Group Conversations and Events to Group Members

Choosing to send copies of group conversations and events to group members is an important setting to consider. Check this box if you want your Group to function as a distribution list. If checked, anything sent to the list appears in user inboxes, including invitations to Teams meetings.

NOTE: When you change this setting, the user preferences for all users of the Group will automatically be updated to “Follow in Inbox – All Email and Events.”

Hide from My Organization’s Global Address List

For newly created Teams/Groups, “Hide from my Organization’s Global Address List” is checked by default, which means that it won’t be available to send to as a distribution list. In some cases, this may be great – do you really need a distribution list for the “My Test Team” team? In other cases, you may want to uncheck it – a distribution list for the “HR Team” may be helpful so that anyone in the organization can email it without having to be a member of their Microsoft Team.


The privacy setting reflects your Team and Group privacy. A private group is not visible to others in the organization – you can only view it if you are invited by an owner. Generally, you should leave this setting up to the Team owner.

How Do I Hide and Unhide Microsoft 365 Groups?

Unfortunately, this is the missing setting when managing Groups. Historically, whenever you created a Microsoft Team, the matching Group (that must always be created) was visible. Because there was so much potential for miscommunicating important information, Microsoft switched the default to be invisible. For the most part, this is a better behavior, and when combined with the above settings, it probably covers 95% of your needs. But:

  • What about Groups that were created before the default was changed? How do you hide these?
  • What about Groups that are hidden, but need to be made visible? How can you do that?

Hopefully that will appear as another setting in this same area soon. In the meantime, hold tight for another article in which we will explain how to show/hide your Microsoft 365 Groups.

To learn more about how to properly deploy, govern, and get the most out of Microsoft Teams in your organization, download C5 Insight’s free guide:

Download the Microsoft Teams Deployment and Governance Guide

Have questions? Get in touch with us by call our team at 704-895-2500.

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