Skip to main content

Office 365 Groups

What are Office 365 groups?

Office 365 Groups is a service developed with collaboration in mind.  Office 365 Groups are a shared workspace for email, conversations, files, and events where group members can communicate and collaborate.  For example, you can create a group for your team and invite other users to join the group, and then share documents, conversations, meeting notes, calendars, and OneNote information related to that specific group.  It works with the Office 365 tools you use already so you can collaborate with your teammates when writing documents, creating spreadsheets, working on project plans, scheduling meetings, or sending email.

Groups in Outlook

By creating an Office 365 Group you’ll get:

  • Shared Inbox – For email conversations between your members. This inbox has an email address and can be set to accept messages from people outside the group and even outside your organization, much like a traditional distribution list
  • Shared Calendar – For scheduling events related to the group
  • OneDrive Document Library – A central place for the group to store and share files
  • Shared OneNote Notebook – For gathering ideas, research, and information
  • Planner - For assigning and managing project tasks among your group members

You do not have to manually create any of those resources; creating the group automatically creates them for you and assigns the necessary permissions for your group members so they can start using them right away.  One of the best parts is that each Office 365 Groups comes with 1TB of storage available within the Office 365 Groups shared OneDrive Document Library for group members to share and collaborate on data.

You can access these resources through the familiar Microsoft Outlook 2016 desktop client, via Outlook on the Web or using our dedicated Microsoft Groups apps on iOS, Android or Windows Phone.

Video Tutorial on How-to create an Office 365 group via Outlook Web Access (OWA)/Outlook 2016

Create O365 Group

Note: After a group has been created, the prefix "SOM-Groups" will be added to the group name. The purpose of this is to standardize Office 365 group names in the GAL. This process is automatic and does not need to be performed by the group's creator.

Step-by-Step Process on How-to create and Office 365 Group in Outlook Web Access (OWA)

  1. Log into Outlook Web Access (OWA):
  2. In the navigation pane, Click the arrow to the left of Folders
  3. You should now see Groups, select the Create button +. (If you do not see the Create button, hover your mouse over the navigation pane).
  4. In Choose a name, enter a group name that briefly captures the spirit of the group.
  5. To assign an abbreviated name to your group, which will be part of the group URL, in the Group ID box click Edit. If you see "not available," the group ID is already in use. Try something different. Note that once you choose a group ID, it cannot be changed.
  6. In Privacy, do one of the following:
    *To create a group in which anyone within your organization can view its content and become a member, select Public.
    *To create a group in which membership requires approval by a group owner and only members can view group content, select Private
  7. To enable subscribed members to receive email and calendar event notifications in both their group inbox and personal inbox, select Send copies of group conversations and events to members' inboxes (optional). This is recommended when members belong to multiple groups because it means they can see all group notifications in one place without having to visit each group mailbox in order to stay current with group activity.
  8. Select Create.
  9. If you are ready to add members to your newly created group, continue with the create group wizard. Otherwise, select “Not Now.” You can always come back and add group members later.
  10. In Add people, type a name or email alias. As you type, suggestions will be displayed. Select the appropriate person. To add multiple members, start typing the next name after each selection. You can only add individual members, not groups.
  11. Select Add. You will see your newly created group on the left navigation pane and a Welcome email in your group's inbox.

Can I use Office 365 Groups in my email client or only through OWA?

Outlook 2016 (Windows) has the ability to use Groups as well as OWA.  See Compare Outlook Groups on All Platforms for more details.  

How do I add an Office 365 Groups calendar to my Outlook calendar pane?

The Group appears in the Mail section of Outlook (Outlook 2016 only).  If you click on a group's Calendar button, the Group calendar opens in a new window. 

However, if you want the Group calendar to show up in your Calendar Navigation pane, you need to add the group to Favorites (right click on the group and then choose 'Add to Favorites'). Once you do this, the group Calendar will show on the Calendar Navigation pane at the bottom of the My Calendars group.

Deleting Groups

If a group outlives its intended purpose, it can be deleted by its owner or Information Services. Please follow these instructions to delete an Office 365 group

Warning: When you delete a group, you are permanently removing the group team site, group conversations, email messages, files, calendar events, and any other related information. 

Group Lifespan

Office 365 Groups are not dependent on the group owner’s account being active. Should the owner’s account be disabled or deleted, all existing rights will prevail and files will still be available.

Want more information?

Much more information about Microsoft Office 365 Groups is available from Microsoft.  The following ar some helpful links.