What are Microsoft 365 Groups?

Groups in Microsoft 365 let you choose a set of people that you wish to collaborate with and easily set up a collection of resources for those people to share. Resources such as a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar or a document library for collaborating on files.

You don’t have to worry about manually assigning permissions to all those resources because adding members to the group automatically gives them the permissions they need to the tools your group provides. Additionally, groups are the new and improved experience for what we used to use distribution lists or shared mailboxes to do.

Owners, Members and Guests

Group owners are the moderators of the group. They can add or remove members and have unique permissions like the ability to delete conversations from the shared inbox or change different settings about the group.

We recommend that each group have at least two owners.

Group members are the regular users in your organization who use the group to collaborate. They can access everything in the group but can't change group settings or delete conversations from the shared inbox.

Guests are like group members, but they are outside your organization.

We do not currently recommend adding students to the group. Students are not in our M365 Exchange environment, and this places limits on what they can do as a group member. For example, they will not be able receive any email sent to the group, access the group shared mailbox or calendar.

Group Resources

  • 15GB 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.

  • 50GB SharePoint Document Library – A central place for the group to store and share files.

  • Shared OneNote Notebook – For gathering ideas, research, and information.

  • SharePoint Team Site – A central repository for information, links and content relating to your group.

  • Planner – For assigning and managing project tasks among your group members.

You can access these resources through the Microsoft Outlook desktop client (2016 or newer), via Outlook on the web, via Outlook 2016 for Mac (shared inbox only), or via Outlook mobile. You'll find your Microsoft 365 Groups in the navigation pane on the left in Outlook desktop or on the Web.

Default Group Settings

  • Groups are created as Private. This means that only group members can view group content. 
  • Email sent to the group address is not delivered to members' inboxes. Members have to visit the group workspace to view the conversations and events.
  • People outside the A-State organization cannot send email to the group.
  • Group address is visible in the Global Address Book.


  • Share Inbox is not the same as a shared mailbox.
  • Limited support for subfolders (only available from Outlook for the web).
  • Limited support for mail rules (only available from Outlook for the web).