What is Distribution Group?
Office 365 Distribution Groups (aka Distribution List) are used to send emails or meeting request to list of people (both internal and external users), without having to add the email address individually each time. Distribution Groups are suitable when you need to broadcast information to a group of people, such as “People in the sales department” or “All people at your company”. Also, admins can add bulk users to distribution group based on their requirements.
How to Get Distribution Group Members?
Finding out who is members of which Distribution Group is always a tedious task. You can view Distribution Group members through Microsoft 365 Admin Center, but it is per user base. So, you need to click each group to view its membership which is time-consuming. Fear not! Your friend, PowerShell is here for the rescue. You can use PowerShell commands to export distribution list members to csv.
If your distribution group has dynamic members (users automatically assigned to a group based on some predefined conditions), you need to use different cmdlets to get dynamic distribution group members.
Export Office 365 Distribution List Members to CSV using PowerShell
We have written a PowerShell script to export Distribution List members to CSV along with most required attributes like Group DisplayName, Group Primary SMTP Address, Group Alias, Group Type, Group Owner (Managed By), Members Count, Members, Member Email, Member’s Type, and Users allowed to send email to the Distribution Group.
Exchange Online PowerShell cmdlet Get-DistributionGroup used to list all distribution group available in the tenant and Get-DistributionGroupMember used to list group members. Export-CSV cmdlet used to export the report to CSV file. A group can have many members and exporting them in a single line is not an aesthetic one.
To understand your Distribution Group membership better, our script will provide two output files.
- Distribution Group Summary Report
- Detailed Distribution Group Membership Report
Download Script: GetDistributionGroupMembers
- Allows you to filter the report result based on group size(i.e., Members count).
- The script can be executed with MFA enabled account.
- You can choose to either “Export Members of all Distribution Lists” or pass an input file to “Export Members of Specific Distribution List”.
- You can filter the output based on whether the group accepts message from external senders or not.
- Exports the list of allowed senders to a Distribution List.
- Output can be filtered to list Empty group. i.e., Distribution Group without members
- Exports the report result to CSV.
- You can get members count based on Member Type such as User mailbox, Group mailbox, Shared mailbox, Contact, etc.
- The script is scheduler friendly. i.e., credentials can be passed as parameter instead of saving inside the script.
- Above all, script exports output in nicely formatted 2 CSV files. One with detailed information and another with summary information.
Office 365 Distribution Group Summary Report:
Distribution Group summary report has following attributes.
- Group Display Name,
- Primary SMTP Address,
- Group Alias,
- Group Type,
- Group Owner (Managed By),
- Group Members Count,
- Members Count by Recipient Type,
- Allows External users
- Allowed Senders (I.e., Authorized Senders to a Distribution Group)
- Hidden From Exchange Address List (Optional)
- Description (Optional)
- Creation Time (Optional)
- DirSynEnabled (Optional)
- Member Join Restriction (Optional)
- Member Depart Restriction (Optional)
Detailed Office 365 Distribution Group Membership Report:
Detailed Office 365 Distribution Group membership report has following attributes:
- Group Display Name,
- Primary SMTP Address,
- Group Alias,
- Group Members Count,
- Group Members,
- Member Primary SMTP Address
- Member Recipient Type
Export Distribution List Members to CSV:
To export all Ofiice 365 Distribution Lists and members report, execute script as follows
For detailed script execution steps, please refer our Office 365 users’ last logon time blog.
If you want to execute this script with MFA enabled account, click here: How to execute export distribution group members report with MFA
Unlock the Full Potential of this Script
This script has many built-in parameters to filter/customize the report based on your requirement. We have listed some of the primary uses cases below.
- Gets members for a single/list of Distribution Group.
- Gets members for Distribution Group that has more than ‘N’ members.
- To get empty Distribution Group.
- Exports Distribution Group that allows external users to send message.
- Reports who are authorized to send email to a Distribution List.
- Using multiple parameters, you can get more granular report.
- Script can be executed with MFA enabled account.
- Script can be scheduled by explicitly passing credential.
- You can add additional attributes to export file.
Let’s check the use cases in detail.
Get Members for a Single/List of Distribution Group
You can use –GroupNamesFile param to get members of a Distribution Group from the input list called “DistributionList.txt” and exports all membership into CSV.
To get members of specific Distribution List, pass an input file with a Display Name/ Alias/ Distinguished Name/ Canonical DN/ Email Address or GUID of groups.
./GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -GroupNamesFile C:/DistributionList.txt
The GroupNamesFile must follow the format below: Group identity separated by new line without header.
Get Distribution Group Members That has more than ‘N’ Members
To filter result based on group members count, you can use –MinGroupMembersCount param. i.e., You can get groups that have more than the specified number of members.
./GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -MinGroupMembersCount 50
Above script reports all Distribution Lists that has more than 50 members.
Get Empty Distribution Groups
To get an empty Distribution Group (ie, Distribution Group without members), execute the script with -IsEmpty param.
Using this filter, you can delete unused Distribution List available in your tenant.
Get Distribution List That Allow External User to Send Message
This value is retrieved from “RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled” attribute. It allows you to restrict who can send emails to an Distribution List.
Using –ExternalSendersBlocked Param, you can filter the result based on the delivery option. I.e., you can get list of Distribution groups that allows/denies external users to send a message to that group.
To list Distribution Groups that allows external users to send message to that group, execute a script with –ExternalSendersBlocked $false
./GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -ExternalSendersBlocked $False
To list Distribution Groups that doesn’t allow external users to send message to that group, execute a script with –ExternalSendersBlocked $true
./GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -ExternalSendersBlocked $True
Get Distribution Group’s Authorized Senders
Getting Office 365 Distribution list’s authorized senders is a bit tricky as authorized senders are retrieved by correlating multiple attributes. You can get allowed senders from Get-DistributionGroup cmdlet, and the attributes are,
1. AcceptMessagesOnlyFromSendersOrMembers – Lists allowed senders
2. RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled – This restrict senders who can send email to a Distribution group, i.e., whether a Distribution Group allows external senders or allows internal senders alone.
How to get allowed senders?
- If the allowed senders’ list has values, group members will receive messages only from those senders and reject messages from everyone else.
- When allowed senders list is empty, group members will receive messages from everyone based on ‘RequireSenderAuthenticationEnabled.’
To make it simple, our ‘Export Distribution List members’ script exports Distribution Group along with authorized senders.
Get more Granular Report
You can use multiple filters together, to get more granular report. For example, you can get members for a list Distribution Group that has more than 50 members
./GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -GroupNamesFile C:\DistributionList.txt -MinGroupMembersCount 50
Execute ‘Export Distribution Group Members Script’ with MFA
To execute script with MFA enabled account, you need to mention -MFA switch during script execution.
To know more about how to connect exchange online PowerShell with MFA, refer our blog Connect Exchange Online PowerShell with MFA.
Schedule ‘Export Distribution Group Members’ PowerShell Script
You can schedule this script in task scheduler by explicitly mentioning the credential.
<Script Location>\.GetDistributionGroupMembers.ps1 -UserName <UserName> -Password <Password>
To know more about scheduling Powershell script, refer our blog: Schedule PowerShell script using Task Scheduler.
How to Add more Attributes in the Export File?
To add following attributes to Distribution Group members report, uncomment the comment section in the line 110 and 112.
- HiddenFromAddressList (HiddenFromAddressListsEnabled) – Hide group from Global Address List(GAL).
- Description – Short information about group.
- CreationTime (WhenCreated) – Group creation time.
- DirSyncEnabled (IsDirSynced) – Whether the group has directory sync enabled or not.
- JoinGroupWithoutApproval (MemberJoinRestriction) – Shows whether owner approval is required to join a group.
- Open – Anyone can join group without being approved by the group owner.
- Close – Members can be added only by the group owner.
- LeaveGroupWithoutRestriction (MemberDepartRestriction) – Shows whether the group is open to leave.
- Open – Anyone can leave group without being approved by the group owner.
- Closed – Members can be removed only by the group owner.
Get More Detailed Group Reports:
To get more detailed group reports based on
- Group types
- Security group
- Distribution group
- Mail-enabled security group
- Microsoft 365 group
- Dynamic distribution group
- Group membership
- Direct members
- Nested group members
- Hidden membership
- External members
- Group creation source
- Groups created via Teams
- Groups created via SharePoint Online
- Groups created via Yammer
- Group member changes
- Groups usage
- Inactive groups based on Last activity date
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If you have any queries regarding script, reach us through the comment section.