Compare types of groups in Microsoft 365
In the Groups section of the Microsoft 365 admin center, you can create and manage these types of groups:
- Microsoft 365 Groups are used for collaboration between users, both inside and outside your company. They include collaboration services such as SharePoint and Planner. Microsoft Teams uses Microsoft 365 Groups for membership.
- Distribution groups are used for sending email notifications to a group of people.
- Security groups are used for granting access to resources such as SharePoint sites.
- Mail-enabled security groups are used for granting access to resources such as SharePoint, and emailing notifications to those users.
- Shared mailboxes are used when multiple people need access to the same mailbox, such as a company information or support email address.
- Dynamic distribution groups are created to expedite the mass sending of email messages and other information within an organization.
Some groups allow dynamic membership or email.
|Microsoft 365 Groups
|Mail-enabled security groups
|Dynamic distribution groups
|Dynamic membership in Microsoft Entra ID
All of these group types can be used with Power Automate.
Microsoft 365 Groups
Microsoft 365 Groups are used for collaboration between users, both inside and outside your company. With each Microsoft 365 group, members get a group email and shared workspace for conversations, files, and calendar events, Stream, and a Planner. Microsoft 365 Groups can also be connected to Teams or Viva Engage.
You can add people from outside your organization to a group as long as this has been enabled by the administrator. You can also allow external senders to send email to the group email address.
Microsoft 365 Groups can be configured for dynamic membership in Microsoft Entra ID, allowing group members to be added or removed automatically based on user attributes such as department, location, title, etc.
Microsoft 365 Groups can be accessed through mobile apps such as Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android.
Group members can send as or send on behalf of the group email address if this has been enabled by the administrator.
Microsoft 365 Groups support nesting through dynamic groups in Microsoft Entra ID.
Microsoft 365 Groups can be added to one of the three SharePoint groups (Owners, Members, or Visitors) to give people permissions to the site.
Distribution groups are used for sending notifications to a group of people. They can receive external email if enabled by the administrator.
Distribution groups are best for situations where you need to broadcast information to a set group of people, such as "People in Building A" or "Everyone at Contoso."
Distribution groups can be added to a team in Microsoft Teams, though only the members are added and not the group itself.
Microsoft 365 Groups can't be members of distribution groups.
Dynamic distribution groups
Dynamic distribution groups are mail-enabled groups that are used to send mail to people with specific attributes, such as department or location. These attributes are defined in the Exchange admin center rather than Microsoft Entra ID.
Unlike regular distribution groups that contain a defined set of members, the membership list for dynamic distribution groups is calculated each time a message is sent to the group, based on the filters and conditions that you define. When an email message is sent to a dynamic distribution group, it's delivered to all recipients in the organization that match the criteria defined for that group.
Security groups are used for granting access to Microsoft 365 resources, such as SharePoint sites. They can make administration easier because you need only administer the group rather than adding users to each resource individually.
Security groups can contain users or devices. Creating a security group for devices can be used with mobile device management services, such as Microsoft Intune.
Security groups can be configured for dynamic membership in Microsoft Entra ID, allowing group members or devices to be added or removed automatically based on user attributes such as department, location, or title; or device attributes such as operating system version.
Security groups can be added to a team.
Microsoft 365 Groups can't be members of security groups.
Mail-enabled security groups
Mail-enabled security groups function the same as regular security groups, except that they cannot be dynamically managed through Microsoft Entra ID and cannot contain devices.
They include the ability to send mail to all the members of the group.
Mail-enabled security groups can be added to a team.
Shared mailboxes are used when multiple people need access to the same mailbox, such as a company information or support email address, reception desk, or other function that might be shared by multiple people.
Shared mailboxes can receive external emails if the administrator has enabled this.
Shared mailboxes include a calendar that can be used for collaboration.
Users with permissions to the shared mailbox can send as or send on behalf of the mailbox email address, if the administrator has given that user permissions to do that. This is especially useful for help and support mailboxes because users can send emails from "Contoso Support" or "Building A Reception Desk."
It's not possible to migrate a shared mailbox to a Microsoft 365 group.