I have a list of email addresses to which I frequently send emails. How can I create an email group in my address book easily? Is there any method other than add one email address at a time? I'm using Mail.app to send/receive emails.

When I used Gmail, it was easy to add many email addresses at one time. I just needed to create a list of email addresses separated by commas. Is a similar action possible in Contacts.app?

I'm on Mountain Lion.

ADD. My situation is that I want to create a contact group for 100+ students who will take my course in the next semester. They are not in my current contact book and I just have their email addresses. Any easy way to do it?

  • All I know is workarounds: Reply to an old email and adjust, Cut and paste the addresses from an old mail into a new email, store the comma-separated list of email addresses as text elsewhere (in a contact's note?) and paste them into the To field. It would be nice if Mail.app or Contacts.app could create a group from a CSV list or directly from a received email's list.. – Dave X May 1 '19 at 15:54

Typically, if you had many people from your Contacts you would simply create a group by following:

  1. Open Contacts.app and select "File" -> "New Group"
  2. Enter the name of the group you are creating.
    • This is what you will type into mail, and will effectively be the name of your "distribution list".
  3. Go back to "All Contacts" and drag the contacts in that you would like to be in your group.
  4. Now, when you want to sent to that group, just type in the group's name and Mail.app will automatically populate the sending information.

However, for your situation, that won't work very well as you need to create a distribution list for many people who aren't in your Address book (per your edit). With a tip borrowed from iOS, and a hack, you should be set.

  1. Your list of email addresses must be comma-delimited. If it is separated by line breaks, then this likely won't work. So first we need them comma delimited.
  2. Now we will create a contact, and name it "2013 4Q Students" or something.
  3. Next, we will put our comma-delimited list of email addresses into one email field.
    • I assume there is an arbitrary limit on how many email addresses you can put into one field, but I don't know from experience what that might be.
  4. Type the new "contact" name into a Mail.app compose "To" field. It will come up with the standard blue bubble and all those email addresses will be packed inside.
  5. Now we proceed with a small hack: click the down-arrow next to the contact name in the blue bubble.
  6. Click "Edit Contact".
  7. Remove the contact name ("2013 4Q Students") from the beginning and the "<".
  8. Type Command + right arrow to reach end of email address line, and remove the ">".

Just a little cumbersome, but this should work for you.

  • This actually doesn't work for me. Imagine 100 email addresses to drag. Can I somehow just copy a list of all email addresses and paste only one time? I added more description. – Chang Apr 5 '13 at 5:20
  • Wow, that edit made a big difference. I completely overhauled my answer. Perhaps that will work well for you. – bassplayer7 Apr 5 '13 at 13:36
  • This didn't work for list of comma-separated entries like: human name <uid@place.com>, child name <uid2@elsewhere.com>, ... It seems to mash all the intervening <>,<>,<> fields into one. You can cut and paste similar text directly into Mac Mail's To: field and end up with distinct recipients. This is my current workaround-- if you maintain your list as text in the group's note field, you can add the group, go to the contact card with a right click or two, copy the note, and paste it over the group name to get distinct recipients. – Dave X May 1 '19 at 15:37

The work around that I use is to paste the list into your GMAIL account and create a group (very easy as you mentioned before) then download GMAIL Sync (freeware) and the contacts will be added to your MAC contacts and you can create a a distribution list (takes five minutes at most). Alternatively you can export the list from Google as .csv and import into your contacts either way still very easy and can handle lots of email.


While appreciate this isn't the answer you likely want, it would be much better to implement groups on the server and address all the students as a single address. This is how a lot of universities and colleges I've worked with have achieved this.

Modules/classes have a name/code, and this forms the basis for the email address, e.g. cs101@myuni.ac.uk

It might be worth suggesting this as your institution may already do this and not made you aware, or might like to look at implementing this as it will help other teachers/lecturers who likely have the same desire/requirement.

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