How to add an Exchange Distribution Group


Follow these instructions to add your Exchange Server or Online Distribution Group to your team workspace in Front. A Distribution Group is a free mail option that Microsoft provides to companies who want to easily distribute mail sent to a single address to a group or team of people. 

Prerequisite for adding an Exchange Distribution Group to Front

  • The person who adds the distribution group needs to be a Front administrator.
  • You need to have Microsoft Exchange administrator to complete the setup.

  • With email forwarding, there is no email history to import since a Distribution Group does not have an associated mailbox. 
  • If you have an Office 365 subscription, the email history of that Distribution Group will be within each teammate's user mailbox. Consider having all teammates connect their user mailboxes to Front, which will allow Front to import that history.
  • Front cannot import email history for user inboxes on Exchange Server.

If you have an Office 365 subscription, consider transitioning the Distribution Group to a Shared Mailbox to take advantage of Front’s API sync capabilities. More information on how Front works with Shared Mailboxes can be found here.

Configuration Instructions

Step 1 - Head to your Settings > Inboxes Add a team inbox to add your Distribution Group to your team workspace. It’ll be in the company section of your settings.

Step 2 - Select Email.

Step 3 - Input your Distribution group address and click on Next.

Step 4 - If you have an Office 365 subscription, you will be prompted with an email account screen. Select the Distribution Group option.

Step 5 - Copy the unique Front forwarding address.

This forwarding address should only be used for the Distribution Group you added, do not reuse this forwarding address for other Distribution Groups.

Step 6 - In your Exchange Admin Console, create a new Contact using the copied forwarding address. 

*Be specific when naming the Contact, especially if you’ll be creating multiple forwarding contacts.

Step 7 - Navigate to Groups and update the Members of the distribution Group.

Step 8 - Add the Front forwarding address Contact you just created as a new member to the Distribution Group and remove all other members.*

*Once members are removed from the distribution group, they will no longer receive emails to their user mailboxes, they will only be able to access those emails from Front. You can always skip this step and remove members at a later time.

Before removing members from the distribution group, we recommend you send an internal note to those members and give them a heads up.

Step 9 - Navigate back to Front and click Send test email to validate the forwarding is set up correctly.

Note: If you have trouble validating, please email for assistance.

Step 10 - Now that we have verified emails can flow into Front, we need to set up a custom SMTP to ensure emails are delivered through your Exchange servers. To do this, you’ll want to go back into your Exchange Admin Console > Recipients > Groups and find the Distribution Group you just connected to Front.

Step 11 - Set up group delegation by selecting an individual from your team or IT. We will be using this individual’s user credentials to set up the custom SMTP.

Step 12 - The last step is to go back into the inbox in Front and enable the custom SMTP settings (Setting > Inboxes > select your distribution group > scroll down until you see Custom SMTP).

If you’re using Exchange Online, set your host to and the port to 587. Complete the login and password fields using the credentials of the individual selected in Step 11. Once you’ve filled everything in, verify the connection works, and hit save.

For Exchange Server, you'll need to ask your Exchange administrator for the host and port information.

Alternative to Steps 10 - 12 -  You can always set up SPF/DKIM instead of using a custom SMTP. This means emails will be delivered through Front's 3rd party mail server - SendGrid and you will not retain a record of your outbound emails on your own server. More information about SPF/DKIM can be found here.

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