Applies to: Exchange Server 2016

This cmdlet is available only in on-premises Exchange Server 2016.

Use the Enable-DistributionGroup cmdlet to mail-enable existing universal security groups and universal distribution groups that aren't already mail-enabled.

For information about the parameter sets in the Syntax section below, see Exchange cmdlet syntax.

Enable-DistributionGroup -Identity <GroupIdParameter> [-Alias <String>] [-Confirm [<SwitchParameter>]] [-DisplayName <String>] [-DomainController <Fqdn>] [-PrimarySmtpAddress <SmtpAddress>] [-WhatIf [<SwitchParameter>]]

This example mail-enables the universal distribution group named Distribution Group1.

Enable-DistributionGroup -Identity "Distribution Group1"

The Enable-DistributionGroup cmdlet mail-enables existing universal security groups and universal distribution groups by adding the email attributes that are required by Exchange. Mail-enabled security groups and distribution groups are visible to the other *-DistributionGroup cmdlets and to the *-DistributionGroupMember cmdlets.

You need to be assigned permissions before you can run this cmdlet. Although all parameters for this cmdlet are listed in this topic, you may not have access to some parameters if they're not included in the permissions assigned to you. To see what permissions you need, see the "Distribution groups" entry in the Recipients Permissions topic.


Parameter Required Type Description




The Identity parameter specifies the universal security group or universal distribution group that you want to mail-enable. You can use any value that uniquely identifies the group.

For example:

  • Name

  • Display name

  • Distinguished name (DN)

  • Canonical DN

  • GUID




The Alias parameter specifies the Exchange alias (also known as the mail nickname) for the recipient. This value identifies the recipient as a mail-enabled object, and shouldn't be confused with multiple email addresses for the same recipient (also known as proxy addresses). A recipient can have only one Alias value.

The value of Alias can contain letters, numbers and the characters !, #, $, %, &, ', *, +, -, /, =, ?, ^, _, `, {, |, } and ~. Periods (.) are allowed, but each period must be surrounded by other valid characters (for example, help.desk). Unicode characters from U+00A1 to U+00FF are also allowed. The maximum length of the Alias value is 64 characters.

When you create a recipient without specifying an email address, the Alias value you specify is used to generate the primary email address (<alias>@<domain>). Supported Unicode characters are mapped to best-fit US-ASCII text characters. For example, U+00F6 (ö) is changed to oe in the primary email address.

If you don't use the Alias parameter when you create a recipient, the value of a different required parameter is used for the Alias property value:

  • Recipients with user accounts (for example, user mailboxes, and mail users)   The left side of the MicrosoftOnlineServicesID or UserPrincipalName parameter is used. For example, helpdesk@contoso.com results in the Alias property value helpdesk.

  • Recipeints without user accounts (for example, room mailboxes, mail contacts, and distribution groups)   The value of the Name parameter is used. Spaces are removed and unsupported characters are converted to question marks (?).

If you modify the Alias value of an existing recipient, the primary email address is automatically updated only in on-premises environments where the recipient is subject to email address policies (the EmailAddressPolicyEnabled property is True for the recipient).

The Alias parameter never generates or updates the primary email address of a mail contact or a mail user.




The Confirm switch specifies whether to show or hide the confirmation prompt. How this switch affects the cmdlet depends on if the cmdlet requires confirmation before proceeding.

  • Destructive cmdlets (for example, Remove-* cmdlets) have a built-in pause that forces you to acknowledge the command before proceeding. For these cmdlets, you can skip the confirmation prompt by using this exact syntax: -Confirm:$false.

  • Most other cmdlets (for example, New-* and Set-* cmdlets) don't have a built-in pause. For these cmdlets, specifying the Confirm switch without a value introduces a pause that forces you acknowledge the command before proceeding.




The DisplayName parameter specifies the display name of the group. The display name is visible in the Exchange admin center and in address lists. The maximum length is 256 characters. If the value contains spaces, enclose the value in quotation marks (").




The DomainController parameter specifies the domain controller that's used by this cmdlet to read data from or write data to Active Directory. You identify the domain controller by its fully qualified domain name (FQDN). For example, dc01.contoso.com.




The PrimarySmtpAddress parameter specifies the primary return email address that's used for the recipient. If it's available on this cmdlet, you can't use the EmailAddresses and PrimarySmtpAddress parameters in the same command.

By default, the primary SMTP address is generated based on the default email address policy and the value of the Alias parameter or the Name property. If you use the PrimarySmtpAddress parameter to specify the primary email address, the EmailAddressPolicyEnabled property is set to the value False, which means the email addresses of this group won't be automatically updated by email address policies.




The WhatIf switch simulates the actions of the command. You can use this switch to view the changes that would occur without actually applying those changes. You don't need to specify a value with this switch.

To see the input types that this cmdlet accepts, see Cmdlet Input and Output Types. If the Input Type field for a cmdlet is blank, the cmdlet doesn’t accept input data.

To see the return types, which are also known as output types, that this cmdlet accepts, see Cmdlet Input and Output Types. If the Output Type field is blank, the cmdlet doesn’t return data.