Distribution List vs. Shared Mailbox

By Stefan
February 10, 2023
Distribution List vs. Shared Mailbox

When it comes to communication and collaboration tools, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your team.

Two of the more popular choices are the distribution list and shared mailbox. However, you need to consider the deep facts of each of these choices before finally making a decision. When a distribution list may work for your organization, a shared mailbox may not. Yet, the opposite can also happen.

To help you with this, we will break down a detailed distribution list vs. shared mailbox so that you can make the best choice for your team.

What is a distribution list?

Blog-Article--31-1.pngPhoto by Stéphane Mingot on Unsplash

Using distribution lists, you can send emails to a large number of recipients at once. Companies replicate the original email and send it to the whole list when sending emails to a group of recipients using distribution lists.

Distribution lists were created in the early 1980s to share news about certain subjects. These are fantastic for coordinating a discussion as well as for collaborating easily. That is why they are still in widespread use.

Additionally, individual members can manually change distribution lists. Users can use this to add and remove members from the list. This manual management is useful if you want to allow members to opt-in or out of receiving emails from the list.

When creating a distribution list, you can control who can send and receive emails. You can also define different types of messages (for example, announcements, discussion threads, and so on). Furthermore, you can establish rules that specify what must occur when a message is sent (for example, approve before sending, permit replies, etc.).

When to use a distribution list?

A distribution list is essentially an email address that sends emails to many recipients as opposed to just one. The main benefit of using a distribution list is its convenience and speed. It is especially useful for teams that need to quickly send messages to a large number of vendors, customers, or internal team members.

Another key advantage of using a distribution list is the ability to send messages to multiple people simultaneously. This means that you don’t have to worry about manually entering each person’s email address every time you send a message. You can also create separate lists for different purposes or groups.

This makes it easier to keep track of who you are communicating with. Therefore, you can make sure that all relevant parties are included in the conversation. Plus, it eliminates the chance of accidentally leaving someone off the recipient list. All in all, distribution lists are perfect for large-scale communication, such as company announcements or customer updates.

Can a distribution list have the same email as a shared mailbox? Yes, it is possible. However, the same emails will go to both the inboxes of team members and the shared mailbox.

What is a shared mailbox?

Blog-Article--31-2.pngPhoto by Mathyas Kurmann on Unsplash

It is a mail system where different members of a team have access to the mailbox at once. However, each one can maintain his or her email address. This makes it possible for two people to cooperate by sharing an email or assigning it to one of them. For example, one person could mark the email as resolved while the other marks it as unresolved.

Furthermore, users with access to the shared email inbox can see and manage the mailbox from their accounts. When an email is deleted from a shared inbox by a user, it will automatically be removed from the shared mailbox.

A shared mailbox is a great way to organize your messages. Everyone has access to all the emails in one place instead of having to search through their inboxes. Additionally, any changes made to a message in the shared mailbox are synced across all users so that everyone stays on the same page.

When to use a shared mailbox?

Utilizing a shared mailbox will maintain your communications in one place and avoid potential duplicate emails being sent out. It also allows your team members to quickly access shared information without having to search through individual inboxes.

Additionally, the built-in shared mailbox functionality can prevent users from accidentally sending out confidential information or sensitive documents. This makes it ideal for teams that need to collaborate on email-based tasks. On top of that, members can easily add attachments and even have internal discussions without cluttering up the main inbox.

Plus, with shared mailboxes, team members can be held accountable for their email-based tasks and easily communicate progress. This will keep them organized and prevent conflicting information from being sent to customers.

Last but not least, using a shared mailbox can simplify customer service tasks. As a result, agents can quickly respond to customer queries without juggling multiple conversations records at once. This allows teams to increase customer satisfaction and improve response times. So, when should you use a shared mailbox? We guess you are now clear.

What is the difference between a distribution list and a shared mailbox?

A distribution list and a shared mailbox are both beneficial in different ways. List and a shared mailbox are both beneficial in different ways. Both are great for a productive workflow. But they do differ in various ways. The following table represents distribution list vs. shared mailbox based on a few questions


Distribution Lists

Shared Mailboxes

Can a team email address be used to send me emails?



Can I send emails from a team account?



Can I access previous client information?



Can I distribute requests among certain team members?



Can duplicate responses be avoided?



Is it possible to include internal, confidential remarks in support requests?



Can I examine every email sent and received in a group's inbox?



Which shared mailbox for teams tool to use?

When it comes to choosing a shared mailbox for teams, there are several great options available. Some of the most popular tools are listed below:


HelpSpace is a comprehensive solution for streamlining team and customer service. Users can enjoy advanced ticketing, collaboration, and integration capabilities with HelpSpace. Also, it allows users to build custom self-service sites. This can later empower their teams and enhance the customer experience.

HelpSpace offers an array of features to help teams collaborate more efficiently. These features include a shared inbox, tagging, auto-assignments, and task management. To top it off, HelpSpace offers powerful reporting tools to track performance and measure customer satisfaction.

Moreover, HelpSpace integrates with third-party applications like Zendesk or Slack. This means teams can easily access customer data and other related information from their existing systems. Plus, they can also automate processes by creating custom rules and triggers.


Loopemail is an all-in-one team communication tool to eliminate noise and chaos from the inbox. It brings visibility and clear ownership to ensure that everyone on the team knows who is responsible for what tasks. Loopemail offers a range of features that make it easier to collaborate. These include -

  • Automated workflows

  • SLA reminders

  • Template responses

  • Quick visibility into what is and isn’t working

Loopemail comes with a 14-day free trial with no credit card required and the ability to cancel anytime. It is an all-in-one solution to streamline the communication processes of a team.

Google Collaborative Inbox

Collaborative Inbox from Google is an excellent tool for enhancing team communication. It is an extension of Google Groups, which enables multiple users to collaborate and manage incoming emails as a team. Multiple users can access the same email inbox. Therefore, they can navigate messages, take action, and assign tasks.

Navigating messages in Collaborative Inbox is easy. Each user can view, delete, respond to, or assign emails from the same inbox. As a result, tracking messages will become easier. Users can also assign tasks directly from their inboxes.

The following video is a must-watch if you want to use this tool -
How to use Google's Collaborative Inbox and Google Groups

In addition, Google Collaborative Inbox can mark messages as read or unread, flag them for follow-up, or move them to different folders. This makes managing emails fast and efficient since multiple people can be working on the same task simultaneously.

Final Thoughts

Distribution lists are useful for sending information quickly and easily to multiple people at once, while shared mailboxes are better for collaboration and tracking conversations. Both options may serve different purposes depending on your team’s needs. When it comes to choosing between a distribution list and a shared mailbox, the choice is ultimately up to you.

Having said that, there are many excellent options available in addition to the tools mentioned above for managing team communication. Regardless of which option you pick, you will notice an increase in productivity and efficiency.

Cover Photo by Yannik Mika on Unsplash