Carnegie Mellon University

How to Use Distribution Lists

Distribution list (Dlists) are stored in your Andrew account AFS directory. Follow the steps below to create the list.

We recommend creating a directory to hold all of your dlists.

  1. Create a directory in AFS using a SSH client such as SSH Tectia or Terminal.
    Sample: mkdir dlist
  2. Set the permission for the directory to rl for system:anyuser.
    Sample: fs sa dlist system:anyuser rl
  3. If the directory you are creating is a subdirectory, (example /dlist/hcdlist), set permissions for the parent directory to l for system:anyuser.
  4. If you are only giving system:anyuser l access, then set the permissions for postman:dlist to rl.

Note: We recommend creating a folder named dlist and setting rl permissions for system:anyuser.

  1. Create a text file with the .dl extension.
  2. Define error handling with the line "distribution-errors-to:" 
    ; Errors to the list

    distribution-errors-to-originator: yes
  3. Begin your address list with Distribution-content:
    1. Add the email addresses followed by a ",".
      ; Internal email addresses,

      ; External email addresses,
    2. Begin comment lines with ";" or contained in parentheses "( )".
  4. Upload to AFS using SFTP or Fetch. The directory must allow any Andrew userID (system:anyuser)

Once the list is created, enter +dlist+dlist pathname into the To: field to send to it. dlist pathname is the path to the list.

Example: +dist+/afs/

Depending on where you want returned email messages to go, add the appropriate code to your dlist file:

  • back to sender - distribution-errors-to-originator: yes
  • ignore - distribution-errors-to: <> 
    No spaces between the brackets.

Consider an alias if you do not want to enter the full distribution list name when sending email to the list. This makes the distribution list more convenient to use.

To request a distribution list alias, send email to with the following:

  • A brief description and purpose of the dlist
  • A suggested name for the dlist. The requested alias must have a "-" in the name. For example: metals-research
  • The location of the dlist file