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.

  1. Create a text file with the .dl extension.
  2. Define error handling with the line "distribution-errors-to:" 
  3. Begin your address list with Distribution-content:
  4. Add the email addresses followed by a ",".
  5. Begin comment lines with ";" or contained in parentheses "( )".
  6. Upload to AFS using SFTP or Fetch. The directory must allow any Andrew userID (system:anyuser)

Sample Dlist File

; Errors to the list
distribution-errors-to-originator: yes


; Internal email addresses,

; External email addresses,

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