The Global Address List (GAL) is a searchable directory that contains all mail-enabled recipient objects in an Exchange Online (Microsoft 365). GAL includes user mailboxes, contacts, mail-enabled users, mail-enabled groups, distribution groups, Microsoft 365 groups, public folders, etc.
By default, the new Exchange Online tenant comes with one GAL (called the Default Global Address List) and five built-in address lists (All Contacts, All Distribution Lists, All Rooms, All Users, All-Groups, and Public Folders). Default Global Address List is the primary reference for all recipients in the organization.
The following recipient filter is used to build the Default Global Address List:
"((Alias -ne $null) -and (((ObjectClass -eq 'user') -or (ObjectClass -eq 'contact') -or (ObjectClass -eq 'msExchSystemMailbox') -or (ObjectClass -eq 'msExchDynamicDistributionList') -or (ObjectClass -eq 'group') -or (ObjectClass -eq 'publicFolder'))))"
Your tenant’s GALs and Address Lists can be viewed in Outlook on the Web:
- Sign in to https://outlook.office.com/
- Click the People icon in the left navigation bar;
- Select Directory > Default Global Address List;
- A list of your organization’s recipients appears on the right.
Use the Address Book applet to view address lists in Outlook Desktop. Click the Address Book icon on the ribbon and select Global Address List. Here you can view the attributes of all mail-enabled recipients.
The Address Lists role is used in Exchange Online to manage address lists. By default, this role is not assigned to any of the role groups. Assign this role to your account:
- Sign in to the Exchange Admin Center;
- Navigate to Roles > Admin Roles;
- Create a new role group named Address List Management;
- Assign the Address Lists role;
- Add your account to the list of members of this role.
Wait for a while and then use the Exchange Online PowerShell v3 (EXOv3) module to connect to your tenant:
List the available address books:
The required permissions have not been propagated and you need to wait a little longer if you see the following error:
Get-Addresslist : The term ‘Get-Addresslist’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program. Check the spelling of the name, or if a path was included, verify that the path is correct and try again.
You should see a list of all the Address Lists in the Microsoft 365 tenant and the recipient filters used.
Now list the available Global Address Lists:
In Exchange Server 2019/2016/2013 on-premises, there are two built-in PowerShell cmdlets available for updating the GAL and the address list: Update-AddressList and Update-GlobalAddressList. To force an update of all GALs in the Exchange Server, you can use the command:
Get-GlobalAddressList | Update-GlobalAddressList
But those cmdlets aren’t currently available in Exchange Online. All procedures for updating the Address List are hidden from the user in Microsoft 365.
In order to force an update of the Exchange Global Address List (GAL) in Microsoft 365, you can use the following command:
Set-GlobalAddressList -Identity "Default Global Address List"
On some Outlook clients, the global address book sometimes stops updating. The Outlook client downloads the address book from your tenant in the background using the BITS protocol. You may experience errors when retrieving the offline address book in Outlook if the BITS queue is full. In this case, it is recommended to reset all BITS jobs with the command:
bitsadmin.exe /reset /allusers