Having a group email list on my iPad is a real time saver. I can type a few letters of our school name in the “To:” files of my email and quickly get a list of groups I have created so I can send an email to a bunch of people at once. The initial set up of this is kinda confusing but pay attention and I'll walk you through it. Once it's done, however, you can easily edit it to keep it up to date and you can quickly share it. Do it once and it works for everyone. For large lists you'll want a computer with MS Word or Apple Pages installed.
So, it's hard to see in the pic but in a new message I have typed the first few letters of my school name and I already see “SCHOOL All & SCHOOL Teachers”. One is everyone that works at the school and one is just the teachers at the school. Creating the list is either super easy and fast or time consuming depending on your IT person.
I was able to get a CSV (Comma Seperated Value), file of everyone with an email address from our school database.
So, most email programs can use it as it is to create a list but the Contacts app in iOS is a little more picky. Here's how it looks in Apple Pages as a simple CSV. Each email is separated by a comma.
For the Contacts app the email needs to look like this: <email@example.com>, each email needs to be in this bracket followed by a comma. Well, I have 60+ emails that need this so, how did I fix this quick.
Apple Pages, this works in MS Word as well. I have all my addresses shown above open in Pages. Now, going to Edit – Find – Find… This gives me a little search box. I type in the “Find” field just a comma, then in the “Replace” field I'll put: “>,<” minus the quotes and hit Replace All.
Boom, all ready except adding a bracket at the top and bottom.
Note: The “Find & Replace” works on everything, even spaces. So, if you just have a list of emails with no commas, you can change a space to a comma using this method first.
Email this to your iPad. Open it up and select all and copy everything. Now open the Contacts app. Create a New Contact, just enter a name in the Company field and then paste your addresses in the email field.
Do the same for all the groups you would like to create. Just edit your Pages/Word document to contain only the address for that group. I'll make one for the Middle School teachers, Lower School, etc…
Once, you have the ones you like you can easily share it with your staff for their Contacts. In the Contacts app, highlight the group you would like to share and touch “Share Contact”, do this for each one and it will create an email with a file the user can open on their iPad which will create the Group for them.
I know this seems like a lot but remember, you only have to do it once and then it would just be doing a quick edit to add or remove staff coming or going as needed. You could even call it by year, All Staff 2013-2014. Delete and repeat each year and share.
There are other ways to do this but I found this was the most unobtrusive way. Others require that you email everyone first then forwarding the group mail to yourself and copying the addresses out of the forwarded email but then you have to explain why your emailing everyone.
If you know a better way please comment or just hit the like button if I helped you.