Skip to content

Email Groups (and Photo Albums, Too!)

I love email groups. I create a name for my group and then choose the contacts I want to place in it. When I type that group name in the “to” field of an email, all of the names in that group appear. Pretty efficient.

But what happens when one of my friends in an email group changes his/her email address? Do I need to change the address in my master contact list, in the group list, or in both?

The answer — change it in either and it changes in both — brings up some important points about email groups:

  • The contact you put in a group is not an independent copy of the original contact. It is a virtual copy and remains linked to the original. If you change information in one, you are changing it in the other.
  • Any contact you wish to include in an email group must first be in your list of all contacts.
  • A contact can be in more than one email group at a time.
  • If you remove a contact from an email group, the contact is removed from the group, but not from the master list. If, however (and this is really really important), you remove a name from your master list, the name will be removed from the master list AND from any email group that contact was in.

This same concept is true for the digital pictures you store in your computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you have the ability to organize the pictures in your picture library into albums — just as you organize email contacts into groups — the same rules apply:

  •  A picture you put in an album is not an independent copy of that picture. It is a virtual copy and remains linked to the original. If you edit the picture in one place, you are editing it in all its locations.
  • Any picture you wish to include in an album must first be in your library of all pictures.
  • A picture can be in more than one album at a time.
  • If you remove a picture from an album, the picture is removed from the album, but not from the picture library. If, however (and this is really really important), you remove a picture from your picture library, the picture will be removed from the picture library AND from any albums that picture was in.

These groupings can be very helpful as you strive to be an efficient computer user. But here is the danger: if you think that because you have organized your contacts into email groups and your pictures into albums that you can delete the “originals,” you are wrong! Don’t do it! As you now know — from the last bullet point in each of the above lists — this would be catastrophic.