When you create a group in CiviCRM there are two tick boxes for Group Type: Access Control and Mailing List. I presumed that the latter controlled whether that group was available in CiviMail, however this doesn't appear to be the case.

When you create a new mailing you can select a group whether or not this tick box has been ticked. So, I was wondering if this tick box actually does anything or if it can just be ignored?

I'm using CiviCRM 4.4.15

4 Answers 4


I just created a smart group on demo 4.6 and I am not able to select it in a mailing, unless it's checked as a Mailing List.

But interestingly Demo 4.4 does allow it. I suspect we are seeing a bug in 4.4.


I think I have discovered the answer to this.

If the 'Mailing List' box is ticked and the visibility is set to public the group is listed on a page (yourdomain.org/civicrm/mailing/subscribe) that allows people to subscribe to the mailing list. If the box isn't ticked it won't be displayed on this page.

It doesn't appear to affect whether the group can be used to select recipients for a mailing, which is what I first thought it did.


Sanjay is right--you're seeing a bug. The list should only show mailing lists, and for good reason: people can unsubscribe themselves from mailing list groups. If you're relying on a group for access control or segmentation, you probably don't want that group's membership to be fluid, with people joining and leaving all the time.

Of course, you could always search for a non-mailing-list group and send CiviMail from the results, but then you'd be prompted to select a mailing list group as an unsubscribe group--the group from which unsubscribers remove themselves.

  • I'm tempted to use that 'bug' as a feature - disabling opt-in emails for joining groups ( civicrm.stackexchange.com/questions/6828/… ). Do you happen to know if that bug is or will be 'fixed' ( or the feature removed :-) ) one day ?
    – commonpike
    Nov 2, 2015 at 13:00
  • It's important to have the distinction between mailing list groups and other groups for the reasons I described. If you want to get your opt-in emails turned off, attack that problem directly.
    – Andie Hunt
    Nov 2, 2015 at 15:45
  • .. It's seems to be removed in 4.6.
    – commonpike
    Sep 1, 2016 at 18:26

One additional point to this-

If a Group is created with both Access Control and Mailing list checked. This group will not be available to select if the logged in user doesn't have the required permission.

If the non-permitted user has the ACL created for it to "view Groups" or related, this group will be listed in CiviMail. (introduced in 4.6.7 https://issues.civicrm.org/jira/browse/CRM-13644)

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