HomeTopicbox: Getting StartedPrinter Friendly Version

Topicbox: Getting Started

1. For Owners

1.1. From signup to first message in two easy steps

Two steps to sending your first message with Topicbox

This quick tutorial assumes you already have signed up with an organization. You will create a private group to send out a test email to yourself. 

1. Create a Group

Log in and use the Groups plus icon (+) in the left hand menu bar to open the group creation screen. Create a Private group. Provide:

  • Name: name of your group. (maximum length: 30 characters)
  • Email: users can email this address to send messages to the group.
  • Description: This is shown in the groups screen in the interface, and is included in some system messages such as the welcome message sent when someone first joins a group.
  • Privacy settings: Hide the group from non-members.
  • Sending messages: Who can send to this group? The group members. For now, this means only you can send to this group.
  • Not permitted: Hold for review. Mail sent from anyone other than group members will be marked as moderated, and held in the For Review dashboard.
  • Advanced settings: The defaults are fine. No subject prefix is added to group mail. Replies to group mail come back to the group. Mail sent to the group will show the original sender's email address. Mail sent from the group will be addressed to the group, not to each recipient individually. 

Now you have a new group, send yourself a message!

2. Send message

Open your mail client and send a message to the group email address you set above.

You will receive a copy of your mail in your Inbox shortly, and it will appear in the Topicbox interface for your group too.

What next?

Testing moderation

Set your test group to moderate all messages by going into the group settings page, and adjust the permissions for Sending messages, so that Messages go to admins for review before being sent. (This is called "moderation")

In your email client, send another test message to your group. You won't receive your email copy yet and it won't appear in the interface as it is moderated.

Go to your "For Review" dashboard and see your message held. View the message and click to accept it (which sends it to the group) or reject it. Once the message is accepted, it will appear in the group message list and be sent to your email inbox.

Add/Invite members

On your group screen on the right hand side there is the member list. This currently has just one person in it: you. Clicking on the member list takes you to the group member screen. Use the "Add members" button.

Provide a list of email addresses to add to your group, either by typing them in or uploading a file.

Here you can choose to

  • add members with a notification: they are added to the group and a welcome email sent to them.
  • add members without a notification: they are added to the group.

Finally you review your changes: check your list of users and what will happen to them, before adding them to your Topicbox group. If there are new users to your Topicbox organization, this may impact your billing.

1.2. Adding/Removing Groups

Who can create a group

By default, only organization owners can add groups.

An owner can choose whether to allow all members of the special "staff" group to create private groups. 

Note that groups cannot be deleted at this time. 

How to create a group

There are two ways to create a new group:

  1. In the navigation bar, use the  symbol 
  2. In the All Groups page, use the New Group button.

Visit the help on Group settings to learn about the settings.

Adding members to a group

  1. Navigate to the group.
  2. View the members list.
  3. Use the Add members button.

Visit the help on Adding/Removing members to learn how to invite or add members.

Approving member requests

Where a group's permissions allows people to join without being invited, but their membership needs to be reviewed by a group admin or moderator, the membership request is shown in the For Review dashboard.

Removing a group

It's not possible to remove a group. 

You can remove all members and remove sending and visibility permissions, which will hide it from everyone's view except organization owners. This helps you retain an archived copy of all messages.

1.3. Reviewing members and topics

If groups allow people to request to join, their membership request needs to be approved by a group administrator, group moderator, or an organization owner.

If all or some messages in groups need to be reviewed (moderated) before they are sent to the group, they need to be approved by a group administrator, group moderator or organization owner. Some information on why the message is held or discarded is shown in the review panel when you click on the message. 

Messages awaiting approval appear in the For Review dashboard.

To see old messages that were rejected (because of the security settings excluding certain users, or because they failed moderation), use the Show rejected messages checkbox.

1.4. Getting Started Guide for New Owners

So you've recently been added as an owner to a Topicbox organization! Here's a quick guide to get you started.

What can you do?

Owners can always control the billing settings of their organization, oversee all groups, and designate other owners. Owners may choose to also act as administrators for your groups.

Administrators can add and remove members, change group settings, and review messages.

Where can you do it?

When you log in to Topicbox, both owners and members see their own personal News Center. This is a wrap-up of all the messages that have been sent to groups you're a member of. If you've become an administrator of a group, you'll also see links on the right side to quickly access the settings and members of that group.

You can see a complete list of all the groups in your organization, whether you're a member or not, on the Groups page. From there, you can choose to join the group, but you don't have to. Clicking on the group name will also take you to the group's page. There, you can see the Messages, Members and Settings of the group.

See related pages below on how to add members, download a complete copy of the member list, changing the settings for a group, and adding and removing your own groups.

And if you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to our friendly support team!

2. For Members

2.1. How do I log in to Topicbox?

You can log into Topicbox without a password: we send a one time code to your email address that you use to log in with.

You can log into Topicbox with a password. Useful if you don't have access to your email account when you connect.

You can log into Topicbox with two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication, or 2FA). This is where you use a password AND a code generated by a security device (either an app on your phone or a separate physical device that plugs into your computer).

2.2. Troubleshooting login issues

Login codes

If you've sent multiple login emails, please make sure you're using the most recent one. Only the most current login code will be active.

Not receiving login codes

If you're not receiving login codes for your Topicbox Organization, please check your spam folder.

We email login codes from an envelope sender specific to your organization, which helps us track any bouncing emails.

Please add the domain <organization_name>.bounce.topicbox.com to your trusted senders/contacts list.

An Organization's name is found in the login link https://<organization_name>.topicbox.com/login

Forgotten password

If you've forgotten your password, you can still access your Topicbox account using a login code.

Lost or stolen second-factor authentication device

If you no longer have access to your 2FA device and cannot access your Organization, please contact your Organization Owner.

Need more help?

Organization Owners can help you identify problems with your Topicbox account. If you don't have their direct email address, they can be reached at the group's email address, adding a plus extension for your administrators.

For example:

example_group@example.topicbox.com will need to email example_group+admins@example.topicbox.com

Organization Owners

If you're an Organization Owner and having trouble logging into your Topicbox account, please contact Topicbox support.

2.3. How do I send a message?

Use email

You can send a message to a group using your email client.

Use the email address of the group. You can find the email address of a group you belong to by logging in to the web interface and navigating to the group. The email address is in the group information panel on the right hand side.

The subject of your message becomes a group topic. Replying to an existing group message will add to the conversation about that topic.

It may take some time for your message to be delivered to the group if your group's messages are moderated. A moderated group means that messages need to be reviewed by a group moderator before being accepted.

Use the Topicbox composer

You can create a new message within a group by using the New Topic button. This will start a new message, prompting you for a subject and message content.

When you send your message, it still has to pass through any moderation controls before it will show up in the Topicbox web interface.

You can also reply to messages through the Topicbox web interface. Find the topic conversation you want to add to, and use the reply box to start a reply.

If you wish to refer to another message in your reply, select a piece of text. This will pop up a prompt "Insert Quotation in Reply". Clicking on that prompt box will copy the text into your reply. To cancel the quotation, unselect the text.

Drafts are saved: if you click away to another group or another set of topics, then return to your original topic chain, your unsent reply will still be waiting for you.

2.4. How do I receive messages?

You can choose how you want to receive messages for each group you belong to.

One email per message

Every message sent to a group is also sent to you in an email. 

This keeps you up to date with conversations as they happen, enabling you to respond from your favourite email client.

One summary email per day across all groups

Topicbox can send you a summary email showing activity across all the groups you have set to summary mode.

This ensures your inbox doesn't fill up with every single message, but you are still kept in the loop with the activity in groups you don't closely follow.

Web view only

No email is sent to you about any message in a particular group. You can still view all the conversations through the web interface online, whether on a desktop or on a mobile device.

Whether you just prefer to log in to stay on top of your messages, or for groups that you don't actively participate in, web view is the way to go.

3. Migrating from Listbox

3.1. How can I move to Topicbox?

Not every organization is currently able to move to Topicbox. Some features are still being added, like digests. If your group is eligible to migrate, you will be contacted via email.

Once you've been contacted, you will be asked to select an organization domain name, like yourorg.topicbox.com. This is the domain that all your group email addresses will be at, like staff@yourorg.topicbox.com.

Once a domain name has been selected, we will migrate all your messages, users and settings for you, then switch mail service from Listbox.com to Topicbox.com. When migration is complete, we will email you so you can come check out your organization's new site.

From the perspective of your users, there should be no interruption of service. You will be able to tell when migration is complete because your message footers will refer to Topicbox instead of Listbox.

We've also set up a complete guide to settings, Topicbox terms and more, especially designed for users migrating from Listbox.

3.2. Listbox to Topicbox: the basics

If you're comfortable using Listbox, we have a quickstart guide for you on Topicbox so you can get back to business as rapidly as possible. This guide explores where you'll find familiar features, what's different and where to go next.

Terms have changed

Not sure what some of the terms mean? Here's how Listbox items translate to Topicbox items:

  • A Listbox account is an organization; an account admin is called an organization owner.
  • A Listbox list is now a group; list owners are group administrators. Moderators are the same.
  • A group's archive is now its discussions. Your archive is the collection of all the discussions for your organization.
  • Topicbox threads discussions by subject. This is a topic. Messages appear in topics.
  • A Listbox subscriber is a member.

List types

Listbox has two list types: newsletter/email marketing lists and discussion forum lists. The primary difference between these two types is who can send messages out. A newsletter list is for the list owner only to send mail to all the list subscribers, while a discussion forum allows all subscribers to reply to each other.

In Topicbox this is handled through the group settings. The Topicbox privacy settings allow for far greater control over who can access your groups and web archive, providing many more possibilities for different kinds of lists for different audiences. The web interface also lets members of your organization discover other lists available to them that they can ask to join.

Creating a newsletter in Topicbox

To create a Listbox style newsletter in Topicbox, your group needs to be set so that only the group administrators can send (In Group settings, Sending, set Permissions to Group owners). For the personal touch, we recommend setting the list to send from the administrator, and to each recipient. (In Group Settings, Message rewriting, From and To)

The other group settings are your choice. You can control who can see the newsletter list exists, whether the member list is visible, whether to moderate messages, along with who the mail appears to be sent from.

Creating a discussion forum in Topicbox

To create a Listbox style discussion forum in Topicbox, your group needs to be set so that all members can send (In Group settingsSending, set Permissions to All its members).

The other group settings are your choice. You can control who can see the newsletter list exists, whether the member list is visible, whether to moderate messages, along with who the mail appears to be sent from, to and who replies go back to.

Visual Tour

Left hand menu bar

  • Find a list of your current groups here, to easily access their messages.
  • Use the All Groups item to access all the groups in your organization that are available to you.
  • Moderators and group administrators can access their review dashboard from here.
  • Selecting your account name will reveal the settings options: change your password and security. Organization owners can adjust their organization settings and member list here too.

Central content area

  • Where all the action happens. 
  • The titles in the top hand section allow you to navigate back to where you were, or compose a new topic.
  • The right hand side contains additional information relevant to what you're doing. This can be either information and actions about the group and its members, or information and actions about the particular topic you're reviewing.

Setting notifications per list

In Topicbox, notification preferences are set per group. Navigate to the group page you wish to change notifications for, use the "Edit delivery options" in the sidebar to access the group settings and adjust how you wish to be informed of new posts.

3.3. Listbox to Topicbox: What's changed?

What's new

  • Naming Choose your own subdomain for all your groups: yourdomain.topicbox.com.
  • Speed — The interface is much snappier.
  • Better design  its all-new interface has been created with a focus on simplicity.
  • More reading options  users who may prefer to read/search content on the web should find it easy and user friendly.
  • Powerful search  easy to locate the topics you want.
  • More useful for your heavy users Users who are members of more than one group should see the biggest improvement. Easily see recent conversations across all groups!
For administrators, we've also made some big improvements with:
  • For Review dashboard  One page to approve both members and messages, for every group you administrate.
  • Member List A consolidated member list for your organization.
  • Authentication Two new authentication options:
    1. An emailed code, instead of a password, for standard users
    2. Two-step verification (2FA) with a password, for users with high security needs

What's changed

Posting restrictions  Topicbox has a simpler model, and is managed through group permissions.

Subscriber types  The member list shows who is active. Inactive members are those who have left the group and aren't shown in the member list. We don't (currently) flag members whose mail is bouncing, but this information is recorded and is a planned feature.

Message accounts by type  discarded messages show up in your Trash folder. Held messages show up in your For Review folder to be moderated. Bounced mail is currently not shown.

Searching messages in the For Review state also shows messages in the Trash folder.

System messages are not currently customizable. Each system message does contain your group name and its description, so if there's information you'd like to share with your users about the group purpose, include it here.

What's the same

From a user perspective, groups work almost exactly the same, and require no changes.

Mail sent to the original @listbox.com address will work, but groups will refer to themselves at the new address at the Topicbox subdomain you chose.

If you have web archives, your old links will continue to work, but they will redirect to the new pages at topicbox.com.

The excellent telephone and chat support we know you love about Listbox won’t be changing — your favorite support staff will be supporting Topicbox as well.

If you have any other questions about Topicbox, your migration, or your account in general, please let us know.

3.4. Migrated lists: settings in Topicbox

To help explain what the Topicbox settings are and how they relate to Listbox settings you are familiar with, this guide explores how a list migrated from Listbox now looks in Topicbox.

Note: Only discussion forum lists can be migrated.

Find and edit the settings for a group in Topicbox by logging in, navigating to the group and using the settings link in the right hand side bar.


Group Name: List Name
Group Description: List Name


Who can see this group exists: 

  • Public : List policies / Subscriber archive was "public"
  • Member-only : List policies / Subscriber archive wasn't public ("private" or "no archive")

A public group is visible to the world. Topicbox embraces discoverability. That is, the ability to have a group directory for your organization: it shows what groups are available for people to find for themselves and request to join.

If you want to have a group that is only available to the members of your organization, then adjust this setting to "member-only".

Can people add themselves to this group without an invitation:

  • Yes : List policies / Subscriber policy was set to "anyone can join"
  • Requires approval : List policies / Subscriber policy was set to "Listowner approval required"

If you want groups to be accessible only by an invite from a group admin, you can set your group add setting to "no".

Who can view this group's membership:

  • Group administrators

You can choose to make the group membership visible to its members, or to anyone who can see the group (which may be the world, if the group's existence is public).

Who can view the archive of messages sent to this group:

  • Anyone who can see this group: List policies / Subscriber archive was "public"
  • Member-only : List policies / Subscriber archive = not public ("private" or "no archive")
If set to "anyone", then the full set of discussions may be viewed on the web by anyone without needing a Topicbox login, if the group's existence is public.

You can choose to make the archive only visible to group administrators and moderators.


Who can send to this group:

  • Owners : Message Policies / How will messages be sent was "composer only" or "composer + email"
  • Members : Message Policies / How will messages be sent was "subscribers" AND mail from non-subscribers wasn't unrestricted.
  • Anyone in the world : Message Policies / Mail from non-subscribers was "unrestricted"


  • All messages : Message Policies / Mail from subscribers was set to moderate subscribers' messages AND non-subscriber messages weren't being discarded.
  • Messages from non-members only : Message Policies / Mail from subscribers was unmoderated AND all non-subscriber messages were held for review
  • No moderation : Message Policies / Mail from subscribers was unmoderated AND non-subscriber messages were discarded or unrestricted.

If a non-member sends a message to a group that has moderation switched off, their message will be silently rejected. It can still be seen in the For Review dashboard, once the "show rejected messages" filter is enabled.

Topicbox doesn't have an explicit policy set for controlling what happens to non-member messages. They are either passed through to the list (if sending is public and no moderation is in place), moderated (if sending is public, and moderation is enabled for all or non-member messages), or discarded (if sending is member-only or owner-only).

Advanced Preferences

Reply To

  • Sender : Message formatting / Reply-To was "message sender"
  • Group : Message formatting / Reply-To was "the list", "autoreply address" or "other"
  • Owners : Message formatting / Reply-To was "the list owners"

There is no equivalent functionality in Topicbox at this time for autoreplies or replying to a designated other address.


  • Group : Message Formatting / From was "the list"
  • Original author : Message Formatting / From was "message sender" or "other"
There is no equivalent functionality in Topicbox at this time for sending from a designated other address. 


  • Recipient : Message Formatting / To was "the recipient"
  • Group : Message Formatting / To was "the list"

Subject prefix: Formatting / Start Subject with tagging text

3.5. Listbox features: coming soon to Topicbox

Subscriber "on vacation" support.

Self-hosted subscription form.

Open rate statistics.