Manage the global Directory

Initially, your G Suite global Directory includes each user's name and email addresses. You can also add information like phone numbers, a physical address, and employee information. And you can add external contacts or calendar resources by using programming tools or Marketplace apps. 

After you turn on your global Directory, here's how to manage its contents. 

Turn on global Directory

About the global Directory

Who appears in the global Directory

Shared. When you enable your global Directory, the following contacts can appear in each user's Contact Manager and when you type addresses in services:

Not shared. The following contacts aren't shared with other users in the global Directory:

Where global Directory entries appear

When you enable your global Directory, contact information appears in the following places:

  • Contact Manager: Users can open their Contact Manager to browse a directory of contacts. They can also search quickly for a contact. For details, see The G Suite Contact Manager.
  • When typing addresses: Start typing in any service's address field to open a list of matching names from the global Directory. This works when sending mail, inviting people to calendar events, and more. For details, see Typing addresses in G Suite.
  • Admin console: Each user's contact information appears in their user profiles in the Admin console.

Manage global Directory content

Update user profiles

Here's how to update a user's profile data that's shared in your global Directory: 

User profile data How to update
  • Display name
  • Primary email address
  • Secondary email address
  • Phone numbers and street address
  • Employee ID, employee type, and title
  • Manager, department, and cost center
  • Alternate email address (such as
  • Mobile device contact data
  • Google+ profile information


Tip: Control whether email alias addresses appear in user profiles by setting sharing settings.

Add external contacts

If your users frequently contact people outside your G Suite account, you can add their contact information to your global Directory, too. External contacts are people who don't have accounts in your organization, such as consultants or partners. You have two options for adding external contacts to your global Directory:

  • Developer API: If you're comfortable working with technical tools, you can add external contacts  programmatically using the Domain Shared Contacts API.
  • Marketplace apps: To work with a friendly interface that doesn't require programming, explore the G Suite Marketplace for products that let you add external contacts. Note that Google doesn't provide support for 3rd party software from the Marketplace. Go to the Marketplace now.

Note that you need to enable contact sharing for external contacts to appear in your global Directory.

Add custom fields using Marketplace apps

You can add more contact fields or integrate contacts with other systems using apps from the  G Suite Marketplace. Note that Google doesn't provide support for 3rd party software from the Marketplace.

Write client applications to manage contacts (advanced)
Before working with APIs, you need to enable APIs access. You should also be familiar with protocol basics. Once you're comfortable with APIs, use the code libraries for reference.

Administrators who are comfortable working with more technical tools can manage contact information using the following developer APIs:

  • Add and modify user data with the Directory API

    Use these APIs to add and control data for any user in your account. Add, modify, and delete users and groups, alias addresses, and more.

  • Add external contacts with the Domain Shared Contacts API

    Use these APIs to add, edit, and delete shared external contacts that you'd like to appear in your global G Suite Directory. Examples include consultants and partners. You must enable contact sharing for external contacts to appear in your Directory.

  • Manage users' personal contact data with the Google Contacts Data API

    This API lets client applications view, create, and update a user's personal contacts list.  Your application can also query for contacts that match particular criteria. This API can be used by either an administrator or a user.

  • Add calendar resources such as rooms with the Calendar resources API
Sync user data from your LDAP server (advanced)

You can sync user data from your LDAP server, such as Microsoft Active Directory or IBM Notes, with Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS). All information on your LDAP server is updated, including Internal users, groups, and users outside of your domains. GCDS is a one-way syncing tool; an LDAP server can't be aligned with a G Suite account. Note that GCDS is not an API, but it does assume a level of comfort with technical tools.

Best practices

Limit the number of external contacts

Each external contact counts against your account's 50,000 contact limit. If you have a large organization, try to only add external contacts that most of your users need.

If only a few users need a particular external contact, ask those users to add the contact to their personal contacts. Or create a Google group that includes the internal users and the external contacts they keep in touch with.

Create group addresses

Make it easy for users to contact groups of people they work with by creating Google Groups. Users can email the entire group or invite them all to a meeting, using a single group address.  Messages sent to a group can be viewed later by group members, in a group archive. And group addresses autocomplete when users type in address fields.

Learn more about Google Groups.

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