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Assign, unassign, and reassign licenses

In some cases, Google automatically assigns a license for a service to every user in your entire organization. In other cases, you can manually assign licenses to your entire organization, an organizational unit, a group of users, or an individual user. You can also turn on the option to automatically assign licenses to users. Learn more about how user licensing works.

Note: This article describes various processes for assigning, unassigning, and reassigning licenses. The steps for reducing licenses depend on the type of plan you have. If you have G Suite on the Annual Plan, you can reduce licenses only when it’s time to renew your contract. If you have G Suite on the Flexible Plan, or have some other Google service, the concept of reducing licenses doesn’t apply. Instead, you can delete users to reduce your monthly payment whenever you want.

You can assign and manage licenses in 3 places in the Google Admin console:

  • The Billing page—To assign licenses to all users in your organization or to an uploaded list of users, or to set up automatic licensing
  • The Users page—Useful for assigning licenses to multiple users, but not all users in your organization
  • An individual user’s page—Good for managing a single user

Assign and unassign licenses

Automatically assign a license to every user in your organization

Note:If you use Google Cloud Directory Sync, you must pick one method for automatic licensing assignment—either the auto-licensing option in the Google Admin console described here or Google Cloud Directory Sync License Sync.

You can assign a license to every user in your organization automatically from the Billing page or the license management page.

Automatically assign a license from the Billing page

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Billing.

    The Billing page lists each service you've purchased, along with basic information about your subscription.

  3. For the service you want, to the left of the service name, click the Down arrow Down Arrow to expand the box.
  4. Click the Auto-licensing field and select ON for everyone.
  5. Click Save.

Automatically assign a license from the license management page

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Billing.

    The Billing page lists each service you've purchased, along with basic information about your subscription.

  3. Next to the service you want to assign licenses for, click Actions and then Manage Licenses.
  4. On the Manage licenses tab, next to Automatic License assignment, check the auto-assign box.
  5. If you have multiple services, choose a license option from the drop-down list below the box.
  6. At the bottom, click Save.

    If you turn on automatic license assignment, only the Manage Licenses tab appears on the license management page.

About automatic license assignment

If you turn on automatic licensing for your entire organization for a service, existing user licenses for the same service aren’t changed at any level (top-level or lower-level organization). For example, different versions of Google Drive storage with different storage capacities are versions of the same service. If users in the organization have licenses for Drive storage Capacity 1, and you turn on automatic licensing for Drive storage Capacity 2 at the organization level, the existing Capacity 1 licenses remain the same. Any new users in the organization receive Capacity 2 licenses.

If you turn on automatic license assignment for your top-level organization, you can turn it off for specific lower-level organizations. Similarly, if you have automatic licensing turned off for the top-level organization, you can turn it on for individual lower-level organizations.

Assign and unassign licenses on the Billing page
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Billing.

    The Billing page lists each service you've purchased, along with basic information about your subscription.

  3. Next to the service you want to assign licenses for, click Actions and then Manage Licenses.
  4. Choose an option:

    • To assign a license to individual users in your account, go to step 5.
    • To assign licenses to an uploaded list of users, go to step 6.
    • To assign a license to each user in an organization, go to step 7.
    • To unassign licenses, go to step 8.
  5. (Optional) To assign a license to individual users in your account:
    1. On the Unassigned users tab, check the box next to each user you want to assign a license to.
    2. Click Assign, select the service you want to assign the license to, and click Assign License.

      The assigned users are moved to the Assigned users tab.

  6. (Optional) To assign licenses to an uploaded a list of users:
    1. On the Manage licenses tab, next to Assign bulk licenses to users, click Choose File.
    2. Select the user file and click Upload.

      The file should be in .csv format and contain the full email address of each user you want to assign a license to. Include one address per line.

    3. If you have multiple versions of a service, select the version for which you want to apply the licenses.
    4. Click Upload.
  7. (Optional) To assign a license to each user in an organization unit:
    1. At the top of the Unassigned users tab, click Org.
    2. On the left, select the organization you want to assign licenses to. You can also search for an organization in the search field.

      The Org screen shows how many users in the organization do and don't have licenses.

    3. Click Assign, select the service you want to assign the license to, and click Assign License.

      If you have multiple versions of a service and some of the users already have a license for a different version, you'll be asked if you want to replace those users' licenses with the new license or only assign a license to users who don't already have one.

      Assigning licenses to an organization only gives users in that organization a license. Users in suborganizations aren’t assigned a license.

  8. (Optional) To unassign licenses:
    1. On the Assigned users tab, select or search for users (List view) or organization (Org view).
    2. Click Unassign.

      This unassigns the given license for the user and moves the user from the Assigned users tab to the Unassigned users tab.

Assign and unassign licenses on the Users page
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Users.
  3. Check the box next to each user’s name that you want to assign or unassign.

    You might need to hover over a user’s profile image to see the box.

  4. In the top corner, click Manage licenses Manage licenses, and then select Assign Licenses or Unassign Licenses.
  5. Select the service and then click Assign or Unassign.
Assign and unassign licenses on an individual user's page
  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console dashboard, go to Users.
  3. Click the name of the user you want to manage.
  4. Click the user’s license section and then click Manage Licenses.
  5. Check or uncheck the boxes next to a service to assign or unassign a license as needed and click Save.

Reassign licenses

You can’t assign a license for a Google service from one user to another directly. Instead, follow any of the procedures above to unassign the license from the original user, and then assign it to the new user.

Note:

  • You can't unassign a user's license if you've elected to auto-assign licenses to all users.
  • In some cases, if you unassign a license, it might take up to 24 hours before you can reassign the license to a different user.
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