How the organizational structure works

Initially in your Google Admin console, all your users and devices are placed in a single organizational unit. All settings you make in the Admin console apply to this top-level organization and therefore to all users and devices in your account.

Add organizational unit

Apply settings to groups of users or devices

To give different settings to a set of users or devices, create an organizational unit beneath your top-level organization. Then move users and devices to that suborganization. When you make a setting in your Admin console, select the organization. Users or devices in that organization get the new setting. They inherit all other settings from their parent.

In the picture, Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive are turned on for users in the top-level organization. Users in the suborganization inherit Gmail and Drive being turned on, but for them, Hangouts are turned off.

Apply settings to one user or device

To change settings for a single user or device, create an organization for just that user or device. A user or device belongs to only one organizational unit and inherits that organization's settings.

Options for large companies

If you manage a large number of users or sync your LDAP directory: Use access groups to turn on a service for specific users within an organization. For example, you turned off YouTube for all organizational units, but some users in the marketing and sales organizations need the service. Two options:

  • Move the users to a new or existing organization, and then turn on the service.  
  • Add the users to an access group that has the service turned on.
    Each user in the group can access the service, even when the service is turned off for their organization or the users are in different organizations. With access groups, you can turn on services for users without changing your organizational structure. Learn about access groups.

Build a hierarchy

Create as many organizational units as you want—either at the same level or in a hierarchy. Each child inherits settings from its parent, which you can then customize. Changing a setting at a higher level changes the setting for all sub-organizations that inherit that setting. Custom settings, however, remain unchanged.

If you use multiple domains

You can mix and match users from all your domains in an organizational unit. In fact, users in all your domains are initially in the same top-level organization. To change settings for users in a particular domain, create an organization for just those users.

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