If you have multiple Google Workspace editions

When your organization has multiple Google Workspace editions, your organization has a combination of users with different licenses.

The following are common questions about buying and using multiple Google Workspace editions.

Getting started

I’m new to Google Workspace. Where should I start?
Customers who are new to Google Workspace should start at the basic setup. The steps are the same when you want to use multiple editions. The main difference is that you must work with a Google sales representative or partner to buy licenses for multiple editions. See Set up ​Google Workspace​ for your organization.
How do I buy licenses for multiple Google Workspace editions? How does billing work?
The billing processes are mostly the same when you have multiple Google Workspace editions, with the following differences:
  • For customers who have automatic payments or invoiced billing, your invoice shows each Google Workspace edition as a separate line item.
  • All of your editions have the same monthly draw date. The first month is prorated, as needed, to bring the draw dates into alignment. However, the annual renewal dates for each edition stay separate based on the date you bought each one.

For more information, see Billing and payments.

How do I assign user-based licenses?

If your organization's edition of Google Workspace doesn't include Vault, you might be able to buy Vault add-on licenses. For details, see Buy Vault licenses for your organization.

Note: If your organization has multiple Google Workspace editions, you can’t purchase add-on subscriptions. If you need additional features for some users, such as Vault, consider assigning them a Google Workspace license that includes these features. 


Using licenses with multiple editions

How do I manage user licenses?

In general, licensing for multiple Google Workspace editions works the same as for a single edition. If you manually assign licenses, you simply assign the correct license to each user.

Note: If you set up organizational units, users in child organizational units can have different licenses from users in the top-level organizational unit.

Automatically assign licenses

  • You can set up automatic license assignment for only one of the editions. When you do, all new users and users with no licenses are automatically assigned licenses for the edition. Any existing users continue on their current license unless you manually reassign the license.
  • You can switch automatic licensing to another Google Workspace edition at any time. When you do, all new users and users with no licenses are automatically assigned licenses for the new edition.

Learn more about assigning licenses.

How do I add seats (licenses or users)?
The process for getting more licenses or adding users is the same when you have multiple Google Workspace editions. If you have automatic licensing turned on for one of your editions, the number of users you can add is limited to the number of seats you have for that edition.
How do I change a user’s license to a different edition?

You can change a user’s license to a different edition—for example, to upgrade a user from Business Standard to Business Plus.

You can adjust licenses based on your payment plan:

  • If you’re on the Flexible Plan, you can upgrade some or all of your users at any time.
  • If you’re on the Annual Plan, contact your Google sales representative or partner and request the new license levels. You have 15 days to assign licenses. After 15 days, we tally your committed license count for the licenses and charge you based on the licenses as you assigned them to your users.

    For example, you start with 1,000 users with Business Standard licenses on the Annual Plan. You upgrade 500 users to Business Plus through your Google sales representative or partner. Now you have 15 days to move the 500 upgraded users to a Business Plus license. If you move only 300 users to Business Plus in that time, we update the committed license count for Business Standard to 700 (the original 1000 minus the 300 you reassigned) and charge you accordingly.

Learn how to change a user’s license to a different edition.

Managing users

I want to move a few users between editions. How do I do this?
  1. Make sure you have enough licenses for all your users.
  2. If needed, get more licenses.
  3. For each user, assign the correct license type.

    You can upgrade or downgrade the license type. See how service and administrative settings change if you downgrade a user.

Are all features available when I have users on multiple editions?
If you have users with multiple licenses in your organization, some features might not be available for all your users. Also, some Enterprise edition advanced features might be enforced for Business edition users in the same organization. These advanced features include Gmail data loss prevention (DLP) and Google Drive sharing and data access.

Example: Set up session length

Supported editions for this feature: Frontline Standard; Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus; Enterprise Essentials Plus; G Suite Business. Compare your edition

Example: Devices audit log

Supported editions for this feature: Frontline Standard; Business Plus; Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus; Education Standard and Education Plus; G Suite Business; Cloud Identity Premium.  Compare your edition

You won't see data for users with Business Starter and Standard licenses.

Example: Drive sharing policy

If some users in an organization have Enterprise edition licenses and an administrator configures an organizational unit to allow sharing to users in whitelisted domains, all users in that organizational unit can share Google Drive items to users in the whitelisted domains.

What happens when a setting applies to only some of my users?

Users are affected by only the settings included with their assigned Google Workspace edition. When you configure a setting that is included for only some editions, users assigned to editions that don’t include the setting are managed by a default value or are unmanaged. 

For example, if a setting that’s on by default applies only to users with Business Plus and Enterprise licenses, your users with Business Starter and Standard licenses aren’t affected when you change the setting. See the documentation for specific settings to learn how those settings apply for a multi-license organization.

If I restore a user, what license do they get?

If you turned on automatic licensing for one of your Google Workspace editions, a restored user automatically gets a license for that edition, if one is available. As a result, the user might get a license that’s different from the one they had before they were deleted.

If automatic licensing isn't turned on, you need to manually reassign a license to the user.

If the user had an Archived User (AU) license, manually reassign that license to ensure that the user’s data and policies are appropriately restored. Read Manage former employees and their data.

Still need help?

For more information about working with multiple Google Workspace editions, contact your Google sales representatives, Google partner, or ​Google Workspace​ support.

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