Customize a directory for a team or group

Example of user visibility for a Custom Directory

By default, users in your organization can find the profile information of everyone else. To limit who users can find in autocomplete lists, Contacts, and searches, you can set up a custom directory. You can assign different directories to each organizational unit, so some users get a custom directory and some get all contacts in the Directory.

For example, you can set up a custom directory for temporary employees that includes only people in their team and let full-time employees find all users in the Directory.

Step 1: Hide the Directory

If you don’t want users to find contact information until you set up your custom directories, turn off contact sharing.

Step 2: Organize your users

You need to set up organizational units and groups to use custom directories. You’ll include users in custom directories by adding groups, then you’ll assign organizational units to custom directories.

  1. Create organizational units to group your users. For example, if you want full-time employees to use a different directory than interns, create organizational units for each set of employees.
  2. Add users to organizational units.

  3. Create Google groups and add users to them. For example, you could create groups of executives, full-time employees, interns, and vendors.

You can set up groups in the Admin console, with the Groups API, or with Google Cloud Directory Sync (GCDS). Use GCDS if you have groups in your Microsoft® Active Directory® or LDAP server that you want to synchronize to your Google domain.

Tip: If you don't want users to find the members of a group, set the group’s access level to Restricted.

Step 3: Create a custom directory for an organizational unit

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Menu Menuand then Directory and then Directory settings.
  3. Click Visibility settings.
  4. On the left, select the organizational unit you want to create the directory for.
  5. In the Directory visibility section, select Users in a custom directory.
  6. At the bottom, click Create New.
  7. Enter a name for the directory.
  8. In the Include groups section, check the boxes next to the groups you want to include in the custom directory. To go directly to a group, enter the name of the group and click Search.

    Note: When you create a custom directory and add a group, people in the organizational unit can find group members in their directory. Everyone can find the Group address if group access levels allow it.   

  9. Click Create, and then click Save.

Step 4: Show the Directory

To let people in your organization find and use contact information, turn on contact sharing. Now:

  • People in organizational units that are assigned a custom directory can find only people in the groups in that custom directory.
  • People in organizational units that aren’t assigned a custom directory can find either:
    • Everyone in the Directory, if their organizational unit doesn’t inherit a custom directory, or
    • Only people in the groups in a custom directory, if their organizational unit inherits a custom directory from a parent organizational unit

It can take up to 24 hours for changes to custom directories to become available.

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