What Are Organizational Units in Google Workspace: Quick Introduction

Quick and easy-to-follow guide for Google Workspace administrators

How organizational units in Google Workspace work

  • Organizational Units are what you use to group types of users in your domain. Another way to put it is that they create a structure that contains Google Workspace user accounts and settings.
  • One user in Google Workspace can only be in a single organizational unit – in other words, one user can’t be in multiple organizational units
  • The organizational unit structure can be used for more than just sorting users visually by categories. When you add admin settings at Google Admin, you can configure many settings per organizational unit. You add a setting, and it applies to all users who are in the organizational unit you select.
What Are Organizational Units in Google Workspace - Image 2

The organizational unit structure

What Are Organizational Units in Google Workspace
  • The top-level organizational unit is always named after your primary domain – workspace123.com in the example above.
  • You can create sub-organizational units, and group your users by some kind of category, such as their job responsibilities, or by their account settings, such as service access.
  • The category could be anything, for example, “IT team” or something else that unites users who are closely related.
  • Account settings could be, for example, users’ service access to Gmail. You could have an OU named “Gmail disabled” for all users who are not allowed to access Gmail. It could have to do with other settings, too – you could call it “2-Step Enforcement Enabled” for users with 2-step enforcement.

Use organizational units to apply settings to groups of users

Organizational units contain global admin-level settings that apply to the user accounts. You are allowed to apply admin settings to specific Organizational Units. This way, you can apply a setting only to particular users.

When configuring a setting, look for the organizational units on the left. You will configure the setting for the organizational unit you select and its sub-units.

In the example image above (you can click to expand it), you can see that Sub OU #1 is selected on the left, and now we can configure any of the settings on the right for it, such as Append footer, Restrict delivery, or Content compliance. Only users in Sub OU #1 will get the setting applied to their accounts.

For example, you may want to turn off Gmail for five users.

  1. Then you can create an OU
  2. Move the five users there
  3. Turn off Gmail for that OU.

How to apply settings to one specific Google Workspace user only

Organizational units and multiple domains

Since it’s impossible to apply different settings to users based on their domain, you can consider using organizational units as a workaround.

How to add organizational units

That's all! You reached the end of the article. Continue to:

If you find this useful, share and help others!

Improve Google Workspace
Get the best out of Google Workspace
Add essential functionality such as backup and increased security, get new awesome features, and optimize your work with these additional services for Google Workspace.

Submit Feedback

Think we could do something better or just want to tell us how happy you are with the site? We would love to hear from you – your feedback is more valuable than you can imagine.

Fill out this form, and we will get back to you.

Report An Issue With Workspace123

Are you running into an issue with the site? Maybe you found a broken link, or something else is wrong?

Fill out this form to let us know, and we will address it as soon as possible.

Please make sure to be very specific and add as many details as possible.

Missing Content

Our goal is to run the number one site in the world for you to get help with and learn how to use Google Workspace. This can’t be so if there is any missing information.

If you believe we need to add something, fill out this form, and we will do our best to add any missing content as soon as possible.

This site uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Click here to see our Cookies Policy.

Be the first to know

You can stay on top of news and updates in Google Workspace and Workspace123 and get special offers by subscribing to our newsletter.

Subscribe by email for news and updates
Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.