How to Manage Your Google Workspace Account’s Internal Contact Sharing Settings

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

What is the Google Contacts Directory

  • The Directory in Google Contacts at https://contacts.google.com stores the contact information of all users in your Google Workspace.
  • Users can view other users’ contacts by checking their Directory group in the Contacts service.

Auto-completing names and email addresses in Google Workspace services

  • The Contact sharing setting allows you to automatically share internal contacts between users in your Google Workspace account. 
  • You need to enable this setting if you want users’ contact info to auto-complete in Google services when you start typing their name or email address.

What email addresses are shared in the Directory

The Contact sharing setting lets you control what email addresses are visible in the Directory. You can choose to show:

  • All email addresses
  • Only secondary and alias email addresses
  • Only primary email addresses
  • Only email addresses in the user’s primary domain

What information is never shared in the Directory

The Directory doesn’t store Google Workspace users’ personal contacts.

When to turn off contact sharing via the Directory

  • When you don’t want users’ names and email addresses to auto-complete when you type them in Google services
  • When you don’t want Google Workspace users to view other users’ contact details

How to manage Google Workspace Directory contact sharing settings step-by-step with images

Step 1

How to Manage Google Workspace Contact Sharing Settings - Step 1

In the Google Admin console at https://admin.google.com, click the menu icon next to the Google Admin logo in the top left. Hover over Directory and select Directory settings.

Step 2

How to Manage Google Workspace Contact Sharing Settings - Step 2

Click the Sharing settings section.

Step 3

How to Manage Google Workspace Contact Sharing Settings - Step 3

Select Contact sharing.

Step 4

How to Manage Google Workspace Contact Sharing Settings - Step 4

If it’s enabled, you can choose which email addresses are visible to users:

  • Show all email addresses – shows all emails of each user.
  • Show only secondary and alias email addresses. If a user has a primary email only, show it. If the user has any aliases, show them instead of the primary email.
  • Show only primary email addresses – only show the main email without showing aliases.
  • Show only email addresses in the user’s primary domain – if you have multiple domains, aliases at those domains will be hidden. Only emails at the main domain will be shown.

Under Choose what is shown in the browsable Directory in Contact Manager, select which profiles appear in the Directory in Google Contacts. 

  • Show only domain profiles – include profiles of internal users and exclude any external contacts.
  • Show only domain shared contacts – include only shared external contacts.
  • Show both domain profiles and domain shared contacts – include internal and shared external contacts.

Note that there are only two ways to add external shared contacts. 

The first is to use the Domain Shared Contacts API, which requires some programming knowledge: http://code.google.com/googleapps/domain/shared_contacts/gdata_shared_contacts_api_reference.html

The second is to find a third-party app capable of doing this in the Google Workspace Marketplace at https://gsuite.google.com/marketplace/.

Learn about marketplace apps here.

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