What is Groups?

Google Groups makes it easy for groups of people—such as project teams, departments, or classmates—to communicate and collaborate. You can send an email to everyone in a group with one address, invite a group to an event, or share documents with a group. You can also create an online forum to discuss a popular technology or answer questions about a product.

Note: This guide covers Google Groups for Business, which includes additional features for G Suite accounts. If you don’t see the features below, please contact your G Suite administrator.

What you’ll need:

G Suite account

10 minutes

What is Google Groups
1

Find and join a group

To join a group that already exists, just use the search box to find the group and ask to join.

Note: An open group allows you immediate membership. A restricted group requires approval from an administrator before you can be added. A private group requires you to click a link to request membership from the owner.

In this section, you'll learn how to:

1.1

Find your groups

Before you search for your groups, make sure that you’re in the organization view instead of the public view.

  1. Go to Groups and click My groups.

  2. Click Switch organization view to "yourdomain.com".

This means that the groups you see and join will be within your organization, and not public.

To search for a group, at the top of any Groups page, type a word or phrase in the search box. To help you search faster, Groups suggests search terms as you type. Click one of the suggestions to open it, or click Search to see a list of results.

Find your groups
1.2

Join a new group

You can subscribe to any group in your Groups directory that's open to new members. Some groups let you subscribe directly, while others might require you to send a request.

  1. In the Groups directory, click the group to open the group's page.
  2. On the group's page, click Join group or Apply to join group.
  3. Choose how you want to read messages that are sent to the group, whether or not to link to your Google profile and show your picture on posts, and the display name you want members to see. Then click Join this group or Apply to join this group.
join a new group
2

Post topics and responses

A group can contain one or more topics. A topic is just like a conversation—it contains one or more posts (or messages) about a particular subject.

In this section, you'll learn how to:

2.1

Find a topic

To view a group's Topics page, open the group's page in the Groups directory.

If your group has too many topics to browse easily, you can quickly organize and find topics using search, filters, and tags.

Search for a topic

To search for a specific topic:

  1. At the top of the Groups window, type your topic in the search box.

  2. To help you search faster, Groups suggests search terms as you type. Click one of the suggestions to open it, or click Search to see a list of results.

Filter topics

  1. On the Topics page, click Filters to see your options.

    Note: If you don’t see Filters, it means you don’t have the filter permissions for this particular group.

  2. Check any filters you want to apply to the topic list.
  3. Click Apply selected filters to display a list of topics that match your filters.
  4. (Optional) To return to the complete list of topics again, click Filters > Clear all filters (display all topics).

Use tags

Some groups use tags to categorize and find topics. If your group uses tags, you’ll see Tags on the group’s Topics page. You can also enter tags when you post a new topic or edit one of your existing topics.

Find a topic
2.2

Star important topics

You can star topics that are important to you, so you can quickly find them again. Just click the star next to the topic on the Topics page.

In the sidebar, click Starred Gmail star to list all your starred topics.

Star important topics
2.3

Respond to a topic

Depending on the type of group and your personal settings and permissions, you can read and respond to posts, either on the forum or using email. If your group is set up as a Collaborative Inbox or Q&A forum, for example, you’ll probably read and respond to posts using the group’s online forum.

  1. Find your group and show the group’s Topics page.

    Topics with unread posts appear in bold text against a white background.

  2. Click the topic you want to read. The first post in the topic appears on top, followed by any responses.

  3. Click POST REPLY below any post in the topic, or click in the Reply field of the original post.

    The post that you reply to determines how much of the previous conversation is quoted in your reply.

  4. Type your reply in the space that appears.

  5. Click Post to send your message to the group.

Respond to a topic
2.4

Start a new topic

You can start your own topics (in email or from a forum) for people to respond to.

From email

Just email the group. The subject of your email becomes the topic subject.

From a forum

  1. At the top left of the group’s Topics page, click either NEW TOPIC or NEW QUESTION (depending on the type of group).

  2. Type your Subject or Question title, depending on which you’re asked for. Based on the type of group and your group permissions, you might see an option to select the type of post, including:

    • Discussion () Creates a general discussion topic. If you clicked NEW TOPIC and don’t see any other options, you’re starting a discussion.

    • Question () Creates a new question in a Q&A forum. If you clicked NEW QUESTION and don’t see any other options, your topic will be a question.

    • Announcement () Creates a topic containing important information. All members of the group can read announcements, but typically only group owners or managers can create them.

  3. Type the first post for the topic and click POST. The topic appears in the group’s topic list.

Start a new topic
2.5

Resolve a topic

In some types of groups, you can resolve a topic by selecting a Best answer (for questions in a Q&A forum) or marking the topic as Complete (for discussions in Collaborative Inboxes). Just open the topic and click Mark as complete or Mark as best answer on the appropriate post.

Resolve a topic
2.6

Delete a post in a topic

To delete a post that you created, expand the post. Then click the Down arrow and select Delete post. People viewing the topic will see a message that a post was deleted, but they won’t see who the post was from.

Delete a post in a topic
3

Create a group

Creating a group is easy. After you know the type of group you want to create, just fill out some basic information and you’re ready to go.

In this section, you'll learn how to:

3.1

Choose your group type

You can create any of several different types of groups, depending on the group’s purpose. The most common types of groups are email lists, web and Q&A forums, and collaborative inboxes.

Group type

Description

Example uses

Group type

Email list

Description

Email list groups are mailing lists. Create a new email address so anyone in your organization can send messages to everyone in your group at once.

Example uses

For teams that regularly share information via email.

Group type

Web forum

Description

Create a Group on a particular subject that anyone in your organization can join.

Example uses

Online communities for people in your organization with similar interests, expertise, or work functions.

Group type

Q&A forum

Description

Product experts and savvy customers can help answer common questions about your product and mark the best answers to the web. Responses are archived as a knowledge base for other customers.

Example uses

Online forum for customers to ask and answer questions about your products or services.

Group type

Collaborative inbox

Description

Members of a group can receive and respond to email requests using a common address, such as support@your_company.com. Assign incoming messages to group members, track status, categorize posts so they’re easy to find later, and more.

Example uses

For teams that use email to process support tickets, sales inquiries, or other requests from colleagues or customers.

3.2

Create your group and set basic permissions

Note for G Suite accounts: To find or create web forums within your organization that are not public, go to Groups and click My Groups > Switch organization view to "yourdomain.com" before doing the following tasks.

After you know the type of group you want to create, you’re ready to create it.

  1. On the Groups home window, click CREATE GROUP.

  2. Fill out the information on the page, such as your group name, the group’s email address, and your group type.

  3. Under Basic permissions, specify who can view topics, post messages, and join the group by assigning roles:

    • Member—Can post to the group.

    • Manager—Can post to the group. Can approve, add, or remove members.

    • Owner—Can create the group and add members. By default, the group’s creator is an owner, but you can add other owners, too.

4.Click CREATE.

Create your group and set basic permissions
3.3

Invite members

After creating your group, add people to it either by inviting them to join or adding them yourself.

Note: Each member must have a G Suite account to join.

  1. On the Topics page, click Manage.

  2. Under Members, click Invite members to invite people to join, or click Direct add members to add them yourself.

  3. Enter the email addresses.

  4. Write an invitation message.

  5. Click Send invites to invite new members, or Add to directly add members.

Invite members
4

Collaborate with your team

Because you can use a single email address to reach everyone at once, it’s now easy to send messages, send calendar invitations, and share documents with your entire team. Here are some of the top ways to use Groups with other G Suite products to collaborate better:

In this section, you'll learn how to:

4.1

Email a group

In your Gmail Compose window’s To field, instead of adding each team member’s email address to your emails, just enter the group’s address as a recipient.

Email a group
4.2

Invite a group to a calendar event

On your Calendar event details page, in the Guests box, enter the group's address. The group’s individual members then appear under the Guests box.

Invite a group to a calendar event
4.3

Share Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms

To share a Google file with a group—like an online document, spreadsheet, or presentation—open the file and click Share. Then, enter the group’s email address.

People you add to the group later can also access the document. Similarly, if you remove a member from a group, that person no longer has access to any content you shared with the group.

Share Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms
5

Manage groups

You might belong to a lot of groups, and have access to even more. Fortunately, it’s easy to stay organized and manage your groups.

In this section, you'll learn how to:

5.1

Mark groups as favorites

If you belong to a lot of groups, you can access your most frequently used groups using Favorites. To add a group to your Favorites, just click the group’s star icon.

Note: If you click Starred in the left navigation area, you’ll see starred topics and posts (but not groups). Starred groups are found under Favorites.

Mark groups as favorites
5.2

View and edit membership settings

All the groups that you belong to are listed on your personal My groups page. If you manage or own a group, that’s indicated next to the name of the group.

Do you get too much email for a particular group? You can opt to get a summary of messages sent to a group once a day instead of receiving each message separately. Or, perhaps you'd prefer to just read messages in the group's discussion archive (forum page) instead of receiving messages in your inbox.

To change your email preferences or unsubscribe from a group:

  1. Go to your My groups page.
  2. Select an email subscription option.
  3. Click Leave this group to unsubscribe.

If you're the owner of a group, and you're leaving, transfer your group ownership to someone else.

View and edit membership settings

Next steps

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