How To Create Organizational Units in the Google Admin Console

When managing users and devices in your Google Workspace environment, you may find that you want to apply certain settings to a particular group of users. In order to do this, you'll need to create a new organizational unit in the Google Admin console. 

How does the organizational structure work?

Before we get started creating organizational units in the Google Admin console, let's learn what exactly they do. Initially in your Google Admin console, all your users and devices are placed in a single organizational unit. All settings you make in the Admin console apply to this top-level organization and therefore to all users and devices in your account.

Apply settings to groups of users or devices

To give different settings to a group of users or devices, create an organizational unit beneath your top-level organization. Then move users and devices to that sub-organization. When you make a setting in your Admin console, select the organization. Users or devices in that organization get the new setting. They inherit all other settings from their parent (the larger group they’re part of).

You can let some people in your organization use a feature or service in their managed Google account, but not others. For example, if you’re a Google Workspace administrator, you might turn on Google Hangouts only for your support team, or you might let only the sales department share public calendars. You can also tailor settings for different Chrome devices. Just group users or devices that have specific requirements into organizational units. Then apply your desired settings to each of those units.

Apply settings to one user or device

To change settings for a single user or device, create an organization for just that user or device. A user or device belongs to only one organizational unit and inherits that organization’s settings.

Build a hierarchy

Create as many organizational units in the Google Admin console as you want—either at the same level or in a hierarchy. Each child inherits settings from its parent, which you can then customize. Changing a setting at a higher level changes the setting for all sub-organizations that inherit that setting. Custom settings, however, remain unchanged.

If you use multiple domains

You can mix and match users from all your domains in an organizational unit. In fact, users in all your domains are initially in the same top-level organization. To change settings for users in a particular domain, create an organization for just those users.

How to create organizational units in the Google Admin console

  1. From the Admin console Home page, click Menu > Directory > Organizational Units.
  2. Click Create new organizational unit.
  3. Enter a name in the Name of organizational unit field.
  4. (Optional) To add a description of the organization, enter it in the Description field.
  5. (Optional) To place the organization under a different parent organization:
  • Under Parent organizational unit, click the pencil icon.
  • Choose a parent organization.
  • Click Done.
  1. Click Create.

Note: You can't add an organizational unit for Android devices. Instead, apply Android settings to the device owner's organizational unit.

Check out our Google Admin console beginner's guide to learn more tips and tricks!


Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the organizational unit in Google?

Organizational units can be found on the Google Admin console homepage under Organizational Units where you can add, remove, rename, move, or search for an organizational unit.

What is the difference between Google organizational unit and group?

While an organizational unit is a group created by administrators in the Google Admin console, organizational units are not to be confused with Google Groups.

Google Groups can be used to join groups with similar interests, learn about a particular topic, and communicate with everyone in the group. There are two versions of Groups - a free-to-use version available for all Google accounts and a version for organizations like businesses, schools, and nonprofits. 

How do I create a Google organization?

When a user with a Google Workspace of Cloud Identity account creates a Google Cloud project resource, an organization resource is automatically provisioned for them. Once an organization resource is created for a domain, all new Google Cloud project resources created by members of the account domain will belong to the organization resource by default.

How do you add an organizational unit to a group?

In the Admin console, go to Menu > Directory > Organizational Units. Hover over the organization you want to modify and click Create new organizational unit +. Enter the new group’s name in the Name of the organizational unit field. Then, click Create.

How do I see users in an OU in Google Admin?

Sign into your administrator account and go to the Admin console homepage. Go to Menu > Directory > Users. Click through the organizational tree to find users in their corresponding organizational unit. If newly added users haven’t been moved, they should be found in the top-level organization.

What is my organizational unit?

Under the Google Admin console, all users and devices are initially placed in a single organizational unit, called the top-level organizational unit. If you don’t belong to the top-level organizational unit, your organizational unit may be a child organizational unit, such as Human Resources or Marketing.