March 24, 2022

How to set up a Google Group and customize its settings

Use a Google Group within Google Workspace to create a 1. Mailing List, 2. Question and Answer Forum, 3. Web Forum or 4. Collaborative Inbox.


Google's email collaboration tool, Google Groups, is a flexible tool that will help you manage anything from simple mailing list to a question and answer email forum, or an online community discussion.  A Google Group can be set up like an email mailing list or a Listserv list as it was previously known.

Google Groups work well for mailing lists and online forums but it must be noted that Google Groups are not able to offer any email collaboration features within Gmail or within Google Workspace.  If you are looking for a more feature rich way to manage Team email, Email Assignment, a customer help desk in Gmail or a shared inbox within Gmail you might want to rather consider products like Sortd for Gmail (which will also cater for collaborative inbox management and email assignment within the Gmail interface).

Other applications for Google Groups include public groups for community orientated communication, information updates and debates (and closed groups teams or groups of people). Group members always remain in control of their communication and can set how often they want to receive messages from the Group via email.

1. Email List

Members are able to interact with each other using a single email address like This type of Google group works well for sending messages, community updates, announcements and sharing information with multiple people at one time.

2. Question and Answer Forum

A Google Group can be use for a Q&A forum and it works in well for hosting questions and answers with a group of people.  Answers can be highlights as ‘top answer’ or ‘resolved’. This can also be used as a basic  help desk or a public FAQ page for a product or a company.

3. Web Forum

A Google Group can be used as a web forum where members can post and respond to messages from other members. The conversations are available on the Google Groups dashboard for everyone to see. Web forums can also help team members to manage works within a department, help teams coordinate work on a project or manage a forum of interest on a subject of interest.

4. Collaborative Inbox

Using Google Groups as a Collaborative Inbox allows members (internally or externally) to send emails directly to the Google group. The approach turns the Google Group into a type of email inbox. Members can read and respond to emails and assign work. This group useful for managing a simple customer help desk or email help channel to deal with with customer queries.

Unlike Google Groups, tools like Sortd for Gmail can help you boost team collaboration directly within your team's ordinary Gmail account.

1. Log into Gmail or Sign into Google with your email.

2. Click Groups from the Google Apps grid menu (on the top right).

3. Click My groups.

4. Each group has a Title and an associated email address. In this example, will use

5. The Group column will display:

  • The Name and email address in the first column.
  • The date that you joined the group.
  • Subscription: how you will receive messages (can be turned off).
  • Settings, Add Members, Leave the Group, Mark as a Favorite Group.

The settings for creating groups are shown below:

  1. The Organization used will be your Organization name.
  2. There are two types of memberships: a Member or a Manager. Member participate in a Group while Managers are able to administer the settings with the ability to invite, approve or disapprove members and appoint co-managers.
  3. Subscribers to the group will receive each notification (email) that is sent to the group.
  4. All managers and members can see email addresses for everyone in the group as they are all opted-in and are participants of the group.
  5. All managers and members can view messages sent to the group.
  6. All members can post into a Group.
  7. Managers are the only accounts to manage, add, invite and approve members.
  8. Depending on how the group is set up, anyone within the Organization or Externally can request to join a group.

1. To edit the Groups settings, click the Gear icon.

2. Click General.

3. Here you can edit the following fields Name andDescription. You can also enter a welcome message to send when new members join or are invited the group.

4. Activate extended Google Groups Features.

  • You can choose from the two options Collaborative Inbox or No additional features.

5. The Collaborative Inbox allows participants to assign conversations (and messages) to each other to allow for better management and accountability in a team. With the Collaborative inbox you can:

  • Delegate and assignee conversations to group members.
  • Filter and search by assignee or by status.
  • Manage a resolution status such as: open, new, issue, resolved, or waiting for response from the customer.
  • The Group administrator is able to active Gmail style labels to associate with Group posts. These labels are visible to all users.
  • You are able to activate shared labels for a group.
  • The option for who can see a group are -
  • All Group members
  • Organization members only
  • Anyone on the web
  • Options for Group Participants are -
  • Invited users only
  • Organizational users only
  • Organization users allow to request an invitation to the group
  • Enable external members to join the group: This is one of the more important settings that often gets missed.  Set this to On for anyone outside of your organization.
  • Define which members can participate in a conversation such as the ability to posts or messages -
  • Only Group members
  • Only Managers
  • Entire Organization
  • Anyone, anywhere
  • Specify who can see the details of Group members:
  • Only Managers
  • All members
  • Everyone in the organization

Allow Group members to reply to Group messages from their email client (like Gmail, Outlook) by selecting the options below. The alternative would be to use the Google Group web ui on:

  • Enable Conversation History and display all messages posted to the group.
  • Members will be able approve/moderate content, metadata, or post as a group.  
  • This functionality is useful to modify the email footer or auto-replies etc.  Here you can add text to the beginning of email subjects to denote group messages (and get them to stand out from other recipient emails).

The options for member privacy are shown below:

Identification options required for new members:

  • Display name or organizational profile.
  • Display name profile.
  • Organization profile.

Here you can specify who can manage the members and who can modify roles

1. Enter the Group info with the Group name and give the Google Group a unique email address

2. Choose the privacy settings for you group and specify who can join, who can view conversations, who can post new messages, and who can view the details of the members of the Group (e.g. name and email addresses).

3. Add new members to the Google Group by specifying their email addresses and then select create group.

There are two methods to add members to a group.

  • The first method is to click plus button to add new Group members.
  • The second method is to click the Group name under the Group Name and Email Address column.
  • Click Members from the left side bar under People.
  • Click the Add members link to the right of the group name to add members to the Group.

Add members or managers

  • Select Add members.
  • For multiple members, add the email addresses
  1. Select the Group from My Groups.
  2. Select Members from the left menu under the People section.
  3. Mark the checkbox of the members that you wish to remove, then click Remove member icon.

1. To send a message to Group from Gmail you can simply compose a new message and entering the email address or the Group name in Gmail To: field.

If you are not able to select the Google Group you can post a message by accessing the Google Group directly.

2. Sign into Google Groups with your email or Sign into Gmail and select Google Apps grid menu (on the top right).

  1. Select My groups.
  2. Open the Group that you want to send a message to.
  3. Select New conversation.
  4. Compose the message, then click the Post Message button.
  1. Log into you Gmail email account by visiting through a Web browser, such as Chrome.
  2. Select Groups from the apps menu.
  3. Select My groups.
  4. Select the group that you want to send a message to.
  5. Select New conversation.
  6. Compose the message, then click the Post Message button
  7. Select Post message.

Written by
Rodney Kuhn