Let’s get this Workspace show on the road
While everyday Gmail users can access the free version of Google Drive, businesses wanting to avail themselves of the premium version have a few hoops to jump through before they can begin creating user accounts.
Linking your Workspace account and domain name
To use Google’s workspace, you’ll need to have, and prove ownership of, a domain, such as mywebsite.com.
If you already have a website, you may wish to register using the same domain name. You’ll still need to update your details with your domain registrar to prove ownership and ensure you can use the email service.
Each domain registrar has a slightly different process, and ways of adding new records. Google provides the code required code and tells you which record type to add them to.
If you don’t have a domain, or intend to use a new one, purchasing a domain from Google could simplify the above mentioned process. At $12 per year, Google isn’t the cheapest, but the few extra pennies are well worth it.
There is one caveat to this. For some strange reason, Google is in partnership with GoDaddy, the biggest charlatans in the domain registrar world. Always check that they’re not using these when you register.
The person registering the Workspace account will need to provide a root email address: something along the lines of email@example.com. Later you’ll be able to add email aliases.
While accessing your Workspace account may not require you to sign in every time, unless you have signed out,, you will have to do so when accessing the admin section.
The same person will automatically be granted super admin privileges and, if needed, create new user accounts and departments, or organizations as they are termed.
As companies undergo changes in personnel, I would recommend creating at least one more super admin. Secondary admins can have all the privileges of a super admin, apart from being able to make themselves a super admin.
creating new user accounts
New users can be added individually in the admin console, or uploaded in bulk with a csv sheet. Before creating new users you’ll need to create organization units. These are basically company departments, such as “Accounts” or “Human resources”. The path, required for the next step, would be /Accounts.
To begin, click on “Users” in the admin dashboard.
Once in the users’ section you’ll see two options. Click on “Add user” to add them individually, or “Bulk update users” to add many at once.
The individual option will open a dialog box requesting new user details. The bulk uploader will open a different dialog where you can download an empty csv ftemplate and then upload it, or you can do as I do in the process below.
You can have sub-organizations, or departments within departments, for example /Accounts/wages. You will need to add the organization when creating new user accounts.
All user accounts are suffixed with your company email, for example: firstname.lastname@example.org. The required fields when creating new users are:
- Frist name
- Last name
- Email Address
- Path to organization
I’ll discuss groups later, for now I want to focus on getting individual accounts sorted.
Creating a few accounts individually requires little effort, however: you may have many tens or even hundred of users. As a teacher, I used to create hundreds of accounts every year and developed a quick way of doing so.
In the above example you’ll notice that the new user’s email address is formed from the first and last name plus the company suffix. This format isn’t written in stone. For example we can use any of these: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulk user account creation
In “My Drive” create a folder named something like “Users”, and in this create a spreadsheet, with the headings shown in the image above. The names will have to be added manually and you may want to create a separate page for each organization unit.
For the password you could use the new user’s company ID, or create a temporary one and require them to change it when first signing in. if using the latter method, and for the email address, we’ll let the spreadsheet do the work for use.
Email creation using spreadsheet formula
In the first example I’m going to use the users first name, last name and company suffix. The following formula will concatenate all of these for use. Below you will see I’ve added the first and last names. To create the email and temporary password, we’ll use a couple of spreadsheet formula.
Copy and paste this formula into the cell in row 2 below “Email address”. Then change the company name to that of yours. You’ll see that the email address is updated. The result is...
This is basic concatenation, if we want to use initials, we have to use a slightly different formula. Firstly we have to split the initial from the rest of the name and then add it to the concatenation.
This is the formula for getting the first letter from the left, of cell A2.
Then we add that to our original formula.
Hopefully you should then see this...
To add this formula to all the other rows, click on cell C2 and drag the small blue square to the bottom.
To avoid an error message, you could wait until the names have been added before adding the formula to the rest of the sheet.
Setting a temporary password
Here I use a similar formula to the first, but without the company suffix.
The new user will be prompted to change their password the first time they login. All that remains now is to take care of the organization unit path.
Staying with the bulk account creation sheet, in the following example I’ve shown three paths.
- The first is a path to the top level, you may want to use this for the senior administrators.
- The second path leads to the accounts department.
- The third path leads to the wages department within the accounts.
Notice in all examples I’ve used a forward slash “/”. This indicates the root level and is required.
Having created your new user list: click on File > Download > Download as csv. Then upload it to the new user process in the admin area.
You may want to have one person setup the entire system, alternatively you can create user accounts for the heads of each department (organizational unit), then give them admin status and let them create accounts for each person in the department.
Making the heads of each department super admins will ensure you’re never frozen out of the admin area in the event of an untimely departure.