Google Groups

A Google Group is an easy method to email groups of people. Sometimes it’s known as a mailing list or email alias. Google Groups offer a robust and functional system of managing our email aliases. It also provides more options in the way email aliases work, including more control, better visibility, and features for power users.

How to create a new Google Group

How to access and manage Google Groups

How to add members to your Google Group

How to manage an opt-in only group

How to join an opt-in only group

How to approve pending messages from a Moderated Group

What are the different roles or access levels in Groups?

Learning more about Google Groups

Advanced options in Google Groups

How do I create a new Google Group?

Login to Account Services at Within the Google Groups section, please select Work with Google Groups. Enter the name of your group under “Create a Google Group” and click Next

Management of the group, including options, adding and removing users is done through Google Groups (see below). 

How do I access/manage Google Groups?

There are two ways to access Google Groups: 

1) Go to:

2) Select the Google Apps icon > Groups:

How do I add people to a Google Group?

The method to add people is different, depending on the type of group: 

  • User Managed Group
  • Course (or Class) Group
User Managed Group

We recommend the Direct Add method. Google warns you to use the feature carefully, but please note that this is more closely aligned with the old method in Account Services. To add people to your Google Group:

  1. Sign in to Google Groups.
  2. Click My Groups.
  3. In the list of groups, select the Manage link next to the group.
  4. On the left, click Members > Direct add members.
  5. Enter the email addresses of the people to add.
  6. Enter a welcome message. This is optional if you are adding people with a St. Olaf account, but required if you are adding emails outside of St. Olaf. 
  7. Under Email Subscription Options, we recommend leaving the default “All email: send each message as it arrives”. You are free to change to fit your groups needs. 
  8. Click Add.

Alternatively, you might choose to “Invite” members to your group, which is permission based:

  1. Sign in to Google Groups.
  2. Click My Groups.
  3. Choose a group.
  4. Near the top right, click Manage.
  5. On the left, click Members > Invite members.
  6. Enter the email addresses of people to invite. Optional: Enter text in the “Write an invitation message” field.
  7. Click Send invites.
Course (Class) Group

Course Professors can add names, typically to add TA and SI Leaders:

  1. Login to Account Services at
  2. Under the heading “Other Services” select the Manage Class Groups link

How do I setup and manage an Opt-In Google Group?

  1. After you’ve created a new Group in Account Services, sign in to Google Groups.
  2. Click My Groups.
  3. In the list of groups, select the Manage Group link next to the group.
  4. From the menu on the left, select Permissions > Basic Permissions. Change the following settings:
    1. Post = Owners and Managers
    2. Join the Group = Anyone in the Organization can ask
    3. Select Save
    4. From the menu on the left, select Information > Directory
      1. Change Group directory to All organization members
      2. Select Save
Owners/Managers of Opt-in Groups – To manage Join requests:
  • You will receive an email with every request to join your group
  • Two options to approve/reject the request:
    • Select Manage Members (in the email you receive)
    • Visit and select your Group > Manage Group > Members > Join Requests

How do I join an opt-in only Group?

Please note that St. Olaf Extra is managed differently! To join or remove yourself from stolaf-extra, please visit

  1. Sign in to Google Groups.
  2. In the “search for groups and messages” search field at the top, enter the name of the group, then select it
  3. Click the “Apply to Join Group” button:
  4. Once the Owner of the group approves the request, you will receive the emails. 

How to Approve a Post to a Moderated Group?

Owners and Managers of a Group can approve a message by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to Google Groups.
  2. Click My groups.
  3. In the list of groups, select the Manage Group link next to the group.
  4. On the left, click Messages > Pending messages.
  5. To read a post, click the title.
  6. Check the box next to the post.
  7. At the top of the screen, select an option:
    1. To approve the message, click Post.
    2. To approve the post and automatically approve all future posts by that author, click Post and always allow future messages from author. *Use this option to always allow messages from Owners, Managers, and others you select. 

What are the different roles in Google Groups?

By default, Google Groups has 3 roles and each group can have multiple people in each role:


Everyone in a group has the Member role by default.

  • Send messages to the group
  • Add or remove group members
  • Change member roles—for example, from member to owner
  • Change any of the group’s settings

All the rights as Managers, plus Owners can delete the group.


To learn more about Google Groups (along with Google Drive, Team Drives and FileStream), please watch our training video.
NOTE: if you are only interested in the Groups portion, please fast forward to 46:00

What can power users do with Google Groups?

Power users can use groups to share content, including documents, folders and calendar events. 


You can add a Google Group to a team drive. When you add/remove members from the Group, they are automatically added/removed from the Team Drive. To add members:

  1. Open your Team Drive
  2. Next to the Team Drive name, select the drop down arrow > Add Members
  3. Members will receive an email that they’ve been added

*Note – you can add people outside of the St. Olaf organization. However, they will only be able to access the Team Drive if they have a Gmail account.


To share documents/folders with a group, please visit

*NOTE* If you later add new members to the group, they’ll be able to access the document only via the document’s URL. To make the document appear in the Shared with Me view of a new member’s Google Drive, you must reshare the document with the group or share the document with the new member individually. To share the document/folder with the new member, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the file or folder to share
  2. In the folder/document, select Share
  3. Select Advanced, as shown below (DO NOT select shareable link):

  4. In the Sharing Settings window, select the Link to share (which is only accessible by collaborators)
  5. Email the link to the new member(s)

Once the new member clicks on the link, they will be able to access the document/folder, plus it will appear in their Shared with Me view.

Sharing Calendar Events

For occasional events, create a new event on your calendar. Add your Google Group as a Guest.

*NOTE* If you later add new members to your Google Group, you will need to edit the event(s) so that your new members are invited. To do this, open your event > remove the Google Group > Save > Open your event again > add your Google Group as a Guest.

For ongoing events, consider creating a Group calendar: