UW-Madison Google Workspace - Nesting Google Groups

This document will explain what nested groups are, how they work, how to create one, and the benefits of using a nested group.


What is a nested group?

A nested group consists of a parent group and at least one or more child group(s) or subgroup(s). The individual parent group can also contain a child group and an individual person. It is essentially, a group within a group.


  • Parent group: parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu
  • Members of the parent group:
    • bbadger@wisc.edu (individual)
    • childgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu (child group)
  • Child group: childgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu
  • Members of the child group:
    • bbadger@wisc.edu (individual)
    • jdoe@wisc.edu (individual)

How do nested groups work?

Continuing to use the nested group example above.

Sending/receiving an email to a nested group

An email sent to parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu will result in the following:

  • bbadger@wisc.edu will receive one email, despite being a member of parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu and the nested childgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu
  • jdoe@wisc.edu will receive one email


If the email sent by parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu includes an unsubscribe footer, the link will behave differently for members of childgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu

  • bbadger@wisc.edu (individual) - Yes, they can unsubscribe from parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu because they are a primary member of the parent group.
  • childgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu (child group) - No, they cannot unsubscribe using the link provided in the email sent by parentgroup@g-groups.wisc.edu . Members of the child group will need to unsubscribe within the group's settings, if allowed by the group's administrator.


    The following rules apply to nested groups:

     Rule  Description

    Members of child groups are not direct members of parent groups

    Because child group members don't belong to parent groups, they can't leave the parent group or change their membership settings in the parent group.

    Child group members inherit some permissions from parent groups

    If a Google doc is shared with a parent group, child group members can also access the doc. Or, if parent group members can moderate metadata for the group, child group members can also moderate metadata.

    Child group members may post to the parent group

    If the parent group allows all members of the group to post, members of the child group can also post to the parent group.

    Child group members may receive messages posted to parent groups

    If you want child group members to receive messages posted to the parent group, set the Post permission for the child group to All organization members. Otherwise, child group members may not receive messages posted to the parent group. 
    Child groups cannot be an owner or administrator of a parent group The child group cannot have a permission setting higher than the 'member' role. Learn more about group roles

    How to create a nested group?

    1. Go to https://groups.google.com/.
    2. Click on Sign in.
    3. Enter your netid@wisc.edu email address.
    4. Enter your NetID credentials.
    5. Click on My Groups.
    6. On the Groups list, point to the group that will become the parent group.
    7. In the parent group row, click Add members.
    8. Enter the name of the group you want to add to the parent group. Note: Use commas to separate multiple group names.
    9. Click Add to group.

    What are the benefits of creating a nested group?

    A benefit of using nested groups is that messages you post to the parent group are also posted to the child group if the child group's posting permissions allow it. If you have multiple parent groups that contain the same child group, you can add or remove members from the parent groups by editing the child group.

    Nested groups can be helpful if you have several teams that are part of a larger department. If you have a group for each team, you could add those groups to the department group. This can be faster than adding each team member to the larger department group individually.

    Keywordsnesting child parent google groups Google Workspace permissions create child group parent group subgroups members messages post subscribe unsubscribe   Doc ID100670
    OwnerChristina G.GroupUW Google Apps
    Created2020-04-16 09:45:25Updated2023-11-10 15:21:12
    SitesDoIT Help Desk, Google Apps
    Feedback  3   0