Shared Contacts



What are Contacts?

There are 2 types of "people" in your G Suite domain and together, these make up your "Directory".

  1. Users - Users on your domain who consume a G Suite License (Steve Jones, from Accounting).
  2. Contacts - Users that are not on your domain and do not consume a G Suite License (ie. a vendor you do business with)

Using the Tagging widget in BetterCloud, certain Contacts can be shared to certain Users or they can also be made visible to the entire domain.

You can access Contacts and manage them through the Directory Tab in BetterCloud.

  • Contacts are organized by Tags
  • They will auto-complete in Gmail, Calendars, etc
  • Changes to Contacts and Tags made in BetterCloud take 24-48 hours to propagate to Google Contacts
  • Add Contacts and Tags in bulk by using the spreadsheet template

***NOTE: Throughout this Article, the the terms Domain Users, Contacts, and Tags are used frequently. It may be helpful to note that Domains Users (users within your domain) are added to Tags while Contacts (outside of your domain) are organized by Tags. This will make more sense as you read along with this article and and use the Contacts feature.


Why would I use Contacts?

Using the Contacts feature makes communicating with those outside of your domain an easier process.

Contacts can be used differently by each organization and are commonly used to store the contact information of frequent suppliers, customers, vendors or anyone from outside of the domain that Users contact frequently.

Creating Contacts

There are three ways to create a Contact:

  1. Guided Method (create individually)
    • Offers the same fields as when creating a contact in Gmail
    • Saved Contacts will only display completed fields
  2. Using the Spreadsheet (create in bulk)
    • Allows for adding and removing tags within spreadsheet
    • Allows for the creation of custom fields
  3. Create from My Contacts

Guided Method: Best for when creating a single Contact

  1. From the Directory, go to the Contacts tab and select “Create Contacts”
  2. Under the Guided section, select “Get Started”
  3. Here you can enter in the needed contact information, add a photo and create a tag for this Contact as well.
  4. Select, “Create Contact”
  5. Your newly created contact should now appear in Browse Contacts!

By Spreadsheet: Best when adding a large number of new contacts

    1. From the Directory, go to the Contacts tab and select “Create Contacts”
    2. Underneath the Bulk section, select “From Spreadsheet”

    1. Select a Template (Blank or Sample Contact)

    1. Navigate to Drive and open the exported spreadsheet
    2. Enter the new Contacts’ information in the spreadsheet

    1. Go back into BetterCloud and go to the “Import New Users” section of the Create Contacts page and select the updated spreadsheet to import
    2. Select “Create Contacts”

  1. Your newly created Contacts should now appear in Browse Contacts!

Create from My Contacts folder: Best when creating multiple Contacts from your personal My Contacts.

    1. From the Directory, go to the Contacts tab and select “Create Contacts”
    2. Underneath the Bulk section, select “From My Contacts”

    1. Select a group of contacts from your personal contact groups from the drop down menu
      • You will have the option to create a new Tag here for this group of contacts
        • A newly created tag can be shared with only certain users
      • You also have the option to Tag the the group as a Google Shared Contact
        • Contacts with the Google Shared Contact tag are added to the domain’s Directory (for example, they would auto-populate in Gmail)
    2. Select the needed tags for this group of Contacts.
      • If you do not select any Tags, these Contacts would only live within BetterCloud
    3. Click the “Create Contacts” button


  1. These contacts will now appear in Browse Contacts!
    • The Tags that were added to each Contact appear on the right side under the “Tags” column

How to Update Contacts

There are 2 ways that you can update Contacts:

  1. Individually
  2. In Bulk

Individual Contact Update

    1. From the Directory, open the Browse Contacts tab.
    2. Search for the Contact that needs updating. You can type in the search bar under “Name” for a contact and the name should auto-complete if it exists in your contacts
    3. Click into that user and then select “Edit Contact Information” at the top
      • You can also delete the contact from here by selecting the drop down arrow
    4. Edit all fields needed and Save
      • There is the ability to add more fields as well including custom fields

Bulk Contact Updates

    1. From the Directory, select the Update Contacts tab
    2. A Bulk Update Contacts window will show up. You will need to export contacts to a spreadsheet, so just select that button

    1. Go into your Drive and select the exported contact spreadsheet
    2. From here you are able to update the needed fields for multiple Contacts tags
      • This spreadsheet saves automatically

    1. Go back into BetterCloud and select the spreadsheet to import from the drop down menu underneath “Ready to Update Contacts?”
      • The last updated spreadsheet will appear at the top. If not, then just click the refresh icon
    2. Once you have selected the updated spreadsheet to upload, just click the blue “Update Contacts” button

  1. Your contacts will now be updated in BetterCloud!

Browsing Contacts: In BetterCloud and Gmail

    1. In BetterCloud you can view the master list of Contacts for your domain
      • Go to the Browse Contacts tab to view all Contacts
      • The tags that are attached to each contact are available to view here as well on the far right under the Tags column
      • To filter by tag, you can do so by the search bar or even by clicking on the tag
      • From this contact grid, you can also bulk tag and bulk delete contacts

    1. From Gmail you can view your contacts in your Google Contacts.
      • The contacts will be organized into folders by tag and every tag will be visible here
      • Clicking into a tag will show all of the Contacts in that tag
      • You will also notice 2 BetterCloud generated tags labeled Google Shared Contacts (Sys) and Users (Sys)
        • Google Shared Contacts (Sys) - All Contacts with this tag are added to the domain’s Gmail directory
          • A domain user would have to be subscribed to this tag to have these contacts visible in their directory
        • Users (Sys) - This tag represents the domain’s users
          • Sharing this tag with a Domain User will add a '#Users' folder to their Gmail contacts
            • '#Users' houses all Domain Users
          • You cannot tag Contacts with this tag; Domain Users are automatically added to this tag/folder.


Tags are a great way to organize and manage your Contacts both in BetterCloud and Google Contacts.

  1. Tags allow you to filter your Contacts in groups by adding them to one or many tags.
  2. You can control which users on your domain have access to specific Contacts by adding them to tags

Creating Tags

By entering text into the 'Tag Contact' section, you can create a tag that can be reused for any new or existing Contact. You can also add an existing tag to the Contact.

Share Contacts by Tag

When you create a new tag it will appear in the ‘Share Contacts by Tag’ section which will allow you to view and manage each tag. On this page you can,

    1. View the tag’s name
    2. View if the tag is ‘Shared’
      • Yes - There are domain users added to the tag
      • No - There are no domain users added to the tag
    3. View if the tag is ‘Copied to My Contacts’
      • Yes - These Contacts will be shown on the users’ mobile devices and ‘Copy [tag] contacts to user’s “My Contacts” for Mobile Sync’ is checked
      • No - These Contacts will not be shown on the users’ mobile devices and Copy [tag] contacts to user’s “My Contacts” for Mobile Sync’ is not checked
    4. Filter tags by name

System Tags

Contacts includes 2 system generated tags that will allow both your contacts and domain users to show in your Directory. They are:

    1. Google Shared Contact (Sys)
      • You can tag any number of Contacts with this system generated tag and they will be automatically added to the Directory in Google Contacts in 24-48 hours.
      • In addition, if a user is added to this tag, the folder “#Google Shared Contacts” will be created within that user’s Google Contacts.

        • If you would like these contacts to show on your users’ mobile devices, enable the ‘Copy Google Shared Contact (Sys) contacts to user’s “My Contacts” for Mobile Sync’ option.


    1. Users (Sys)
      • This tag shows all the users on your domain
      • In addition, if a user is added to this tag, the folder “#Users” will be created within that user’s Google Contacts.
        Note: If a User's contact info is updated in BetterCloud, it will take 24-48 hours to update in Google Contacts

      • If you would like to give your users the ability to view all user’s contact information on their mobile devices, you should add them to this tag and enable ‘Copy Users (Sys) contacts to user’s “My Contacts” for Mobile Sync’
        Note: External Contacts cannot be added to this tag.
      • You also have the option to ‘Exclude aliases and nicknames for domain’s users when adding them to this tag
        • Checked - Any aliases and nicknames will be omitted from the Users folder in Google Contacts
        • Unchecked - Any aliases and nicknames will show in the Users folder in Google Contacts
        • Add Domain Alias - You can exclude a domain alias by entering it in this field

How to Add Contacts/Users to Your Directory

To add Contacts to your Directory:

  • When creating or editing a new Contact, tag them with ‘Google Shared Contact (Sys)’

To add Users to your Directory:

  • Users will automatically be added to the Directory.
    Note: It will take 24-48 hours to show up in the Directory.

Individual Tags

You can manage tags by clicking on the tag in the ‘Share Contacts by Tag’ page. From this page you can:

    1. View the tag name
    2. Rename/Delete Tag
    3. Add/Remove Users
    4. View who this tag is shared with
    5. Enable Mobile Sync by checking ‘Copy [tag] contacts to the user’s “My Contacts” folder for Mobile Sync’
      • All users added to this tag will be able to view the contacts associated to it on their mobile devices

Note: When pushing out the Users (sys) tag you can also choose to hide email aliases and domain aliases from displaying in Google Contacts

Adding Users to A Tag

    1. To add and give users access to a tag, navigate to the individual tag from the ‘Share Contacts by Tag’ page and click Add Users.

    1. Select the users you would like to add to the tag and click the + button next to their name.
      • You can also add by group and org unit.
  1. This tag will appear as a contact group in their Google Contacts in 24-48 hours.

Editing Tags of a User on Your Domain

You can view and remove tags that are shared with a user on your domain by selecting the User in the 'Browse Users' page in BetterCloud.

    1. Select ‘Contact Tags’ under 'Subscriptions' on the left navigation bar from the User’s page to view the tags that are shared with them.
    2. View the name of the tags shared with the user
    3. If a tag or group of tags are selected, you can remove them from the user and the folder and Contacts associated with it will no longer appear in their Google Contacts
    4. Export the tags to a spreadsheet
    5. Push all Contacts to the user - This will put the contacts back into a push state

Contact Status Report

Contacts can take 24-48 hours to push out to Google and the Contact Status Report is an easy way to see exactly where they are in the process. This will export the list of contacts, users they’re shared with, tag names, and the contacts’ state.

  1. Export
    • All contacts
    • Contacts shared with a particular user
    • Contacts tagged with a particular tag
  2. Export only contacts that have yet to push out or failed

The contacts can be in the following states:

  1. SUCCESS - The contacts have successfully pushed out and should show in the user’s contact list
  2. SHOULD_PUSH - The contacts are waiting to push out and should show in the user’s contact list in 12 hours
  3. IN_PROGRESS - The contacts are currently pushing out
  4. FAIL - The contacts have failed to push out. Please contact Support.

Note: If you have recently created and tagged a contact, it may not show on this list for 24-48 hours.

How to Sync To Mobile Devices

All of the Users that that tag is shared with will be able to view the Contacts associated to the tag on their mobile devices by checking ‘Copy [tag] contacts to user’s “My Contacts” For Mobile Sync’.

They will now appear under the My Contacts folder in Google Contacts.

To sync with your iOS device, please refer to this article.

End-User Settings

In End-User Settings under ‘Directory’, you have the option to allow your End-Users to create and edit Contacts as well as their tags in BetterCloud by selecting “on” or “off” via the 'Create and Edit Contacts option'.

  • On - Users will be able to create and edit Contacts in BetterCloud
  • Off - Users will not be able to create and edit Contacts in BetterCloud

Access Controls

If you are looking for granularity and would not like to give all of your End-Users the ability to create and edit contacts, you can set the ‘Create and Edit Contacts’ setting to off in End-User Settings. Then, you can create an Access Role for those you would like to.


Tags will auto-complete in Gmail and Calendar. When typing the tag into a message or calendar invite, all of the contacts associated with the tag will be added.





For Shared Contacts to properly function you must enter your Google Admin Console and:

  1. Enable Contact Sharing
  2. Choose to show Shared Contacts or both Domain Profiles and Shared Contacts

    In the Admin Console, navigate to Apps > G Suite > Contacts > Advanced settings: 

  3. Allow individual user profiles to be shown in Google Contacts

    In the Admin Console, navigate to Users > [user name] > Account: 

You will also need to enable the setting that allows users to install Google Drive apps, to allow BetterCloud to add and modify spreadsheets in Drive.

This setting is found by going to G Suite > Drive and Docs > Data Access and selecting ‘Allow users to install Google Docs add-ons from add-ons store":

Contacts in Outlook

If you are running Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, (GASMO) you can use Outlook to access global contact information for everyone in your domain as long as you have enabled a Global Address List for your domain. If you or your users can not see any group addresses or shared contacts, upgrade to the dynamic Global Address List for your domain.

Read the full article: Microsoft Outlook & Integration

*It may take up to 24-48 hours for your shared contacts to appear in Google Contacts and the GAL in Outlook.

Google Related Article

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