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See also the official documentation:
Help Center > Getting Started Guide for Group Owners
Help Center > Group Owners Manual > Creating a group

Quick Start for Group Formation

This is an overview on starting a group with links to other parts of GMF's wiki and useful pages.

Sign Up with

If you haven't participated in a group already, click the Sign Up link at the top-right of a page. If you have, click the Log In link instead:

If the Sign Up page tells you that your email address is already registered use the Log In link. If instead you see your name or email address to the right of the person icon then you are already logged in.

Once you sign up you have an account at That lets you create groups and use the web features of groups that you create or join. Your email address is your account ID - if you use more than one address those will be treated as if they are separate people.

Once you start or join a group, you are a member of that group. If you create a group you are initially the only member, and you have the "Owner" role in that group (meaning you have full control over the group).


Your group can be a brand new one or one that is going to have members and/or content copied from Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, or another service. In any case, you will need to have made a copy of the members list (including email addresses) and/or content before you will be able to copy them (or have them imported) into your group. See Moving to for more information.

Set your Time Zone, Time Display, Date Display, and Monday Start. These are found on the Preferences page of your account. and will be used as a default for people who join your group (and haven't previously joined another group or otherwise set their own Preferences). See Customizing Your Own Account for more details on setting your preferences, and the Default Sub Settings section below.

Consider whether you want a basic (free) group or if you would like or need the features that come with a Premium or Enterprise plan. All groups are created as Basic groups and can be upgraded to a paid plan at any time.  If you later decide that the Basic plan will suffice for your group, you can let it revert to a Basic plan when the payment runs out (in one month or one year, depending on the plan selected).

Create a group

Create a group by clicking on the link to Create A Group. If you're not logged in to the site, you'll be taken to the login page.

Note:You cannot create more than 20 groups per day (ref:

Verify that your group will comply with's terms of service:

A group is identified by its email address. Decide on the group's email address. The custom part you choose is also referred to as the name of the group.

  • The Group name must be 34 characters or less and cannot contain spaces, pluses, periods, or underscores. (length verified Mar 8, 2020)
  • The same setting also controls the group’s web address (URL). The domain name will be (If you want to use your own domain name, you must choose the Enterprise plan.)
  • The group name also controls the default sort order in the directory of groups, if you opt to include your group in the list of public groups.
  • You can change your group's name (email & web address) later if you must. But see Renaming a Group.
  • Compose a good description for your group. Be specific. This description will appear on your group's home page. It can be edited again later.
  • If you are listed in the public groups, only part of the home page description will be displayed. Make it good!


Visibility of your group message archive

This is an important decision. If you make your archive private, you can't change your mind later.

Do you want your group's messages (archive) to be visible to search engines and the general public?

The archive of a group consists of all messages posted to the group, except messages that have been deleted. It is displayed in a chronological list by clicking on "Messages" on the group’s home page.

Some groups have public archives and some private. This is different from "restricted" which means that members require approval before being allowed to join the group. See Spam Control.

Once you make your group message archive private, you cannot later change your mind and make it public again.

Private archives means that those messages are visible only to members. In stark contrast, a public archive can be read by anybody. And when I say anybody, I mean anyone in the world who finds the URL.

For example, the archives in Group Managers Forum can be read by ANYONE. You don't need to be a member of don't even need to have a account. Some of the posts are indexed in search engines.

Understandably, many people might be reluctant to post things to a public group, even if it doesn't involve a sensitive issue like medical privacy. That's why the privacy setting is displayed on your group's home page. And that's also why once you make your group private, you cannot make it public again. It is a breach of trust -- and may not even be legal -- to tell people that their posts will be restricted to a limited audience, only to have the group Owner later betray that trust by changing his mind.

Do you want your group to be listed in the list of groups?

Some groups opt not to be listed in the directory of publicly accessible groups.
You can change that later.

Be sure to save everything! Scroll down to and click the Update Group button.

Settings - customizing your group

The wiki might not reflect all the customizations in Premium and especially Enterprise groups.

You still have important work to do!

The Settings page sets some overall limits, and the individual features have some control options as well.

Log in to your group using your own email address. Your email address is used on the Log In page where some systems might use a "username" instead.

Click on the green button to create your group.

You will be able to customize your group administrative settings after you create the group.

Go to Admin > Settings in the menu on the left.

After you create your group you must wait to allow the system to approve the group before you can take certain actions. That's ok, meanwhile you can continue on to customize your group. You'll receive email notification is approved, this may take a few hours. If you opted to include your group in the directory of public groups it will take a while longer for it to appear there.

Settings Buttons: 1) settings, 2) default sub (subscription) settings, 3) cover photo (for your home page), 4) notices (editable invitation notice, welcome, etc.) and 5) export group data (to meet European GDPR / privacy regulations).

General settings button

  • You can edit your group title, description, add user tips to your group home page, etc.
  • Description: If you want to market your group through the list of groups (,,,20,2,0,0 ), make sure your title and description have the appropriate keywords for retrieving your group. Put keywords early in the text block.
  • Be sure to click on Update Group after any changes.


You have already decided whether or not your message archive is public or private. You cannot change that. See above for details. You can change whether or not your group appears in the directory of publicly listed Groups.

Here are some privacy controls:

  • Member directory: Who can view the member directory? Options are members, owners and moderators, and disabled.
    Each member has control over who can see their own profile in this Member Directory, through their Group Profile button of their Subscription page. The member uses the Edit Group Profile button. Additionally, a member must set their own profile to be visible to other members before they can see other members' profiles.
  • Members visible: This controls the Admin members list. To make the members list available to Members, you must first select the Restricted method of Spam Control (see below). For more information about the Directory and Members List, see this wiki page.
  • Hide email addresses in message archive: some groups mask members email addresses for privacy. Alternatives for members if you mask the email addresses: Reply online via the "Reply" link below the message, and the click the silver Private button on the right. It changes it to Reply to Sender. They can also click on Reply to Sender in their email footer.
  • You can make your calendar and wiki public, i.e. anyone can read it. If you don't want that, be sure to change the settings.

Spam Control

You must choose from among these four options. At least one of these options must be set as a spam control measure.

  • Restricted Membership - Moderators must approve any new members.
  • Announcement Group - Only Owners and Moderators are allowed to post.
  • Moderation - Options are:
    • Not moderated,
    • All messages are moderated, and
    • Messages that start new topics are moderated.
    • If either of the moderated options is chosen, those will be held for moderator approval before being sent to the group.
  • New Members Moderated - Messages from new members are held pending moderator approval. After the set number of consecutive messages are approved, the member is automatically unmoderated. Label is NMM.

If you choose Restricted only, you do not need to moderate ANY messages, if you wish. But you will have to approve new members.

There is no Spam Control setting that will allow a new member to join your group without approval and immediately post an unmoderated message.

Message Policies

For details, see Help Center > Group Owners Manual > Customizing group settings > Message policy settings.

Reposting Policies

  • Not available in Basic groups. It is a Premium and Enterprise feature.

Message Formatting

Most modern email clients send messages as HTML but can be configured not to. So messages are going to come into your group in both HTML and plain text, depending on what the sender sent.

If you don't check any of the checkboxes, they are forwarded without change, except to add a corresponding footer. Be advised that the plain text footers look different from the HTML footer, so there is some benefit to checking one of the boxes, to provide your group's emails with a consistent "look."

If you don't check either of these, the member can choose HTML as their editor in Account, Preferences if they prefer HTML.

Force HTML- If you check Force HTML, every message going out will be in HTML and will have the HTML-styled footer. The plain-text digest will be disabled.

Normalize HTML - Strips all different fonts and colors from HTML emails. It strips font styling (e.g., size and color) from any outgoing HTML emails, leaving the rest alone. (Individual group members can choose editor preference for their own account in Account, Preferences.)

Allow attachments or not. And you can allow plain text only. See more details: Managing attachments - files and photos


For all of these, you can disable the feature or decide who can use it.

Be sure to save (click Update Group) when you are finished.

Default Sub Settings button

You can set up standard (default) subscription settings for users. Individual users can change this themselves, but if they don't, this would be their group settings.

Default subscription settings:

For more information, see Help Center > Group Owners Manual > Setting default email options and user settings for group members.

- Maximum attachment size that will be emailed to members.

Attachment size options includes unlimited and 0 (no attachments). 

Set Max Attachment Size to something other than Unlimited and save. This won't keep people from sending large attachments to the group and using up storage space, but at least it will keep from attempting to deliver them to you via email (a hyperlink to the attachment will be sent instead).


Default user settings:

4 more choices on this button:

Click on the blue button (update group) to save your choices and changes.

Cover Photo button

You can add a photo for your group home page as well as a group icon for use on mobile devices. Upload a file containing the cover photo. It will be scaled to fit within 900 x 300 pixels - 3:1 ratio. There is no size control setting, either. If you want to put up a photo with some other aspect ratio (or of a smaller size), it has to be padded with whitespace to keep it from being distorted by the rescaling.

You can take two or three images that are closer to square, and compose them together into a 3:1 aspect ratio for the cover image or masthead.

Or you could flank your showcase image with flat colors or graphics of your choice to fill out the width. Maybe a headline about the member to the left and a credits or other info to the right.

You should be able to do this even with relatively simple photo editors, such as the Paint utility included with Windows.

There is also an option to create a group icon. This is displayed on the mobile home page as well as in the Feed on the website.

Member Notices button

There are a number of notices you can create.

  • Invite notice: You will likely want to personalize the Invite notice that is emailed with an invitation to join your group. 
  • Welcome notice: Sent when someone joins your group.
  • If you wish more information about potential new members, use Pending Subscription notice. This message sent when someone applies to join your group. This is only available to Restricted Groups (see Spam Control in Settings). It is sent automatically to anyone who asks to join. It is not sent to those that you invite or "direct add".
  • And you might consider a Group Guidelines notice. The Group Guidelines notice is a unique type that provides a convenient and versatile way to communicate and maintain the group’s posting and conduct guidelines, if any.

See this wiki page about member notices.

For more information, see Help Center > Group Owners Manual > Managing member notices.

Export Group Data button

To download your complete message archive, click on Settings under Admin in the sidebar. From there, click the Export Group Data button. You can then select which parts of your group to export.

Member Sync button / Service Sync organizations can be synced with an external service. This means that members of the external service can automatically be made members of an organization. Automatic syncing occurs hourly. Currently used with Slack.

This does not appear on the first button (Settings). Click on another button first and the member sync function will appear in the row of buttons.

What Counts Towards the Storage Limits?

See Help Center > Group Owners Manual > Viewing and managing your group's storage space > Items that count towards the storage limit.

Ready to go!

Message moderation

Promote your group - in Admin, Settings

More help for group managers and members

In the wiki -

There is a search box at the top of wiki pages that searches the entire wiki.

Search button at the top of Messages list in GMF:

Official documentation: Help Center > Group Owners Manual

The official user documentation is in the Help Center.