Custom user attributes: the what and the why...

G Suite comes with standard directory fields, like "Employee ID" or "Cost Center," but custom user attributes allow administrators to extend this to include custom-defined fields.

With custom attributes, you can:

  • Add even more data you want to record; for example, assign different data types to special value fields, such as number, date, and email.
  • Control whether you want the information to be public to all users in your organization, or private to administrators and the individual user.

Learn more from Google's help guide.

Gopher for Users makes it a snap to view and maintain these custom field values from Sheets.

Examples of useful user attributes in a school setting:

Case 1:  Give student users a unique Student ID from the SIS to avoid account duplication

In smaller schools and districts, student accounts are typically created manually from SIS exports. Depending on your account-naming conventions, differentiating between pre-existing students and new students, or students in need of de-provisioning, can sometimes be a confusing and error-prone process.  When all student accounts have a private Student ID as part of a custom Student Info attribute, spreadsheet formulas (like VLOOKUP or COUNTIF) can be used to cross-reference a new-users list against all existing user to flag and avoid account duplication.

Case 2: Populate values relevant to 3rd party software or inventory management

Some 3rd party software can integrate with custom G Suite directory fields, or in cases where devices are assigned to individuals, it may make sense to tag these users with this additional custom info.

Case 3:  Give student users additional, searchable or otherwise useful identifying information like Homeroom, Faculty Advisor, or Cohort.

Depending on the size of your school or district, it may make sense to allow students to be visible within the contact directory, and to include additional fields that could be useful to staff and peers when viewing them within the contact directory.  

As seen in legacy Contacts As seen in new Contacts
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Alternatively, it may make sense to set these fields to "private" but instead give all staff a G Suite admin role, such as "View all directory fields" that allows staff to view private student user profile info while protecting it from view by students.


These same fields can be queried by an administrator within the G Suite admin panel search bar using the standard G Suite admin user search query syntax.  For example, the search query for all users with gStudent -> Advisor equals "Jones" would be gStudent.advisor='Jones' and might show results as seen below.