Shared Accounts


Shared accounts (formerly called departmental accounts) allow schools, colleges, departments and groups to use U-M Google collaboration tools and apps. These accounts have their own Mail, Calendar, Drive and Sites account. They can send and receive email, post events and share calendars, and own files in Drive. They are created, along with an MCommunity account, with a U-M weblogin and UMICH password. The U-M Google team will provide the UMICH password to the MCommunity group owner. To request a Shared Account, please see the steps on this page.

IMPORTANT: We do not recommend using a Shared Account to establish a Google+ identity or profile. If you want to use Google+ to represent someone or something other than yourself -- like your business, brand, unit, or project -- we suggest you create a Google+ page or community instead as they provide more flexible and robust platforms for communicating with your audience.  

For more information, see Managing Shared Accounts and Sharing Behaviors.

Mail Account

There are two ways to use a shared U-M Google Mail account:

  • Add the shared account to your U-M Google Mail account
  1. From the gear icon, select Settings.
  2. Click on the Accounts tab.
  3. Click Add another email address you own.
  4. In the Name field, enter the email address of the account.
  5. Click Send Verification. A verification code is sent to the MCommunity group.
  6. Enter the verification code and click Verify.

Now, when sending email, there is a drop-down menu in the From field where the shared account can be selected. The email is sent as the account listed in the From field. 

  • Log in to U-M Google Mail as you normally would, using the shared account name and the UMICH password provide by the U-M Google team. This is how to read and send the account's email directly. It is best to use a Chrome Incognito window to log in this way (Ctrl+Shift+N). Users can also use a different browser as an alternative to a Chrome Incognito window. 
  • IMPORTANT:  The vacation responder and auto-reply settings in Google Mail do not currently work as intended for shared accounts. Instead of replying to the sender, the message is sent to the account's MCommunity group -error address.

Calendar Account

There are two ways to use a shared Google Calendar account:

  • Shared accounts that you own appear under My Calendars and can be toggled on and off like other calendars. When creating events, the Calendar field is a drop-down menu where the shared account can be selected. The event then appears on this accounts calendar and not your own. 
  • As with Mail, you can log directly into the shared account with the name and UMICH password provided by the U-M Google team. It is best to use a Chrome Incognito window to log in this way (Ctrl+Shift+N). 

Password Changes

(The process to change passwords on shared accounts can be a little complicated so please contact the ITS Service Center if you need help.)
To change the password for a shared account, you must be an owner of the MCommunity group associated with that account. You will need to use a terminal program to change the password rather than doing it on the web. A terminal program presents you with text prompts, and you type your response or type commands. TIP: See Choosing and Changing a Secure UMICH Password for information about choosing a strong password.
  1. Open a secure terminal program and connect to the ITS Login Service ( Log in with your own uniqname and UMICH password (not the name and UMICH password for your shared account.) Note: Dearborn users should use instead of 
    • Windows Users: See Use PuTTY to Connect to Host Computers [Windows] for instructions. 
    • Mac Users: Use the Terminal program, which is included as part of the Mac OS. In your Applications folder, open the Utilities folder to find Terminal. Double-click Terminal to open it. Then type the appropriate ssh command:
      • If your machine name is your uniqname, you can enter this command: ssh
      • If your machine name is something different, you will need to enter this command: ssh (where you have replaced youruniqname with your own uniqname.) 
      • You will be prompted for your password. Type your UMICH password, then press the Return/Enter key. (You will not see anything on the screen when you type your password.) You will see the name of the Login Service machine you are connected to followed by a percent sign. This is the prompt at which you can enter commands. 
  1. At the Login Service % prompt, enter kpasswd, followed by the name of your shared account, then press the Return/Enter key. (kpasswd is the command indicating that you wish to change a UMICH password). For example, if your shared account name were its-test, you would type this: kpasswd its-test
  2. At the Password for yourshared account@UMICH.EDU prompt, enter the current UMICH password for your shared account and press the Return/Enter key. 
  3. At the Enter new password prompt, enter the new password you wish to use and press the Return/Enter key.
  4. At the Enter it again prompt, enter your new password again and press the Return/Enter key.
  5. You will see the words Password changed.
  6. Type logout and press the Return/Enter key.
  7. Exit or quit your terminal connection program. 
Note: The password you use to log in to your shared account via a mobile device or desktop client (e.g. Outlook and Apple Mail) is separate from your U-M weblogin password. These steps do NOT change your mobile/client password and the two do not automatically sync. Contact the ITS Service Center if you want both these passwords to be the same.

Helpful Hints 

  • Decide what you want the new password to be before starting the process. 
  • If you share this account with others you should 
    • consult them to come up with an agreed-upon password and
    • designate one of the account owners to actually change the password.
  • Follow good password security practices by using 9 or more characters and including at least 3 of any combination of these:
    • lowercase letters
    • uppercase letters
    • numerals
    • punctuation