How to set up and manage delegation in Gmail

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Whether you are using a free electronic mail account or a paid-for Google Workspace, you can set up delegation in Gmail, granting another person the right to read, reply or delete your messages. 

Naturally, this feature is more used for corporate purposes, as private Gmail accounts are a collection of sensitive data that people prefer to keep to themselves.

In business, the convenience of having other people reply on someone’s behalf is in great demand. Most frequently, it’s used in sales and support departments, as well as to unload some of the routine correspondence duties onto a personal assistant of a senior manager. 

According to Zippia, there are nearly 40.8 thousand personal assistants in the US alone. It’s not uncommon that a manager will want their assistant to respond to routine emails, deal with spam, book meetings in their calendars and add a delegate to Gmail to enable the transfer of these activities.

Salespeople will traditionally have their personal account and shared access to a general account. Given that an average salesperson spends around a fifth [21%] of their working time writing emails, this capability enables timely processing of incoming leads irrespective of individual schedules, rest days, and vacations. 

Other sales conversion stats prove just how critical such a quick response time is: according to Inside Sales research, 35-50% of sales end up with a company that answered a commercial inquiry first.

What is Delegated Access in Gmail?

📝 Delegated access to Gmail is a series of technical activities in your Gmail account that grant permission for another Gmail account to access your inbox and perform a set of limited operations on your behalf. 

Gmail Delegation in Figures:

  • One Gmail account can have as many as 1000 configured accounts with delegated access.
  • However, the general recommendation is that only up to 40 users can concurrently access a delegated inbox at a time.

What a Gmail Delegate Can and Cannot Do on Behalf of the Delegator

✅  Delegated access to Gmail enables a delegate to perform these activities on behalf of the delegator:

  • Read emails
  • Write messages
  • Delete emails
  • Archive messages
  • Use labels to segment messages
  • Sort emails with rules and filters

❌  Email delegation, however, does not allow for these activities:

  • Using chat functionality to exchange chat messages on behalf of another account
  • Delete the account 
  • Change a password for the account with delegated access

Does the Recipient Know that a Gmail Delegate Sent an Email, not the Account Owner?

If your company uses Google Workspace, the admin of the corporate account can control how a message sent on behalf of the original inbox owner appears in the recipient’s mailbox: having both addresses or only the address of the account owner.

So if you reply from a shared sales/info/support inbox and the reply line specifies:

From: on behalf of 

You can ask your Google workspace admin to change the settings not to specify the delegate email at all.

Step-by-Step Algorithm: How to Setup Gmail Delegation

  1. Open Gmail on a PC [the mobile version of the Gmail application does not permit this functionality].
  2. Tap the Gear icon in the top right corner to see the drop-down menu.
  3. Choose Settings in the drop-down menu.
  4. Select the Accounts tab among the ribbon of tabs across the top of the Settings application interface.
  5. In the left part of the screen find the Grant access to your account row and click the blue link in the right column across to Add another account.
  6. At this point, a pop-up window appears for you to enter the email address of the person you want to delegate access to.
  7. Click the Next step button.
  8. A popup notification window will appear asking if you really want to grant access to your Gmail account to the specified account. Click Send email to grant access.
  9. The invited delegate needs to go to their inbox and accept the invitation to the shared inbox by clicking on the link in an email sent from The email will have a similar subject:

User XYZ has granted you access to their XYZ account – accept or deny?

The invitee has one week to accept an invitation before it expires. Users should allow up to 24 hours for the permission to take effect.

How to Enable Email Delegation for Your Domain [for Workspace Admins]

Workspace admins need to adjust settings in the admin panel so that corporate users can delegate access to their Gmail accounts. They can also set parameters so that a receiver sees both email addresses on the response or only the account owner’s email.

Algorithm to Allow Corporate Users to Delegate Email Access

This is a guide for people with administrator-level accounts in Google Workspace:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console at this link
  2. When on the Admin console Home page, click Apps.
  3. Select Google Workspace.
  4. Choose Gmail.
  5. Click User Settings.
  6. Select Mail delegation.
  7. Check the mark ☑️ next to Let users delegate access to their mailbox to other users in the domain.
  8. At this point an admin can choose if a recipient sees only one address or both addresses—the account owner’s and delegate’s by selecting a respective option under the Sender information shown to the recipient.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Allow up to 24 hours for synchronization to take place.

Now corporate accounts of your domain can delegate access to both groups and individuals, so you can advise all about this change in corporate settings once done with the 10 steps above. You can also share instructions from the first section of this article on how to delegate a Gmail account.

Remove Gmail Delegation Rights From Corporate Users

To remove Gmail account delegation rights for corporate users a person with Workspace admin access rights should do all of the above steps, but uncheck the box in step 7: 

Google Admin console – Apps – Google Workspace – Gmail – User Settings – Mail delegation – UNCHECK Let users delegate access to their mailbox to other users in the domain – Save.

Remember if you disable the delegation functionality from an admin console, your corporate users will have no access to shared inboxes but will be limited to individual use of their Gmail accounts.

Managing Delegates in Gmail: Common Issues & Technicalities

When dealing with the “Gmail add delegate” functionality, remember some of the technical advice:

  1. The delegate has issues accessing your account

There’s a field in your account settings that says “Require user to change password at next sign-in.” If you delegate access to your mail to someone with a new account or your password was reset meanwhile, this setting may trigger an error when they try to enter your account. Make sure you disable this functionality to avoid any access issues.

  1. You have delegated access to multiple users and you cannot access the account

The maximum number of users that can concurrently access one shared inbox is 40. But depending on the locations of these delegates, the type of work they are doing, and compute capacity they need during their work in the inbox, the system may temporarily deny access to this account, locking it down for some time.
These simple tips on how to delegate email in Gmail allow companies to ensure uninterrupted work with business correspondence for sales, customer support, and administration teams.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Greyson Becker
    March 28, 2023 7:26 pm

    Oh, that’s so handy for my family florist shop. With this delegation feature I can finally relax on my vacay. No more need to check on the email every hour so as not to miss a piece of business!

  • I was literally today years old, when I found this out. Tnx! The images helped the smooth navigation too.


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