Managing organizational units (OUs) - AWS Organizations

Managing organizational units (OUs)

You can use organizational units (OUs) to group accounts together to administer as a single unit. This greatly simplifies the management of your accounts. For example, you can attach a policy-based control to an OU, and all accounts within the OU automatically inherit the policy. You can create multiple OUs within a single organization, and you can create OUs within other OUs. Each OU can contain multiple accounts, and you can move accounts from one OU to another. However, OU names must be unique within a parent OU or root.

Note

There is one root in the organization, which AWS Organizations creates for you when you first set up your organization.

To structure the accounts in your organization, you can perform the following tasks:

To navigate to different OUs or to the root when moving accounts or attaching policies, you can use the default "tree" view.

New console

To navigate the organization as a 'tree'

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, at the top of the Organization section, ensure that the View AWS accounts only switch icon is turned off. .

  3. The tree initially appears showing the root, displaying only the first level of child OUs and accounts. To expand the tree to show deeper levels, choose the expand icon ( )next to any parent entity. To reduce clutter and collapse a branch of the tree, choose the collapse icon ( ) next to an expanded parent entity.

  4. Choose the name of an OU or root to view its details and perform certain operations. Alternatively, you can choose the radio button next to the name, and perform certain operations on that entity in the Actions menu.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To navigate the organization as a 'tree'

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. Choose the Organize accounts tab.

  3. If the tree view pane isn't visible on the left side of the page, turn on the TREE VIEW switch .

  4. The tree initially appears showing the Root, with only the first level of child OUs displayed. To expand the tree pane to show deeper levels, choose the + icon next to the entity that you want to expand. To reduce clutter and collapse a branch of the tree, choose the – icon next to an expanded parent entity.

  5. Still in the tree view pane, choose the OU or root that you want to navigate to. The node in the tree view that is displayed in bold text is the one that you are currently viewing in the center pane.

    Notes
    • Rename, Delete, and Move operations in the center pane: When you view the contents of a root or OU in the console, you can interact with the child entities of that root or OU.

      • If you select the check box for a child account, you can choose the Rename, Delete, or Move links above that section to perform those operations on the selected account.

      • If you select the check box for a child OU, you can choose the Rename or Delete links above that section to perform those operations on the selected OU. You can't move an OU from one parent to another.

      The operations apply only to the child entities that you select. They don't apply to the containing root or OU. To perform the same operations for the containing OU, you must navigate to the OU's parent OU or root, and then select the check box for the child OU that you want to manage.

    • Details pane: The details pane on the right side of the console shows information about the root or OU that you are viewing. If you select a check box for a child entity, the details pane switches to show information about the selected entity. To see the details of the containing root or OU again, you must clear the check box. Alternatively, you can navigate to the parent root or OU, and then select the check box for the OU whose information you want to see.

You can also view the list of all accounts in your organization in tabular form, without having to first navigate to an OU to find them. In this view you can't see any of the OUs or manipulate the policies attached to them.

New console

To view the organization as a flat list of accounts with no hierarchy

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, at the top of the Organization section, choose the View AWS accounts only switch icon to turn it on. .

  3. The list of accounts is displayed without any hierarchy.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To view the organization as a flat list of accounts with no hierarchy

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. Choose the Accounts tab.

  3. You can turn off the tree view pane on the left side of the page, by turning off the TREE VIEW switch .

Creating an OU

When you sign in to your organization's management account, you can create an OU in your organization's root. OUs can be nested up to five levels deep. To create an OU, complete the following steps.

Important

If this organization is managed with AWS Control Tower, then create your OUs with the AWS Control Tower console or APIs. If you create the OU in Organizations, then that OU isn't registered with AWS Control Tower. For more information, see Referring to Resources Outside of AWS Control Tower in the AWS Control Tower User Guide.

Minimum permissions

To create an OU within a root in your organization, you must have the following permissions:

  • organizations:DescribeOrganization – required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:CreateOrganizationalUnit

New console

To create an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. Navigate to the AWS accounts page.

    The console displays the Root OU and its contents. The first time you visit the Root, the console displays all of your AWS accounts in that top-level view. If you previously created OUs and moved accounts into them, the console shows only the top-level OUs and any accounts that you have not yet moved into an OU.

  3. (Optional) If you want to create an OU inside an existing OU, navigate to the child OU by choosing the name (not the check box) of the child OU, or by choosing the next to OUs in the tree view until you see the one you want, and then choosing its name.

  4. When you've selected the correct parent OU in the hierarchy, on the Actions menu, under Organizational Unit, choose Create new

  5. In the Create organizational unit dialog box, enter the name of the OU that you want to create.

  6. (Optional) Add one or more tags by choosing Add tag and then entering a key and an optional value. Leaving the value blank sets it to an empty string; it isn't null. You can attach up to 50 tags to an OU.

  7. Finally, choose Create organizational unit.

Your new OU appears inside the parent. You now can move accounts to this OU or attach policies to it.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To create an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

    The console displays the contents of the root. The first time you visit a root, the console displays all of your AWS accounts in that top-level view. If you previously created OUs and moved accounts into them, the console shows only the top-level OUs and any accounts that you have not yet moved into an OU.

  2. (Optional) If you want to create an OU inside an existing OU, navigate to the child OU by choosing the name (not the check box) of the child OU, or by choosing the OU in the tree view.

  3. When you're in the correct location in the hierarchy, choose the +New organizational unit tile.

  4. In the Create organizational unit dialog box, enter the name of the OU that you want to create.

  5. (Optional) Add one or more tags by choosing Add tag and then entering a key and an optional value. Leaving the value blank sets it to an empty string; it isn't null. You can attach up to 50 tags to an OU.

  6. When you're finished, choose Create organizational unit.

Your new OU appears inside the parent. You now can move accounts to this OU or attach policies to it.

AWS CLI & AWS SDKs

To create an OU

You can use one of the following commands to create an OU:

  • AWS CLI: aws organizations create-organizational-unit

    To create an OU, you must first find the identity of the root or OU that you want to be the parent of the new OU.

    To find the identity of the root, use the list-roots command. To find the identity of an OU, use the list-children to navigate to the OU you want.

    The following example shows how to find the identity of the root, and then find the identity of an OU under the root. The last command shows how to create a new OU in that found OU.

    $ aws organizations list-roots { "Roots": [ { "Id": "r-a1b2", "Arn": "arn:aws:organizations::123456789012:root/o-aa111bb222/r-a1b2", "Name": "Root", "PolicyTypes": [] } ] } $ aws organizations list-children \ --parent-id r-a1b2 \ --child-type ORGANIZATIONAL_UNIT { "Children": [ { "Id": "ou-a1b2-f6g7h111", "Type": "ORGANIZATIONAL_UNIT" } ] } $ aws organizations create-organizational-unit \ --parent-id ou-a1b2-f6g7h111 \ --name New-Child-OU { "OrganizationalUnit": { "Id": "ou-a1b2-f6g7h222", "Arn": "arn:aws:organizations::123456789012:ou/o-aa111bb222/ou-a1b2-f6g7h222", "Name": "New-Child-OU" } }
  • AWS SDKs: CreateOrganizationalUnit

Renaming an OU

When you sign in to your organization's management account, you can rename an OU. To do this, complete the following steps.

Minimum permissions

To rename an OU within a root in your AWS organization, you must have the following permissions:

  • organizations:DescribeOrganization – required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:UpdateOrganizationalUnit

New console

To rename an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, navigate to the OU that you want to rename, and then do one of the following steps:

    • Choose the radio button next to the OU that you want to rename. Then, on the Actions menu, under Organizational unit, choose Rename.

    • Choose the OU's name, to access the OU's detail page. Then, at the top of the page choose Rename.

  3. In the Rename organizational unit dialog box, enter a new name, and then choose Save changes.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To rename an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the Organize accounts tab, navigate to the OU that you want to rename, and choose the check box next its name.

  3. Choose Rename.

  4. In the Rename organizational unit dialog box, enter a new name, and then choose Rename organizational unit.

AWS CLI & AWS SDKs

To rename an OU

You can use one of the following commands to rename an OU:

  • AWS CLI: aws organizations update-organizational-unit

    The following example shows how to rename an OU.

    $ aws organizations update-organizational-unit \ --organizational-unit-id ou-a1b2-f6g7h222 \ --name "Renamed-OU" { "OrganizationalUnit": { "Id": "ou-a1b2-f6g7h222", "Arn": "arn:aws:organizations::123456789012:ou/o-aa111bb222/ou-a1b2-f6g7h222", "Name": "Renamed-OU" } }
  • AWS SDKs: UpdateOrganizationalUnit

Editing tags attached to an OU

When you sign in to your organization's master account, you can add or remove the tags attached to an OU. To do this, complete the following steps.

Minimum permissions

To edit the tags attached to an OU within a root in your AWS organization, you must have the following permissions:

  • organizations:DescribeOrganization – required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:DescribeOrganizationalUnit– required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:TagResource

  • organizations:UntagResource

New console

To edit the tags attached to an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, navigate to and choose the name of the OU whose tags you want to edit.

  3. On the OU's details page, choose the Tags tab, and then choose Manage tags.

  4. You can perform any of these actions on this tab:

    • Edit the value for any tag by entering a new value over the old one. You can't modify the tag key. To change a key, you must delete the tag with the old key and add a tag with the new key.

    • Remove an existing tag by choosing Remove next to the tag you want to remive.

    • Add a new tag key and value pair. Choose Add tag, then enter the new key name and optional value in the provided boxes. If you leave the Value box empty, the value is an empty string; it isn't null.

  5. Choose Save changes after you've made all the additions, removals, and edits you want to make.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To edit the tags attached to an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the Organize accounts tab, navigate to and choose the name of the OU whose tags you want to edit.

  3. In the OU's details pane on the right, choose EDIT TAGS.

  4. You can perform any of these actions on this page:

    • Edit the value for any tag by entering a new value over the old one. You can't modify the tag key. To change a key, you must delete the tag with the old key and add a tag with the new key.

    • Remove an existing tag by choosing Remove next to the tag you want to remove.

    • Add a new tag key and value pair. Choose Add tag, then enter the new key name and optional value in the provided boxes. If you leave the Value box empty, the value is an empty string; it isn't null.

  5. Choose Save changes after you've made all the additions, removals, and edits you want to make.

AWS CLI & AWS SDKs

To edit the tags attached to an OU

You can use one of the following commands to change the tags attached to an OU:

  • AWS CLI: aws organizations tag-resource and aws organizations untag-resource

    The following example attaches the tag "Department"="12345" to an OU. Note that Key and Value are case sensitive.

    $ aws organizations tag-resource \ --resource-id ou-a1b2-f6g7h222 \ --tags Key=Department,Value=12345

    This command produces no output when successful.

    The following example removes the Department tag from an OU.

    $ aws organizations untag-resource \ --resource-id ou-a1b2-f6g7h222 \ --tag-keys Department

    This command produces no output when successful.

  • AWS SDKs: TagResource and UntagResource

Moving an account to an OU or between the root and OUs

When you sign in to your organization's management account, you can move accounts in your organization from the root to an OU, from one OU to another, or back to the root from an OU. Placing an account inside an OU makes it subject to any policies that are attached to the parent OU and any other OUs in the parent chain up to the root. If an account isn't in an OU, it's subject to only the policies that are attached to the root and any that are attached directly to the account. To move an account, complete the following steps.

Minimum permissions

To move an account to a new location in the OU hierarchy, you must have the following permissions:

  • organizations:DescribeOrganization – required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:MoveAccount

New console

To move an account to an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, navigate to the OU that contains the account that you want to move.

  3. Choose the radio button next to the account's name, and then on the Actions menu, under AWS account, choose Move .

  4. In the Move AWS account dialog box, navigate to and then choose the OU or root that you want to move the account to, and then choose Move AWS account.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To move an account to an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the Organize accounts tab navigate to the OU that currently contains the account that you want to move.

  3. Choose the account, and then choose Move.

  4. In the Move AWS account dialog box, navigate to and choose the OU or root that you want to move the account to and then choose Move.

AWS CLI & AWS SDKs

To move an account to an OU

You can use one of the following commands to move an account:

  • AWS CLI: aws organizations move-account

    The following example moves an AWS account from the root to an OU. Note that you must specify the IDs of both the source and destination containers.

    $ aws organizations move-account \ --account-id 111122223333 \ --source-parent-id r-a1b2 \ --destination-parent-id ou-a1b2-f6g7h111

    This command produces no output when successful.

  • AWS SDKs: MoveAccount

Deleting an OU

When you sign in to your organization's management account, you can delete OUs that you no longer need.

You must first move all accounts out of the OU and any child OUs, and then you can delete the child OUs.

Minimum permissions

To delete an OU, you must have the following permissions:

  • organizations:DescribeOrganization – required only when using the Organizations console

  • organizations:DeleteOrganizationalUnit

New console

To delete an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the AWS accounts page, navigate to the OU that you want to delete and perform one of the following steps:

    • Choose the radio button next to the OUs name, and then on the Actions menu, under Organizational unit, choose Delete.

    • Choose the name of the OU to go to its Details page, and then choose Delete.

  3. To confirm that you want to delete the OU, enter its name, and then choose Delete.

    AWS Organizations deletes the OU and removes it from the list.

Old console
Important

We redesigned the AWS Organizations console to make it easier to use. Starting on May 7th, 2021 the old console will no longer be available. We recommend that you switch to the new console and use the procedures in the New console tab instead.

To delete an OU

  1. Sign in to the AWS Organizations console. You must sign in as an IAM user, assume an IAM role, or sign in as the root user (not recommended) in the organization’s management account.

  2. On the Organize accounts tab, navigate to the OU that you want to delete and choose the check box next to its name.

  3. At the top of the page, choose Delete.

  4. AWS Organizations deletes the OU and removes it from the list.

AWS CLI & AWS SDKs

To delete an OU

You can use one of the following commands to delete an OU: