Customizing ArcGIS Online Administrative and System Emails

02-23-2021 09:22 AM
Status: Open
New Contributor II

In large institutions with significant ArcGIS Online user base, administration of accounts can be a daunting task. While SSO can solve some of the problems with provisioning accounts, providing Tier 1 support and communicating with the users in a consistent manner remains a challenge. To aid with this, we have created knowledge base support articles and various other content that 2000+ users in our organization can refer to for help, or be directed appropriately for personalized assistance.

Automated emails from AGOL often undermine these processes, as they are not consistent or customizable. I hereby propose that Esri should consider reviewing how these emails are configured, or even better, allow further customization by the AGOL organization administrators.

Please consider the following examples of the current automated emails:

(Email received by the new user)

<Logged in Administrator / Inviter Name> has invited you to join an ArcGIS Online Organization, <Organization Name>

Please click this link to finish setting up your account and establish your password to join the organization, <Organization Name>: 

This link will expire in 14 day(s).

Note that your account has already been created for you with the username, <Username>

If you have difficulty signing in, please contact <Logged in Administrator / Inviter Name> (<Logged in Administrator / Inviter Email>). Be sure to include a description of the problem, the error message, and a screenshot.

For your reference, you can access the home page of the organization here:
https:// <Organization Name> 

Experience what's possible with ArcGIS Online. For free hands-on lessons and other resources, visit Learn ArcGIS.

This is an automated email. Please do not reply.


(Email received by the user after requesting a password reset)

Hello <Name of AGOL User>,

You recently requested support concerning your ArcGIS password. Click the link below to create a new password. This link is valid for 60 minutes starting from when you requested assistance.

You will first be prompted to answer your security question. You will then be able to create and confirm your new password. If you have any problems or questions, please contact your administrator(s), <Admin Contact 1 Name> (<Admin Contact 1 Email>) or <Admin Contact 2 Name> (<Admin Contact 2 Email>) . If you did not request this change, or if it was unintentional, you can disregard this message. Your password will remain unchanged.


The ArcGIS Accounts Team

This is an automated email. Please do not reply.


In the first example, the Logged in Administrator / Inviter is the administrator performing the addition of a new user account. This is similar to other administrative functionality, such as enabling Add-on licenses, or enabling Esri access. By default, the user receives an email that said administrator has made a change to their account, and to contact them directly for assistance.

However, in the second example, the user is directed to contact the listed "Administrative Contacts" which may or may not be the same as Logged in Administrator.

So, what's the issue, you ask?

Based on the current configuration, users in our organization are seeking us (admins) out via email or phone for assistance with account, licensing, generic GIS questions, etc. instead of following the established workflows (such as submitting a ticket to IT support) or utilizing the myriad of self-help articles that we've created which answer a lot of the trivial account and licensing related questions. Receiving these emails with contradictory information further confuses the end users.

A potential workaround to this would be to use a generic (e.g., group, shared) AGOL account as the Administrative Contact, and potentially parsing the submitted inquires from users into proper IT Support tickets, or redirecting them (via auto-reply) to proper workflows and knowledge base articles. However, this would also require our team of admins to share a generic login to AGOL to perform administrative actions (so that the email - see Example 1 - would specify the Administrative Contact information). As we all should know by now, use of generic/shared accounts is strongly discouraged both by Esri and your IT security teams.

Potential Solutions

Ideally, the email communications from the system would be fully customizable. Being able to provide links to the relevant online content, contact information besides email (phone numbers, social media links, support centre chat) would be extremely helpful.

Failing that, it would be great to be able to provide Administrative Contact(s) that are not necessarily AGOL accounts - like a generic IT email that is already set up with auto-responses or the ability to parse out the submitted content into a support ticket.

At minimum, the emails should be configured so that the "please contact your administrator(s)" line always provides the Administrative Contact information, instead of the Logged in Administrator.

Thank you for your consideration. If others have come up with solutions or workarounds to this, please share.








@dgugolj Totally agree.  I was just researching this today and came across similar requests from 3 years ago.  The advice from ESRI at that time was to submit it as a Idea 😞


Fully support customizable emails. This would help alleviate some of the emails that come in from students on password resets, as well as license updates.


This would be great! What I would like is to just customize a response that would put a link to our AGOL FAQs for our org. 99% of the time it's just a password reset request, but we use SSO, so it's not a password reset they need, the user just needs to know how to log in. @PeterKnoop had a great workaround, which was to create an admin user with a gmail account, then set custom reply filters on the gmail account. If "password" is in the body of the email have gmail reply back to the user with specific instructions for login. I haven't actually tried this but I've been meaning to give it a shot.


This would be VERY helpful.


I didn't see this post until after I posted mine, for the same request -- yours is much more detailed! YES to all of this; the majority of our automatic emails are for password requests, but we use enterprise logins, so it's just about us, like @SamPalmer described, referring users to the screenshots and FAQs we've prepared showing them how to log in properly. I'll have to see if we can use @PeterKnoop's workaround, just having this ability be part of AGOL would resolve a lot of issues for a lot of people. 


Yes, fully customizable emails and the ability to create and send emails to selected members or groups would be an improvement.


Additional comments Re: example #2:
A top reason to receive an email asking for Esri troubleshooting support is the AGOL users thinking they forgot their username and password. While the Esri login versus org login is confusing (maybe leave both login options expanded?), the least users and admins deserve (please!) is message customization, so admins direct users with org-centric instructions instead of advice to email the AGOL admin. Thank you for considering. 


+1 to Miriam's and OP's point! The time and effort required of admins to talk users down from misleading information they receive via AGOL system messages and emails (regarding sign-in issues, license expiry, etc.) is significant and unfortunate.