Groups have two main functions in Ensembl accounts:
At present there are no open groups that you can just sign up to - you need to be invited to join a group by the administrator. However you can create your own group.
If you are invited to join a group, you will receive an email containing a link to the Ensembl website. Just log into your account, go to the account home page and click on the "Groups" tab. The name of the group should be listed there, but you will not become a member until you click on the "Accept" link to accept the invitation. If you are not already registered with Ensembl, you will be taken to the registration page so that you can create an account.
Creating a new group is simple - just click on the "Create a new group" link on the "Groups" tab on your account home page. Then type in a meaningful name for your group and (optionally) a short description, and save it. Your group will now be listed on the "Groups" tab, with a link to a page where you can manage group membership and shared settings.
Once you have created at least one group, you will be able to share any of your bookmarks, notes and view configurations with that group. Click on the "Share" link to the right of a saved setting on your account home page, and you will get a list of all the groups you have created. Select the group you want to share this link with, then save. [Note that you can only save one shared setting at a time - if you want to share a bookmark, etc. with more than one group, you have to save each one separately.
Note also that sharing an item copies it to the group's settings, rather than linking it to the group. This means that changes to your personal settings will not affect the group copy and vice versa.
You can share your group settings with other Ensembl users by inviting them to join your group. Go to the group management page and click on the "Invite" tab, then enter the person's email address. They will receive a message inviting them to join your group (and if they are not already signed up, a link to the Ensembl registration form).
The mixer allows you to show any combination of individual or group settings on your account home page. Note that the mixer does not appear until you are a member (or administrator) of at least one group.
The default option for the mixer is one dropdown list that shows settings from one group, your personal settings, or everything, If you want to display a combination of settings (e.g. you belong to three or more groups and want to display only some of them), click on the "Add" link on the righthand side of the mixer to add another dropdown box. Now you can select two different groups and display both sets of settings. Click on the "Delete" link to get rid of these extra dropdown lists - note that this does not delete the settings from the group!
You can edit and delete shared settings from the group management page, just as you would from your account home page. IMPORTANT: if you edit or delete a setting on the group page, this will not affect the original item that you saved in your account. Similarly, if you edit or delete an item from your account, it won't affect the copy belonging to the group.