1Password Basics: How to Use 1Password

The best 1Password tutorial to pick up the basics.
Michael Michael (115)
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You could make a whole course of study by going through page after page of the various 1Password tutorials available. That's why we wanted to make a simple guide that would introduce you to everything you need to know about 1Password (and password managers generally), while still leaving you time to actually use 1Password.

For groups, password managers become vital ways of securely sharing passwords across members...

What is a password manager like 1Password?

A password manager, like 1Password, maintains a secure vault of the many account logins and passwords that we use on the internet. 1Password has encryption features that help keep your information secure. They also make it so no longer have to remember the passwords you use for all of your accounts. You should only have to remember 1 password. Get it?

For families, teams, and businesses, they become vital ways of securely sharing passwords across members and ensuring that everyone is practicing password safety.

Why 1Password?

Great question! Check out our review of 1Password to see why we recommend it for families and businesses.

Use the table of contents below to skip ahead to the most pertinent sections for you.

1Password1Password ×1

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1Password Homepage

Choosing an account type

Here are the basics regarding each different account type with 1Password. While they seem self-explanatory, the one difference that can be subtle is choosing between a "Teams" and "Business" account.

For more information on the difference between a "Teams" and "Business" account, see our guide on getting a 1Password team account, where we detail it.

Individual Family Teams Business
$2.99/mo. $4.99/mo. $3.99/mo. $7.99/mo.
1 user 5 family members 5 limited guest accounts 20 users

Setting up the main account user

If you're the one getting the account for yourself, family, or team, then this will likely be you.

  • Head over to 1Password and choose the plan that suits you.
  • Create your team/family name and provide the email address you want to use for your account.
  • 1Password will send you a 6-digit code to verify the email on your account.
  • Enter your 6-digit code and click Next.
  • Create your 1Password Emergency Kit (see next step).
  • You should then get redirected to your new account.
1Password Emergency Kit

Master Password

The 1Password Master Password is the most important password you will ever create. So make it something memorable, while still being random and hard-to-guess. You'll need to use each time you request a password from 1Password (unless you're using biometric data).

Random Strong Password

It's impossible really to create a random, strong password on your own. Think about it. The minute you have control over it, the password becomes less random. We recommend using 1Password's random, strong password generator for this.

Filling out the Emergency Kit

Here you'll receive:

  • The email you use for 1Password.
  • Your Secret Key.
1Password Secret Key

This is the key that you will use when adding 1Password to new devices, so make sure you don't lose this Emergency Kit. - Your created Master Password space.

Print it out!

Don't lose this 1Password Emergency Kit! Print out multiple copies, and keep a safe copy somewhere you can find it.

1Password even recommends you keep a copy in your safety deposit box.

New Vault 1Password

Once you get the feel for 1Password, you'll likely want to create vaults for your various passwords.

What is a vault?

A vault is simply the storage container into which certain passwords get placed. You can set permissions on each vault if you're sharing passwords with family members or colleagues. You can also create multiple vaults.

How do I create a vault?

Add new vault in 1password

In your 1Password app:

  • Click on All Vaults.
  • Click the + New Vault icon.
  • Create a name for your new vault and select the sharing preferences.

Now, you can choose to add select passwords to your new private or shared vault.

1Password on Devices

Download the 1Password app and install the plugins on all your devices (phones, laptops, etc.) and browsers. Remember, you'll be using 1Password to secure just about everything from here on out.

1Password in App Store

Which devices?

Download and install 1Password on any device anywhere you use passwords—your desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, etc.

Does it sync across the devices?

Yes. If you save a password in your browser, for example, it will automatically be available on your phone.

Browser extensions?

1Password is available for most major browsers. Here's a guide on installing the 1Password extension on Chrome. It should work similarly for most of the major browsers.

Generate password 1password

Now you need to get all of those juicy passwords saved into 1Password, so you can start securely using them while browsing the web.

Import from a previous application

If you were previously using a different password manager, like Dashlane, or using Chrome to manage your passwords, for instance—then 1Password has made individual guides on importing that data directly into 1Password.

You should immediately change your old passwords.

Changing your passwords

If you were previously using the same password for multiple sites or using easy-to-guess passwords, then you should immediately change those passwords.

  • With 1Password active in your browser or desktop, visit the various sites for which you already use a password.
  • Follow the instructions on the site to change your password.
  • Use 1Password to generate a random, secure password to use on the site.
  • Save the password in your desired 1Password vault when prompted.

Now, you should see the password in your selected vault.

autofill password 1password

1Password can autofill your stored passwords across your devices and in your browser. When the login screen appears that can be filled:

  • You should see the little 1Password icon appear in the username and password field.
  • You'll need to activate 1Password for it to fill in your information. This is for your protection. It prevents bots from using autofill features to get access to your accounts.
  • 1Password will offer it's suggested autofill username and password.
  • Click it to autofill.

If you have multiple accounts, like more than one Google account, then 1Password will offer up multiple options from which you can choose.

Shared vault 1Password

The last basic 1Password skill that you should have if you're using a family or team account is sharing passwords and login information.

Shared vault

You need to create a shared vault into which you'll store the passwords that you want to share across your family or team.

Shared Vault 1Password

When you want to share a password with 1Password, you're essentially going to add the password to Shared Vault. There are two ways to share a password with 1Password:

  1. When you initially save the password in 1Password, you can select which vault to save it in. Choose a Shared Vault to share it with everyone who has access to that vault.
  2. If it's a password you've already saved to a Personal Vault, then you'll simply move it to your Shared Vault.

You can easily move things back and forth between vaults and even create numerous vaults for different sharing preferences. This becomes particularly useful when sharing in a Family Plan.

As I said in the introduction—this guide is intended to be an introduction to the basics of using 1Password. There are so many other cool things you can do with 1Password and features that you'll want to check out.

I highly recommend you read our comprehensive review of 1Password to learn more about all of the features includes in a 1Password account.

And I'll also point you to this short introductory video from 1Password that shows you some other basics: