Drupal User Roles - dummies

By Lynn Beighley, Seamus Bellamy

Drupal allows you to create new user types with permissions other than those of anonymous or authenticated users. User Roles is the term that Drupal gives these special groups of users. For example, imagine that you want to allow a group of people permission to create new articles, but you don’t want your average authenticated user to have permission to do this. The way to do this is to assign user roles to the group.

Creating roles

To create a new role, log in as administrator, and then from the Dashboard menu bar choose People→Permissions→Roles.


To create a new role, type a name for your role in the text box and click the Add Role button.

At this point, you have a new role, but it has exactly the same permissions the authenticated user role has. The example uses the Drupal Warlord role to allow people with that role permission to create articles on the site and strike fear into the hearts of anyone who would dare to use another Content Management System.

First, the new role doesn’t have any permissions, and secondly no users have been assigned to this role. To fix the first part, and modify a new role to have the right permissions, click the Edit permissions link that appears to the right of the role name. You can add the appropriate permissions here.


Although you can edit permissions for your new roles by clicking the Edit Permissions link, it’s actually better to click the People link located by default in the Dashboard menu bar. When the People overlay opens, click the Permissions tab found at the top-right of your screen.

This page lets you see all your roles and permissions at once, making it much easier to ensure your new role has the basic permissions that an authenticated user has in addition to the new permissions.

    Assigning roles to users

Users can have as many roles as you want to give them. There are two ways to give users an additional role. To assign roles, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Dashboard menu bar and click People.

    The list of your site’s authenticated users opens.

  2. Select the check box to the left of the user you are assigning the new role to.

  3. Click the drop-down list under the Update Options section and select your new role from the list.


  4. Navigate to the Dashboard menu bar and click People.

  5. Click the Edit link to the right of the username in the list.

    Because you created a new role, Drupal displays a Roles listing in the Account information section of the Edit page. Only the administrator can see this section. By default, all users are authenticated, so you can’t deselect the check box.

  6. Select the check box next to the name of your new role and click the Save button at the bottom of the page.