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Users are a fundamental entity in Liferay. If your portal requires people (even just a set of site administrators) to have an account that they sign into to do anything in the portal, you need to know about users. If your users are at all divided hierarchically, like into departments, you might find Organizations helpful. See the article on organizations for more information.

Whether or not you’ve ever used Liferay before, you’re probably not surprised to hear that Users are managed in the Control Panel’s User section. If it were any different, it’d be weird.

For the Lunar Resort example portal that we’re developing, consider what you’d do if

  • an employee leaves the company to join that pesky competitor, Martian Resort and Luxury Spa.
  • an employee joins the resort as a new Mechanical Crew member.
  • an employee is promoted from Crew Supervisor to Department Head, and needs the requisite permissions within Liferay Portal.
  • you need to organize the users by department.
  • a new department is added to the Lunar Resort and the employees need their own internal website.
  • an employee gets married, and their name changes.

The user tasks listed above are all resolved in the Users and Organizations section of the Control Panel.

What are Users?

In case there’s any confusion over the term, a User in Liferay is an entity that can sign into the portal and do something. Generally a User has more privileges, called Permissions, than a Guest of your site, who does not sign in. Users are assigned a Role (the Power User Role by default), and a Role is what defines the user’s privileges.

Understanding users is pretty straightforward. So how do you, the administrator, add users to the portal?

Adding Users

As the Lunar Resort Administrative user, you can add Users to the portal.

  1. From the Product Menu, click Control PanelUsersUsers and Organizations.

  2. In the Users tab, click the Add button (icon-add.png.


    Figure 1: Add Users from the Users and Organizations section of the Control Panel.

  3. Fill out the Add User form and click Save. At a minimum, provide a Screen Name, First Name, Last Name, and Email Address for the User.

    You’re on the Details page of the Add User form at this point. To the right, there’s a navigation pane where you can continue configuring the user you’re adding by clicking either Organizations or Personal Site.

Once you save the form, the User is added to the portal.


Figure 2: At a minimum, enter a screen name, email address, and first name to create a new user account.

After you submit the form, the page reloads with a success message. An expanded form appears for editing the user’s account (see all the new categories in the navigation pane to the right of the form?). This allows you to fill out a lot more information about the user. You don’t have to fill anything else out right now. Just note that when the user account was created, a password was automatically generated. If Liferay was correctly installed and a mail server was set up (see here), an email message with the user’s new password was sent to the user’s email address. This, of course, requires that Liferay can properly communicate with your SMTP mail server.

If you have not set up a mail server, you can click the Password link to access the Password section of the Add User form to manually set a password for your new user. Enter the new password twice.


Figure 3: Enter the password twice to manually set the password for a user. If the Password Policy you’re using is configured to allow it, select whether to require the user to reset their password the first time they sign in to the portal.

If you haven’t yet set up a mail server, use this page to change the default password for your user account to something you can remember. Clicking on the Password link in the navigation pane on the right opens the Password section of the Add User form. Enter the new password twice and click Save.

Adding an Administrative User

What if you are just setting up the Lunar Resort portal for the first time, and you’re using the default administrator account, the account of one of those famous Liferay Administrators, Test Test or her cousin, Joe Bloggs? Since you’re the administrator of the Lunar Resort portal, you want to set up your own administrator account for the portal. Use the steps above to add a user with your information, then give your user account the same administrative rights as the default administrator’s account, click the Roles link in the right navigation pane. This page of the form shows the roles to which your account is currently assigned. You should have one role: Power User.

Assign the Administrator role to our user account. On the form for editing a user, after having clicked on Roles at the right side of the screen, click the Select link under Regular Roles. A dialog box pops up with a list of all the regular (portal-scoped) roles in the portal. Select the Administrator role from the list. The dialog box disappears and the role is added to the list of roles associated with your account. Don’t forget to click the Save button which is at the bottom of the blue bar of links on the right side of the screen. You are now a portal administrator. Log out of the portal and then log back in with your own user account.

Next, let’s look at some other aspects of user management.

Editing Users

If you click on Users and Organizations in the Control Panel, you’ll see your own user’s account in the list of users, along with any others. If you want to change something about a particular user, you can click the Actions button (the vertical ellipsis icon) next to that user.

  • Choosing Edit takes you back to the Edit User page where you can modify any aspect of the user account including the screen name, email address, first name, last name, site and organization memberships, roles, etc.

  • Choosing Permissions allows you to define which roles have permissions to edit the user.

  • Choosing Manage Pages allows you to configure the personal pages of a user.

  • Choosing Impersonate User opens another browser window which allows you to browse the site as if you were the user. This allows you to test your user management on a user to make sure you’re achieving the desired behavior, without having to repeatedly log out of your administrator account and into the user’s account.

  • Choosing Deactivate deactivates the user’s account. The user will still be in your databse,along with all the rest of your users, but their account will be deactivated, so that they cannot sign in to the portal. If you have any deactivated users, you’ll have the option to view active portal users or inactive portal users. If all the users are active, this filtering option will not appear.


    Figure 4: You can choose whether to view active or inactive (deactivated) portal users in the users list found at Product MenuControl PanelUsersUsers and Organizations.

Note that most users can’t perform most of the above actions. In fact, most users won’t have access to the Control Panel at all. You can perform all of the above functions because you have administrative access.

User Images

Users in Liferay Portal have avatars. Administrative users can upload images in the Edit User form.


Figure 5: Upload images for user avatars in the Edit User form.

If no image is explicitly uploaded for a user’s avatar, a default image is assigned, using the initials of the user (First Name then Last Name) over a random color.


Figure 6: If Johannes Bach was a user in your Liferay Portal instance, his default avatar might look like this.

For many locales, the default approach for generating user images is perfectly suitable. For some locales, though, the default user image is misleading or confusing. For example, there are locales where the order of the initials is reversed (Last Name then First Name), and there are locales where the use of one character of the first name and one character of the last name produces meaningless results to the reader (especially languages not based on the Latin alphabet). If that’s true for your locale, disable the inclusion of users’ initials in the default avatars. Just enter


in a portal-ext.properties file placed in your Liferay Home folder. Once you restart Liferay Portal, the new default images will be used to generate user avatars.


Figure 7: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s default avatar, after disabling the use of user initials.

Learn how to take advantage of more localization strategies by leveraging language settings.

Next, learn about collecting users in organizations.

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