20 Users and Collaborators

For the latest updates to this resource, check out its chapter in our Pressbooks User Guide

One feature in Pressbooks is the ability to work with collaborators, such as editors, co-authors and publishers, on your book.

In this chapter, you’ll learn:

  • About user roles in Pressbooks
  • How to give collaborators access to your book by adding a user
  • How to assign them appropriate roles and permissions for your needs
  • How to share a book with a large group of readers


User Roles in Pressbooks

There are several levels of roles in Pressbooks: Subscriber, Contributor, Author, Editor, Administrator. Here’s what each of those types of users can do (assuming they are logged in):


Manage Users/Settings

Add/Edit Posts

Publish Posts

Delete Posts

Read Posts

Comment (if enabled)

Administrator Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Editor No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Author No Only their own Only their own Only their own Yes Yes
Contributor No Only their own No No Yes Yes
Subscriber No No No No Yes Yes

You can also choose whether all users can view chapters set to ‘Private’, or if they will be limited to Administrators and Editors. To do so, go to “Settings” –> “Privacy” and choose your preferred option.

How to Add a Collaborator to Your Book and Assign Permissions

  • Click on Users.
  • Select Add New.
  • Two options will appear: You can add an 1) existing Pressbooks user or 2) someone who does not have an account yet.
  • To add an existing Pressbooks user, use the Add Existing User form. Enter their email and assign them a role using the dropdown. Then click Add User.
  • To add a user who is not already using Pressbooks, scroll down to the Add New User section. Give the user a username and a role and enter their email in the box provided. Then click Add New User.
  • In both instances, the user will be sent an invite email to your book. 
How to add a new user in Pressbooks
How to add a new user in Pressbooks

How to Manage Users and Change Permissions

Sometimes you’ll want to change user permissions or delete users from your book. Here’s how to change collaborators’ status.

To find a user:

  • Click on Users.
  • Select All Users.
  • This will show you all users on a given book.
  • If you have lots of users and need to change a particular collaborator’s status, you can use the search box to Search Users.
All Users screen in Pressbooks
All Users screen in Pressbooks

To change a user’s role:

  • Select the checkbox next to the user’s name.
  • Use the down arrow next to Change Role To.
  • Click the appropriate role (see Step 1, above).
  • Hit the Change button to apply the change.
  • The user’s new permission level will be reflected in the Role column.

To remove all users:

  • Click on the checkbox next to the Username column.
  • That will select all users.
  • Click the down arrow next to Bulk Actions.
  • The option to remove all users will appear.
  • Use the Apply button to remove all users.

You can also add a user from this screen:

  • Select the red Add New button.
  • This will take you to the Add New User screen.
  • Follow the steps in Step 1 above.

Sharing with a Group of Readers

If you want to share your book with a large group of readers but still keep it private, it can be impractical to add each individual reader as a Pressbooks user. Instead, you may want to make your book public, but add a password to each page, so only those you share the password with will be able to see the content. There is currently no global option for this feature, so it does need to be done on a chapter-by-chapter basis, but once implemented requires no further effort.

  1. Create or go to your chapter.
  2. Find the “Publish” box on the right-hand menu.
  3. Next to “Visibility”, click on “Edit”.
  4. Select “Password Protected” and enter password (NOTE: this should be the same for all chapters).
  5. Publish or update your chapter.
  6. Set your book to Public globally (at the top of the “Text” –> “Organize” screen).

Now, when a reader goes to your book, they will see the web landing page, and each chapter will look like this:


Reader view of a password protected chapter
Reader view of a password protected chapter

Readers simply need to enter the password you give them, and they will have access to that chapter, and all others in the book that have the same password.

NOTE: If you are employing this method, be sure to check that any chapters you want to remain hidden are set to “Private” individually. By applying the “Public” setting globally, all chapters not password protected or set to “Private” will be visible to anyone online.


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Pressbooks for EDU Guide by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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