User management

Users are people who can log in to create and manage content in your knowledge base. Learn how to set up and manage users in KnowledgeOwl.

What is a user?

A user is someone who can log in to the backend of your KnowledgeOwl account to create and edit content, customize settings, or view reporting. Users are your admins and authors, and they are different than the people who can view your content, who we call readers.


Add a user

Users who are full account admins can add new users under Your Account > Users. If you do not have any available users, you can upgrade your trial or account under Your Account > Account to add more.

When you add a new user, an invitation email will be sent and it includes a temporary password. When the new user first logs in to KnowledgeOwl, they will be asked to update their password.


User login type

By default, users are created with self-administered usernames and passwords. This means that, even when you have SAML/SSO enabled for your knowledge base overall, KnowledgeOwl will store a password for each of your users and allow them to log in using that username/password combination via https://app.knowledgeowl.com/login.

If you would like to prevent this alternate login and force your users to authenticate using SAML/SSO, for each user, change their Login Type from "Self administered username and password" to "SAML login via knowledge base":

This setting basically says: "If the user tries to log in normally (using https://app.knowledgeowl.com/login), don't let them use their username/password and send them to the SAML login page for the KB I choose instead."

This setting does not need to be enabled for your users to be able to log into the application via SAML.


Note: if you set a user to SAML login via knowledge base and your SAML/SSO has an issue, your users will be locked out of KnowledgeOwl. Most customers keep username and password self-administered so that their users have an alternate way to log in in cases of issues with SAML/SSO. Generally only customers with very strict security requirements enable this option.

Edit users and permissions

Users with full account admin access can manage all users under Your Account > Users. The Users page displays all users and permissions along with the date of their last login through the KnowledgeOwl login page. Last login date is not updated when a user chooses to remain logged in using "Keep me logged in" or when they log in through the knowledge base as a reader.



User permissions

KnowledgeOwl has four levels of user permissions:

  1. Admin Rights
    Users with Full Account Admin permissions can perform all actions in your account, including adding new users; managing user permissions; creating and deleting API keys; updating account and billing information; creating and managing readers, groups, and reader settings; and cancelling your account. Users can be optionally be given Admin access to readers – which allows them to create and manage reader, groups, and reader settings –  without the other Full Account Admin actions.
  2. Knowledge Base Roles
    You can specify what role a user has for each knowledge base in your account. KnowledgeOwl has two default roles, Editor and Writer, as well as the ability for you to create Custom Roles to further restrict what actions different users are able to perform in your knowledge base.  A user with no access will not see the knowledge base.

    An Editor can perform all actions in a knowledge base, including customizing any setting. A Writer does not have access to customize settings but can perform any action related to creating and editing content. You can review the Excel and Word files that show the exact permission breakdown in the available custom role permissions.

    To further restrict what actions a user can perform, create a custom role.

  3. User Teams
    You can control which users are able to edit what content using User Teams. When you create a User Team, you can restrict editing access for categories and articles to the team. Only users who are part of the team will be able to edit restricted articles, or articles within a restricted category.
  4. Reader Groups
    You can control which users are able to see what content using reader groups. By default, all users have access to see all content. When you create a reader group, you can restrict categories and articles to that group. If you choose to restrict a user to a reader group, the user will only be able to see content that is not restricted or that is restricted to their reader group. 

Custom roles

If you need to lock down user permissions, you can create custom roles to control what actions your users are able to perform in your knowledge base. 

Users with full account admin access can create custom roles under Your Account > Users > Roles.

This will open a User Role screen where you can select the permissions you want this role to have.

Once you've finished assigning the appropriate permissions, click the Save Role button at the bottom of the screen.

Once you create a custom role, you can then assign users to the role to further restrict what actions they can perform in your knowledge base.

Use cases

As Linus grows his content creating empire, he might want to have some users who can create and edit draft articles but can't publish or delete them. This role is often called Content Contributor. These contributors would mark something as Ready to Publish but an Editor or Content Reviewer might review it before officially publishing it.

Available custom role permissions

By default, a custom role has no permissions and you choose what each role should be able to do. Here are the categories of permissions available:

  • Article permissions
    • Create any type of new article, or specify any of the four article types (create from scratch, copy existing article, create from template, or link/sync content to an existing article). 
    • Edit draft articles
    • Edit published articles
    • Create new versions of articles
    • Publish draft articles or new versions
    • Move or reorder articles
    • Delete articles
  • Category permissions
    • Create new categories
    • Edit categories
    • Move or reorder categories
    • Delete categories
  • Home page permissions
    • Edit home page content
  • Comments permissions
    • Create new comments
    • Approve submitted comments
    • Delete submitted comments
  • Glossary permissions
    • Add glossary terms
    • Edit glossary terms
    • Delete glossary terms
  • Snippet permissions
    • Add snippets
    • Edit snippets
    • Delete snippets
  • File library permissions
    • Edit files
    • Delete files
  • Tag permissions
    • Add existing tags to articles
    • Edit exists tags in the tag library
    • Add new tags
    • Remove tags from articles
    • Delete tags from the tag library
  • Admin permissions
    • Create and manage PDF and HTML exports 
    • Import content
    • Update article ratings settings
    • Update basic settings
    • Update comment settings
    • Update contact form settings
    • Update PDF settings
    • Update search settings and synonyms
    • Update security settings
    • Update style / theming
    • Update subscription settings
    • Update widget settings
  • Reporting permissions

If you'd like to document/audit custom roles, you can use one of these files:

Reset a user password

Users can request a password reset email on the KnowledgeOwl login page. Users can also change their own password under Account > My Settings.

Users with full account admin access can also reset passwords for other users. When clicking Reset Password for a user, you can choose to email user a randomly generated temporary password or assign a custom temporary password. When the user logins in with the temporary password, they will be asked to update their password.

What is the difference between an editor and a writer?

An Editor can perform all actions in a knowledge base, including customizing any setting. A Writer does not have access to customize settings but can perform any action related to creating and editing content. You can review the Excel and Word files that show the exact permission breakdown in the available custom role permissions.

To further restrict what actions a user can perform, create a custom role.

Can users share logins?

Users are allowed to share logins in KnowledgeOwl, meaning that two people can be logged in as the same user at the same time. For security reasons, we highly advise against sharing logins.