Admin Roles & Permissions

This article details the expected functionality of a portion of the refreshed Absorb LMS Admin Experience (AE). Click here to learn more about this free upgrade available to you.


Roles and Permissions are used to define what an Admin can do and see in your LMS. There are 4 Standard Roles with pre-selected Permissions, and the ability to create your own Custom Roles to suit your organization's needs. This article provides you an overview of the permissions of the Standard Roles, the creation process and options for Custom Roles, as well as tips and important notes.


Important FYI

  • In order to modify anything in the LMS, the Admin's role must include View access to that section.
  • Several Reports rely on basic view access for Users or Course Types. For example, enabling access to the Course Activity report will allow an Admin to navigate to the Report itself, and they will also need the View Online Courses permission in order to see Course data in that report.
  • Certain Admin permissions work in tandem with User Management settings. Regardless of their Permissions, Admin will still only be able to see the data that is allowed based on their User Management settings defined in their specific User Profile (Users > Edit User > Account > Admin > User Management). This can be used to your advantage to simplify Reports for Admins who do not need access to see your entire User base. For example, if an Admin was interested in their Department's course completion rates, if their User Management was set to only their Department, then they would not need to add any extra filters to the Course Activity report.

Default Admin Roles

There are four default Admin Roles available in Absorb LMS: System Admin, Admin, Instructor, and Reporter. These roles cannot be edited. They can be duplicated and then edited, however please note that the Default Roles contain a small number of hidden permissions that will also be duplicated.

Details: Default Admin Roles

The four default Admin Roles are identified in the LMS by the lock icon next to the Role name. In descending order of responsibility, these Roles are:

Name Description
System Admin A System Admin is the highest administrative position within the LMS and can manage everything, including system options in Portal Settings and impersonating other Admin in the Admin Interface.
Admin An Admin has several of the same permissions as a System Admin, but will not be able to access the Portal Settings menu or impersonate other Admin in the Admin Interface.

An Instructor can access the Admin Interface but can only access and manage a very limited selection of Reports related to adjusting Attendance and Grades for ILC Sessions.

Note: Instructors manage only the ILC Sessions for which they are a designated instructor. 

Reporter A Reporter can only view Reports, and cannot make any changes to these Reports. They cannot view content other than what is included in the Reports. A Reporter can create their own Custom Reports using Filters and save these Reports. They can also export any Report as an Excel or CSV file.


Please take a look at the Default Admin Role Permission Comparison PDF to see the difference between each Default Admin Role and what they can do in the LMS. 

Hidden Permissions

There are a small number of Hidden Permissions in Default Roles which are not available to be added to Custom Roles in the Edit Role menu. There will be no case where an account with a Custom Role that has been created from scratch has any of these Permissions as they are unavailable for selection.

For example:

  • The Instructor Role has a hidden permission called Instructor grants these hidden permissions which allow them to view and interact with the following Reports:  ILC Activity, Report, ILC Grades Report, ILC Waitlist Report, ILC Sessions Report, and Session Approval Report. These permissions are not visible in the permission overview on the Instructor's Profile and will be duplicated if this Default Role is duplicated.
  • The System Admin Role has a hidden permission called Impersonate Admin Users which grants the ability for them to impersonate an Admin's view of the Admin Interface. This permission is not visible in the permission overview on the Instructor's Profile and will not be duplicated if this Default Role is duplicated.

  Important Note

The default Admin and System Admin roles are intended to provide access to new functionality and features upon release.

In the future when new functionality is added to the LMS, the default Admin and System Admin roles may have new permissions enabled automatically.

Please be aware of this when you assign these default roles to your users. If you want to control access to new functionality as it becomes available, we recommend creating custom roles for your users.


Navigate to Duplicate Role.gif


Custom Admin Roles

Beyond the four Default admin Roles outlined above, if you are a System Admin then you can create Custom Admin Roles. This can be useful for filling a niche where tweaking the Default Roles would better meet your organization's needs. Custom Roles can be created by selecting the Add New Role option in the Roles Report or can be created by editing a duplicated Role.

Details: Custom Admin Roles

There are a wide variety of Permissions available. Custom Roles can be created by following these steps:

Step 1: Navigate to the Roles menu from the Users tab on the left.

Step 2: Select Add Role from the Actions Menu on the right, or select a Role and then select Duplicate Role from the Actions Menu. These actions will open the Add or Edit Role menu respectively. The options are the same regardless of if you are creating or editing a Role.

Step 3: Select the Permissions that you would like to give this new Custom Role and then Save.

Navigate to Add Role.gif


When creating a Custom Role, it is useful to consider what the people who will have this Role do in your organization. For example, it may be reasonable to provide an HR Representative View & Modify User Permissions but restrict their Permissions in other areas.

The following chart outlines the sections of Permissions, with default sections marked by an * asterisk. Non-marked sections are available if you have access to the corresponding add-on module.

Permission Section Description

In this section you will select which Course related features an Admin can View, Modify, or Delete. 


  • The General permission checkbox must be selected (checked) for the course type permission set to allow the Role to create new Online Courses, Curricula, or Course bundles.
  • ILC Course and Session permission sets are grouped separately. This allows admins to establish different levels of access to different Roles.

In this section you will select which User data related features an Admin can View, Modify, or Delete. This section also includes permissions which allow Managing Administrators, Viewing Private Fields, and Impersonating Learners.


  • System Admin are able to impersonate other Admin in the Admin Interface. This is a hidden field and that cannot be copied and only System Admin can have this access.
  • For more information on Admin and Learner Impersonation, please read the User Impersonation article.
Engage In this section you will select with elements of the Engage module an Admin can View or Modify.
Manage* In this section, you will select if Admin can View or Modify Message Templates, Tags, Files, Translations, FAQs, and Course Credit Types.
E-Commerce In this section, you will select if an Admin can View Transactions and View or Modify Coupons. Other aspects of the E-Commerce module are configured through your Portal Settings and therefore can only be managed by a System Admin. 
Reports* In this section, you will select which Reports an Admin can view. View access will allow them to change filters and export the data. They will only be able to see the data that is allowed based on other related Role permissions and their User Management settings defined in the specific User's Edit User menu. 
Special* In this section, you will select if an Admin can see certain Help & Support options.




Was this article helpful?
13 out of 22 found this helpful