Permissions in Business Central

Giving a user a permission allows them to perform an action in the system. At its simplest, the topic can be broken into three bitesize chunks: Permissions, Permission sets and User Groups. Permissions in Business Central determine what actions can be performed and by whom. Permission Sets are combinations of permissions bundled together. User Groups are users of the system, clustered together, typically by role. The reason I listed these three is that the way in which permissions can be configured is multitudinous.


Effective permissions

The Effective Permissions page contains a list of all the permissions the user has, any permission sets applied and for which company these apply. You can reach this by either searching for ‘Effective Permissions’ in the search bar or going to the ‘Users’ page, clicking the ‘…’ and clicking the ‘Effective Permissions’ page.

By navigating through to a user's Effective Permissions, you will be able to see the permissions and permission sets the user is a part of, for each company.

This page gives you a complete overview of permissions for any given user. This isn’t where you amend permissions or change which sets apply to which users or user groups.

The above is all one image, found on the Effective Permissions page.

Recording permissions

You can record or amend permissions by using recording functionality. You press a button to record, then perform the actions and once finished, click ‘Stop’.

Go to the Permission Sets page and click ‘New’. Next, click ‘Permissions’, ‘Record Permissions’ and ‘Start’. At this stage, the system is monitoring your subsequent actions. You’re using this to map out what actions you wish a user or user group to be able to do by doing it yourself. When you are finished, click ‘Stop’. This saves the need for knowing which permissions to apply and which not to. It’s a visual alternative for those who prefer a hands-on approach to mapping user roles.

Permissions can be time consuming to set up. They are often left to the end of an implementation and then forgotten. However, please resist the temptation to make everyone Super otherwise all users can access and edit anything they like.

Once you have covered everything you wish this user or user group to be able to do, go back to the ‘Permissions’ page and click ‘Stop’. Next, click ‘yes’ to add these permissions to a set.

Amending permissions

Users can’t delete or create Business Central permissions. However, they can amend them. You want users to be able to ‘insert’, ‘modify’ or ‘delete’ records in the tables. If you look above at the previous image, it shows you how the layout for this looks.

For all of these dropdown menus, the values are: blank, ‘Yes’, and ‘Indirect’. Indirect means permission only through another object. For a better understanding on how ‘Indirect’ works, read this piece from Microsoft. If the field is empty, the permission set does not have authority to perform that action.

Permission sets

The Permission Sets page provides a long list of either standard or custom-made sets of permissions. This is a defined list of permissions all grouped together. This saves the user having to attach lots of individual permissions each time.

These are examples of default permission sets in Business Central.

Most of those in the list are there as standard but users have the option to make them too. If you click ‘new’ in the top left corner you can create a Line, fill in the basic ‘Code’ and ‘Description’ fields and then click ‘Permissions’ at the top and choose the permissions you want to include in the set.

These are the permissions part of the D365 ACC. PAYABLE permission set.

Grouping people together can be useful where you have groups of people with similar roles who you want to only be able to do certain things. For example, people who manufacture items will have permissions to deal with things related to manufacturing but not related to sales orders or financial setup. Of course, where someone requires every permission, make sure that user is given the SUPER permission set.

You can’t simply add a singular permission to a user without it being part of a set. This set may only have one permission but the fact there’s a set validates it. You could have this set added to a singular user, or a user group. However, it can never be just a permission added to a user or user group.

Assigning a permission set to an individual user

Although you can’t assign individual permissions to users, permission sets are different. In instances where an individual has quite a niche role and warrants different permission sets to any existing user groups, permission sets can be added to solely that user. Fortunately, you can have one permission in a set so you can essentially assign individual permissions to users. In reality, you can make the scope as broad or narrow as you like. To achieve this, go to the Users page, highlight the line with relevant user and click ‘…’, followed by ‘Edit’. On the User Card, you can add, delete or amend the user groups and permission sets that apply to the relevant user.

User groups

The two main goals when using User Groups is adding users and adding permission sets.

Adding users to user groups

To add users to a user group, go to the User Groups page. Next, highlight the relevant user group line. Click ‘Members’ and ‘Add Users’. Finally choose which users you wish to be members of the group.

Adding permission sets to user groups

On the User Groups page, highlight the relevant line and then click ‘Permissions’ at the top. This will allow you to add as many lines of permission sets as you like for that user group.

1. User Groups page
2. User Groups Permission Sets
3. Permission Sets

Permission Set by User Group

In addition to that method, you can apply permission sets to user groups by clicking ‘Permission Set by User Group’. To reach this, go to the User Groups page, click ‘Related’ and ‘Permission Set by User Group’. This is a simple tick box way of doing it.


User by User Group

This screen gives a quicker means of applying users to different user groups, utilising a tick box system. Instead of you adding a permission set to a user, it can often be quicker to create the user group and add the relevant permission sets. Then afterwards, assign which users should be a part of this group.

Copying user groups

In the User Groups page, select the user group which you want to copy and click ‘Copy User Group’. You then fill out the ‘New User Group Code’ field with the name for the group. Once you’ve done this, you will have your copy and you can amend the user group freely.

Closing comments

Permissions in Business Central are a highly flexible means of controlling the power each user has on the system. With this in mind, hopefully this post has been helpful!

Workflows are another great way of controlling how users utilise the system. We produced a guide on workflows previously to assist users. Feel free to give that a read. By all means contact us if you have any questions or enquiries.

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