Learn How to Add a User on Ubuntu

In this guide, you will be learning how you can add a new user on Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Add User

One of the first things that you should learn when dealing with a multi-user operating system such as Ubuntu is how to create a user.

Users are a crucial part of the operating system and are how you have users that have different permission levels.

For example, if you wanted someone who didn’t have access to certain things or could not install programs, you would create them their own user.

Adding a new user on Ubuntu is a straightforward process that can be done using the terminal or the GUI interface.

Throughout this guide, you will learn how to create a new user for most versions of Ubuntu. This includes the two latest Ubuntu LTS releases, Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04.

To create new users on Ubuntu you will need to either be the root user or have superuser privileges.

Table of Contents

Adding a New User Using the Ubuntu Command Line

The first method we will show you for adding a user on Ubuntu is the command line.

The command lines benefit that it is relatively quick to use, even for those using the desktop interface.

There are two separate command-line tools that we can use to create this user.

  1. The first is the “useradd” tool. This tool is slightly more complicated to use as it requires you to use more options to configure it to your needs.

    However, the tool does give you more control over how the user is created.

  2. The second tool that you can use is the “adduser” tool.

    This version of the tool is an interactive frontend to “useradd“. It makes the process of adding a user slightly simpler.

Using adduser to Create a User

For this guide on adding a user to Ubuntu, we will focus on using the adduser command.

1. Using the adduser tool, we can make a new user on Ubuntu by using the following command.

Using this command, we can create a new user using the username that you specify.

sudo adduser USERNAME

Make sure that you replace “USERNAME” with the name of your choice.

2. For example, if we wanted to create a user called “pimylifeup” we would use the following command.

sudo adduser pimylifeup

3. After running this command, you will see the following text appear in the command line.

Adding user `pimylifeup' ...
Adding new group `pimylifeup' (1001) ...
Adding new user `pimylifeup' (1001) with group `pimylifeup' ...
Creating home directory `/home/pimylifeup' ...
Copying files from `/etc/skel' ...

There are a few things that happen immediately after running this command.

It starts by creating a group with the same name as your new user. It will then create a user and assign it to this group.

After that’s completed, it will create a new home directory for the user. Finally, it will copy all files from the “/etc/skel” directory into the new home.

4. During the creation of a new user, you will be asked to set a password for this user.

When entering a password, try to make sure it is something that is secure.

New password:
Retype new password:

5. After setting a password for your new Ubuntu user, you can now enter some additional information.

If you would like to use the default value for these values (Typically blank), you can press the ENTER key.

Enter the new value, or press ENTER for the default
        Full Name []: Pi My Life Up
        Room Number []:
        Work Phone []:
        Home Phone []:
        Other []:

5. Finally, you will be asked if all the information you entered is correct.

To finish the creation of this new user, type in Y, then press the ENTER key.

Is the information correct? [Y/n]

6. At this point, you will now have successfully created a user on your Ubuntu system.

Giving Your New User Superuser Privileges

If you want to give your new Ubuntu user superuser privileges, we need to add it to the sudo group.

Adding your user to this group is as simple as using the usermod tool and running the following command.

sudo usermod -aG sudo USERNAME

Make sure that you change out “USERNAME” with the user’s name that you want to add to the group.

Using the Ubuntu GUI To Create a New User

Using the desktop interface is a straightforward way to create a new user on the Ubuntu operating system.

This section, will show steps for both the Ubuntu 18.04 and Ubuntu 20.04 desktop interfaces.

If you are unsure what version you are running, check out our guide on checking your Ubuntu version.

You will see that the desktop interfaces will allow you to create a user, set a password, and even make it an administrator. An administrator is similar to putting a user into the sudo group.

Creating a New User on Ubuntu Desktop 20.04

Let us dive into using the Ubuntu 20.04 desktop interface to create a new user.

To create users within the desktop, you will need to start by going to the settings screen.

1. To modify users on an Ubuntu 20.04 based operating system, we need to the settings menu.

Start by clicking the icons on the menu on the top-right of the screen.

Ubuntu 20.04 Click Top Right Panel

2. In the panel that pops up, you need to click the “Settings” option.

This option will bring up the settings interface.

Opening the Settings Interface

3. You now need to change to the “Users” screen by clicking the option in the left sidebar.

Sometimes you may have to scroll down to find this option.

Add User Interface on Ubuntu 20.04

4. Before we can create a new user on our Ubuntu 20.04 system, we need to unlock the interface.

Without unlocking the system, you won’t be able to add a new user.

Unlocking the Admin User Settings on Ubuntu 20.04

5. Your next option is to authenticate yourself as an administrator.

To do this, you will need to type in the password for your account (1.).

Once done, click the “Authenticate” button (2.).

Authenticate to Add a User

6. At the top of the window, you should see that there is now a “Add User...“. button.

You need to click this button to bring up the create user dialog.

Clicking the Add User Button

7. We can now set up your new user for Ubuntu 20.04 by using this dialog.

This dialog allows you to set a username, password, and full name for a user.

Add new Users on Ubuntu 20.04

1. The first thing you need to do is select the account type. You can either make this a “Standard” or “Administrator” user.

An administrator is equivalent to a superuser, be careful what users you assign this type. You should set most users to “Standard“.

2. Next, you can specify the full name of your new Ubuntu user.

The dialog will automatically use this full name to guess what you would want the username to be.

3. If the automatically generated username is not what you want, you can manually set it.

Once the user has been created, it is not possible to change this value. The home folder will also be created using this name.

4. You can decide how you want this new user’s password to be set.

You can let the user set the password, or you can set a password for that user.

5. Now, create this user by clicking the “Add” button.

8. Your new user should now be created on your Ubuntu operating system.

Using Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 To Add a New User

The Ubuntu 18.04 desktop is effortless to use to create new users.

This process is incredibly similar to that of Ubuntu 20.04, with only some slight differences.

1. Start the user creation process by clicking the icons in the top right corner.

Clicking these icons will bring up a panel that will enable us to get to the settings interface quickly.

Opening the Actions panel

2. You should now have a panel open on the top right of the screen.

To open up the settings panel, click the icon with the spanner and screwdriver.

Open Settings Interface

3. Before we can get to the user menu, we need to change to the details tab.

In the sidebar, find “Details”  and click it. You may have to scroll to find this option.

Change to the Details Tab

4. Now that we are changed to the “Details” panel, we need to switch to the “Users” tab.

Find the “Users” tab in the sidebar and click it.

Open the Users Settings Screen for Ubuntu 18.04

5. Before you can create a new user on Ubuntu 18.04, we need to unlock the advanced settings.

You can start this process by clicking the “Unlock” button on the window’s top right.

Unlock User Settings Screen

6. You now have to authenticate your administrator account to create a new Ubuntu user.

Authenticate yourself by entering the password for your account (1.).

Once you have typed in your password, you can authenticate by clicking the “Authenticate” button (2.).

Authenticate Admin User

7. Once you have authenticated your user, you can now add your new user.

Click the “Add User...” button in the top right to begin the user creation process.

Clicking the Add User Button on Ubuntu 18.04

8. Finally, we have gotten to the dialog that will allow us to add a new user to Ubuntu 18.04

This interface has a few different options that you can use to configure your new user.

1. We need to choose the type of account you want to create. The two choices you have are between making a “standard” or “Administrator” user.

Typically you should stick with making “standard” users. Administrators will have superuser privileges and can gain control of your system.

2. When creating a new user, you will need to specify a full name for the user. This text can be set to anything you want.

Ubuntu will use the text set here to suggest a username for your user automatically.

3. You can also choose the username that you want to set for this account. You are not required to use the automatically generated one.

This username can not be changed after the user has been added to your Ubuntu system. Additionally, Ubuntu will use the username to create the home directory.

4. You have two choices when making a new user. You can either let the user set their own password or select one for them.

With either option that you pick, make sure a secure password gets set for your users.

5. To finalize your user creation, you can now click the “Add” button at the top of the window.

Before clicking this button, make sure that the username is correct. That is the only value that you can’t adjust after creation.

9. You should now have your brand new user ready for use on Ubuntu 18.04.

Conclusion

At this stage, you should now understand how to add new users to your Ubuntu operating system.

We have shown you both the terminal and GUI steps for creating users.

It is a fairly straightforward process that you can complete in just a couple of steps.

After creating users, it is possible to adjust their details, such as their Ubuntu password.

If you have had any issues with creating a Ubuntu user, please post a comment below.

Be sure to check out some of our other Ubuntu guides and Linux tutorials.

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