Home » Is there a command to list all users? Also to add, delete, modify users, in the terminal?

Is there a command to list all users? Also to add, delete, modify users, in the terminal?


To list

To list all local users you can use:

cut -d: -f1 /etc/passwd

To list all users capable of authenticating (in some way), including non-local, see this reply.

Some more useful user-management commands (also limited to local users):

To add

To add a new user you can use:

sudo adduser new_username


sudo useradd new_username

See also: What is the difference between adduser and useradd?

To remove/delete

To remove/delete a user, first you can use:

sudo userdel username

Then you may want to delete the home directory for the deleted user account :

sudo rm -r /home/username

Please use with caution the above command!

To modify

To modify the username of a user:

usermod -l new_username old_username

To change the password for a user:

sudo passwd username

To change the shell for a user:

sudo chsh username

To change the details for a user (for example real name):

sudo chfn username

To add a user to the sudo group:

adduser username sudo


usermod -aG sudo username

And, of course, see also: man adduser, man useradd, man userdel… and so on.

Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:

cat /etc/passwd


less /etc/passwd
more /etc/passwd

You can also use awk:awk

awk -F':' '{ print $1}' /etc/passwd

The easiest way to get this kind of information is getent – see manpage for the getent command Manpage icon. While that command gives the same output as cat /etc/passwd it is useful to remember because it will give you lists of several elements in the OS.

To get a list of all users you type (as users are listed in /etc/passwd)

getent passwd

To add a user newuser to the system you would type

sudo adduser newuser

to create a user that has all default settings applied.

Bonus: To add any user (for instance anyuser) to a group (for instance cdrom) type

sudo adduser anyuser cdrom

You delete a user (for instance obsolete) with

sudo deluser obsolete

If you want to delete his home directory/mails as well you type

sudo deluser --remove-home obsolete


sudo deluser --remove-all-files obsolete

will remove the user and all files owned by this user on the whole system.

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