Manage administrators for a site collection

There are three administrative roles in the SharePoint Online service administration.

  • The Global administrator    as Administrator of the Office 365 portal can manage service licenses, users and groups, domains, and subscribed services. In Office 365, a Global administrator is also a SharePoint Online administrator.

  • A SharePoint Online administrator    as Administrator of the SharePoint Online Administration Center can create and manage site collections, designate site collection administrators, determine tenant settings, and configure Business Connectivity Services and Secure Store, InfoPath Forms Services, Records Management, Search, and User Profiles. In Office 365, a Global administrator is also a SharePoint Online administrator.

  • A Site collection administrator    has administrator permissions to manage a site collection. A site collection can have several administrators, but only one primary administrator. The SharePoint Online services administrator should assign permissions to the primary site collection administrator when creating a site collection and can add more administrators for the site collection afterwards.

Note: There is an additional, but separate, administrative role called Term Store Administrator. A Term Store Administrator can add or change terms in the term store (a directory of common terms you want to use across your organization). To learn more, see Assign roles and permissions to manage term sets.

When creating a site collection in SharePoint Online for all Office 365 plans other than Office 365 Small Business, a Global Administrator or SharePoint Online Administrator designates a primary site collection administrator. It’s a good safeguard to designate one or more site collection administrators as backups, just as it’s a good practice to have a secondary Global Administrator available inside Office 365. See these articles for more on administrators and permissions.

In this article

Add or remove site collection administrators on the SharePoint Admin page

Add or remove site collection administrators while in your Team Site

Add an administrator to the Site Collection Administrators list

Add or remove site collection administrators on the SharePoint Admin page

To change the primary administrator or to add or remove site collection administrators in SharePoint Online, do the following:

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.

  3. In the left navigation, under Admin centers, choose SharePoint.

  4. Hover over the site collection you want to add an administrator to and click the check box to the right. You may only see the checkbox on the site collection you're currently hovering over.

    SPO Selecting a collection from within the site collection list
  5. Click Owners then Manage Administrators.

  6. Change the name in the Primary Site Collection Administrator box, or add or remove names in the Site Collection Administrators box.

    Site administrator dialog box.
  7. Click Check Names Check Names button to verify that the user names are valid.

  8. Click OK.

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Add or remove site collection administrators while in your Team Site

If you are a site collection administrator, you can add site collection administrators through the Team Site. This works in any version of SharePoint Online.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.

  2. At the top of the page, click SharePoint (formerly Sites). Or, select the app launcher Office 365 app launcher icon , and then click the SharePoint tile.

    Office 365 navigation options O365 tile menu with Sites highlighted
  3. Select Team Site.

  4. On the Team Site, click Settings Gear shaped settings button and then Site Settings.

    Choose Settings, Site Settings
  5. Under Users and Permissions click Site collection administrators.

    Site collection administrators highlighted under users and permissions
  6. Add or remove names in the Site Collection Administrators box, and then click OK.

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Add an administrator to the Site Collection Administrators list

If you are a Global Administrator or a SharePoint Online Administrator in SharePoint Online in Office 365 plans other than Office 365 Small Business, you must add your user name account to the Site Collection Administrator list on the SharePoint admin center page before you can add other site collection administrators via the Team Site. If you are a Global Administrator or SharePoint Online Administrator and you add yourself as a site collection administrator, performing this action is known as taking ownership of a site.

  1. Sign in to the online portal using an account with SharePoint Online Administrator or Global Administrator (of Office 365) permissions for your organization.

  2. Go to the Office 365 admin center.

    Select the app launcher, and then select the Admin tile
  3. In the left navigation, under Admin centers, choose SharePoint.

  4. Select the check box next to the site collection where you want to add an administrator.

  5. Click Owners then Manage Administrators.

    SPO Site administrator owners button with Manage Administrators highlighted.
  6. In the dialog box that appears, add the Global Administrator or site collection administrator account or accounts that you require to give access to the site. When the accounts are successfully validated, click OK to save the changes.

Now you’re ready to test viewing or modifying permissions.

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