User Distinctions: External & View-Only


The people of your organization that you add to your intranet will generally be known as your intranet’s “users”. However, there are a couple of distinctions you can make if you want to include people outside of your general organization as users of your intranet as well.

NOTE—System Admins can find the following options on the forms when creating a new user or editing an existing user in  Admin Settings > User accounts and data (see images below)



An External distinction can be given to a user to indicate someone outside of your organization. Someone who is not one of your regular employees, but who is part of a team or committee, or is in some other way involved with your organization. For example, a trusted consultant, or a contract employee.


They will appear in People along with everyone else on your intranet, but with one added feature. An orange triangular user badge will appear on their photo and on their Profile card to indicate their external status relevant to your org.



NOTE—for System Admins, if you have someone who is not actively involved in your organization that you want to include as a user for informational reasons (for example, board members, advisors, or even businesses or prominent customers), you can make them an External non-participating user.

To do this, create a Profile for the user, but then do not send out an invitation for them to activate their account. This way, the user will still be shown in People (with only public information available on their Profile), but will not have access to your intranet and will not be involved in or made aware of any activity on your intranet.



A View-Only user is essentially a silent observer of your intranet. This would generally be a distinction suited for someone who is not involved in your organization in any way.

View-Only users do not appear in People, cannot be searched for or receive email notifications and cannot be added to a Team, Discussion, or Direct Message. They can navigate and view certain content on your intranet, but do not have permissions to create content, comment, post, vote or take any other user actions.


A recommended use for a View-Only user would be as a dummy account that can be provided to guests of your organization so they can take a “tour” of your intranet without disrupting any of its content or ongoing activity.

NOTE—it's also possible for System Admins to limit an external user to View-Only status, as the two options are independent of one another on the user forms.



There is another user type, but it is not tied to an actual person. An Automation user is an account created specifically for setting up third party integrations via API. You can learn more about Automation users here.


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  • 0
    Hui Huang

    For View Only Contributors, can they see whole people & teams? I would like them not able to see our community people matrix since they are not formally members yet. Will that work?

    For potential members in our community, I would like to allow them to view contents, but also able to "like" them so that I can track whether certain contents work for certain prospects or not. In this case, it looks like I cannot use "view only contributors". Am I able to track view count?

  • 0
    Brad Palmer

    View Only Contributors behave exactly like regular Contributors, they just cannot add any content. They cannot Like, Comment, etc., since they are not identified people.

    You can restrict what View Only Contributors can see in the the normal way. For example, you can assign them to a Location and then publish things that only that Location can see.

    There is a pending feature request for a new type of View Only account that includes the ability to Like. It's here:,

    Also note there are also External Contributors. There is a feature request pending relating to restricting what External Contributors can see here:

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