Roles in Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a comprehensive content management solution for building websites, mobile apps, and forms. It is part of Adobe’s suite of Marketing Cloud products, used by organizations to create, manage, and optimize customer experiences. One of the critical features of AEM is the concept of “Roles,” which is central to managing and controlling user access to various assets and operations within AEM. This article delves into the concept and significance of roles in AEM.

Key Takeaways

  • Roles in AEM are crucial for controlling user access to resources and operations.
  • They incorporate principles of Role-Based Access Control (RBAC).
  • There are standard roles in AEM, but they can be customized according to an organization’s needs.
  • Roles work in tandem with permissions and groups for effective user management.
  • Understanding and implementing roles effectively can enhance security and streamline content management.

What are Roles in AEM?

In the context of AEM, roles are predefined sets of permissions that determine what tasks a user can and cannot perform within the system. Simply put, roles are used to categorize users based on their responsibilities and authority within the organization. In essence, roles are a part of Adobe’s strategy to implement Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), a widely-accepted approach to manage user permissions in a system.

Importance of Roles in AEM

Roles in AEM are crucial for several reasons:

  1. Security: By defining roles, organizations can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and functions within AEM.
  2. Operational Efficiency: Roles help streamline operations by ensuring users only have access to tools and data necessary for their tasks, reducing clutter and confusion.
  3. Scalability: As an organization grows, managing individual user permissions becomes a daunting task. With roles, it’s easier to manage access rights for a large number of users.

Standard Roles in AEM

AEM provides several standard roles out of the box, each with a specific set of permissions. Here are some of the key standard roles:

AdministratorHas access to all the resources and operations in AEM.
Content AuthorCan create, edit, and delete content but cannot perform administrative tasks.
Content ApproverCan review, approve, or reject content created by Content Authors.
Site VisitorCan only view published content and cannot modify any resources.

Custom Roles in AEM

While the standard roles cater to most needs, AEM also allows for the creation of custom roles. Custom roles can be tailored to suit unique requirements of an organization, ensuring more precise control over user access. The process involves defining a new role and assigning it a set of permissions that align with the responsibilities of the user group it represents.

Roles, Groups, and Permissions

Roles in AEM do not operate in isolation. They work in tandem with “Groups” and “Permissions.”

  • Groups: AEM users can be grouped based on their roles. For instance, all content authors can be placed in a group, and this group can be assigned the ‘Content Author’ role.
  • Permissions: The activities that a role can perform are defined by permissions. For example, the ‘Content Author’ role might have permissions to create and edit content but not to delete it.

Implementing Roles Effectively

Effective implementation of roles in AEM involves a few key steps:

  1. Identify various user responsibilities in the organization and map them to appropriate roles.
  2. Define clear and precise permissions for each role.
  3. Assign users to roles based on their responsibilities.
  4. Regularly review and update roles and permissions as necessary.


Understanding and effectively implementing roles in AEM can significantly enhance content management, operational efficiency, and security within an organization. Whether using the standard roles provided by AEM or creating custom roles to meet specific needs, roles are a powerful tool in the arsenal of any AEM user.

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