I've defined a number of groups under an "Administrator" account. I expect these groups to be visible for all users under the "Manage Groups" section but they currently can't see any previously defined groups.

The users in question have the "CiviCRM: edit groups" permission and the "CiviCRM: administer reserved groups".

The visibility for each group is set to "User and User Admin only" and the groups are not marked as "Reserved".

Is there anything else that would affect a users ability to view the defined groups under "Manage Groups"?


Some additional context based on Fabian's suggestions:

Our system has two kinds of contacts:

  • Normal
  • Protected

We have two kinds of users:

  • Power user
  • Normal user

Some power users need access to protected contacts as do some normal users.

Users are either "normal users" or "power users" (roles within the CMS). Power users and normal users do not have access to "view all contacts" or "edit all contacts".

We also have a group (within Civi) called Protected User Admin. Some users are assigned to this group as well.

From an ACL point of view, I've created two smart groups:

  • Protected contacts
  • Not protected contacts (all contacts not in the above group)

Within the ACL settings:

  • Everyone is assigned access to the not protected smart group
  • Users within the Protected User Admin group have access to protected users

Everything is working as expected - except neither power users nor normal users have access to previously created groups.

Am I doing something wrong?

2 Answers 2


You have probably considered this already but the users obiously need the "Access CiviCRM" permission, as well as the permission to view contacts.

Maybe you could add some more information to your questions as well such as:

  • does admin see the groups which version of CiviCRM?
  • which CMS are you using?
  • All users can "Access CiviCRM" but they don't have permission to view contacts (which is currently being controlled by Civi ACLs). I suspect that this may be where the problem lies. So - Possibly an updated question - If I'm controlling permission to contacts via ACLs, do I have to individually grant access to each new group and smart group that is created (even if the users already have access to the contacts contained within the group)? I'm using Wordpress (4.7.3) with Civi (4.7.17)
    – TRG
    Mar 20, 2017 at 16:25

As per Allowing group management to users with limited permissions, it doesn't look like it's possible to give users access to their own groups if using ACLs.

It's possible to add a DB trigger such that a new ACL is created whenever a new group is created, but there are some major drawbacks of this approach (i.e. if a user adds a group with a restricted contact in then all users will have access to that contact).

Hopefully resolved in a future version of Civi.

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