How to: Add app roles in your application and receive them in the token

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a popular mechanism to enforce authorization in applications. When using RBAC, an administrator grants permissions to roles, and not to individual users or groups. The administrator can then assign roles to different users and groups to control who has access to what content and functionality.

Using RBAC with Application Roles and Role Claims, developers can securely enforce authorization in their apps with little effort on their part.

Another approach is to use Azure AD Groups and Group Claims, as shown in WebApp-GroupClaims-DotNet. Azure AD Groups and Application Roles are by no means mutually exclusive; they can be used in tandem to provide even finer grained access control.

Declare roles for an application

These application roles are defined in the Azure portal in the application's registration manifest. When a user signs into the application, Azure AD emits a roles claim for each role that the user has been granted individually to the user and from their group membership. Assignment of users and groups to roles can be done through the portal's UI, or programmatically using Microsoft Graph.

Declare app roles using Azure portal

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select the Directory + Subscription icon in the portal toolbar.

  3. In the Favorites or All Directories list, choose the Active Directory tenant where you wish to register your application.

  4. In the Azure portal, search for and select Azure Active Directory.

  5. In the Azure Active Directory pane, select App registrations to view a list of all your applications.

  6. Select the application you want to define app roles in. Then select Manifest.

  7. Edit the app manifest by locating the appRoles setting and adding all your Application Roles.


    Each app role definition in this manifest must have a different valid GUID within the context of the manifest for the id property.

    The value property of each app role definition should exactly match the strings that are used in the code in the application. The value property can't contain spaces. If it does, you'll receive an error when you save the manifest.

  8. Save the manifest.


The following example shows the appRoles that you can assign to users.


The id must be a unique GUID.

"appId": "8763f1c4-f988-489c-a51e-158e9ef97d6a",
"appRoles": [
      "allowedMemberTypes": [
      "displayName": "Writer",
      "id": "d1c2ade8-98f8-45fd-aa4a-6d06b947c66f",
      "isEnabled": true,
      "description": "Writers Have the ability to create tasks.",
      "value": "Writer"
"availableToOtherTenants": false,


The displayName may contain spaces.

You can define app roles to target users, applications, or both. When available to applications, app roles appear as application permissions under Manage section > API permissions > Add a permission > My APIs > Choose an API > Application permissions. The following example shows an app role targeted towards an Application.

"appId": "8763f1c4-f988-489c-a51e-158e9ef97d6a",
"appRoles": [
      "allowedMemberTypes": [
      "displayName": "ConsumerApps",
      "id": "47fbb575-859a-4941-89c9-0f7a6c30beac",
      "isEnabled": true,
      "description": "Consumer apps have access to the consumer data.",
      "value": "Consumer"
"availableToOtherTenants": false,

The number of roles defined affects the limits that the application manifest has. They have been discussed in detail on the manifest limits page.

Assign users and groups to roles

Once you've added app roles in your application, you can assign users and groups to these roles.

  1. In the Azure Active Directory pane, select Enterprise applications from the Azure Active Directory left-hand navigation menu.

  2. Select All applications to view a list of all your applications.

    If you do not see the application you want show up here, use the various filters at the top of the All applications list to restrict the list or scroll down the list to locate your application.

  3. Select the application in which you want to assign users or security group to roles.

  4. Select the Users and groups pane in the application's left-hand navigation menu.

  5. At the top of the Users and groups list, select the Add user button to open the Add Assignment pane.

  6. Select the Users and groups selector from the Add Assignment pane.

    A list of users and security groups will be shown along with a textbox to search and locate a certain user or group. This screen allows you to select multiple users and groups in one go.

  7. Once you are done selecting the users and groups, press the Select button on bottom to move to the next part.

  8. Choose the Select Role selector from the Add assignment pane. All the roles declared earlier in the app manifest will show up.

  9. Choose a role and press the Select button.

  10. Press the Assign button on the bottom to finish the assignments of users and groups to the app.

  11. Confirm that the users and groups you added are showing up in the updated Users and groups list.

Receive roles in tokens

When the users assigned to the various app roles sign in to the application, their tokens will have their assigned roles in the roles claim.

Next steps