About access levels

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Access levels grant or restrict access to select web portal features. This is in addition to permissions granted through security groups which provide or restrict specific tasks. Access levels enable administrators to provide their user base access to the features they need and only pay for those features.

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When you add a user or group to a team or project, they're automatically granted access to those features supported by the default access level and those supported by the security group to which they are added. Most users can access most features by being assigned to the Basic access level and Contributors security group. For a simplified overview of the permissions assigned to the most common groups—Readers, Contributors, and Project Administrators—as well as the Stakeholder access group, see Permissions and access.

To add user accounts or groups to specific access levels, see Manage users and access. Make sure to set each user's access level based on what you've purchased for that user.

To add user accounts or groups to specific access levels, see Change access levels. Make sure to set each user's access level based on what you've purchased for that user.

Supported access levels

You assign users or groups of users to one of the following access levels:

  • Stakeholder: Provides partial access, can be assigned to unlimited users for free. Assign to users with no license or subscriptions who need access to a limited set of features.
  • Basic: Provides access to most features. Assign to users with an Azure DevOps Server CAL, with a Visual Studio Professional subscription, and to users for whom you are paying for Azure Boards & Repos in an organization.
  • Visual Studio subscription: Assign to users who already have a Visual Studio subscription. The system automatically recognizes their subscription and enables any other features that are included, based on their subscription level. If you assign Basic or Stakeholder, they also receive their Visual Studio subscription benefits upon sign-in.
  • Stakeholder: Provides partial access, can be assigned to unlimited users for free. Assign to users with no license or subscriptions who need access to a limited set of features.
  • Basic: Provides access to most features. Assign to users with an Azure DevOps Server CAL, with a Visual Studio Professional subscription, and to users for whom you are paying for Azure Boards & Repos.
  • Basic + Test Plans: Provides access for users who have a monthly Test Manager subscription, Visual Studio Test Professional, or MSDN Platforms subscription. Azure Artifacts is also included.
  • VS Enterprise: Provides access to premium features. Assign to users with a subscription to Visual Studio Enterprise.
  • Stakeholder: Provides partial access, can be assigned to unlimited users for free. Assign to users with no license or subscriptions who need access to a limited set of features.
  • Basic: Provides access to most features. Assign to users with a CAL or with a Visual Studio Professional subscription.
  • VS Enterprise: Provides access to premium features. Assign to users with a subscription to Visual Studio Enterprise.
  • Advanced (legacy access level, to be deprecated): Provides access to premium features. Only assign to users with a subscription to MSDN Platforms or Visual Studio Test Professional.
  • Stakeholder: Provides partial access, can be assigned to unlimited users for free. Assign to users with no license or subscriptions who need access to a limited set of features.
  • Basic: Provides access to most features. Assign to users with a CAL or with a Visual Studio subscription.
  • VS Enterprise (TFS 2017.1): Provides access to premium features. Assign to users with a subscription to Visual Studio Enterprise.
  • Advanced (TFS 2017): Provides access to premium features. Only assign to users with a subscription to MSDN Platforms or Visual Studio Test Professional.
  • Stakeholder: Provides partial access, can be assigned to unlimited users for free. Assign to users with no license or subscriptions who need access to a limited set of features.
  • Basic: Provides access to most features. Assign to users with a CAL or with a Visual Studio subscription.
  • Advanced: Provides access to premium features. Assign to users with a subscription to Visual Studio Enterprise, Visual Studio Test Professional or MSDN Platforms.

For details on benefits each subscription provides, see Azure DevOps benefits for Visual Studio subscribers.

As the following images illustrate, Basic access includes all Stakeholder features and Advanced and Visual Studio Enterprise subscriber access levels include all Basic features. The red boxes show the features added with each access level.

Stakeholder access level

Stakeholder access level

Stakeholder access

With Stakeholder access, users can create and modify work items, and can create and save queries. They have limited access to many of the Azure Boards features. They also can view and approve release pipelines and perform some administrative tasks.

With Stakeholder access, users can create and modify all work items, and can create and save queries. They have limited access to many of the Agile tool features. They also can view and approve releases.

Public versus private feature access

Stakeholder access grants access to features differently depending on whether you're working from a private or a public project. To learn more about public projects, see What is a public project?.

Service, application, or setting Private project Public project
Dashboards Partial access Full access
Wiki Partial access Full access
Boards (Work) Partial access Full access
Repos (Code) No access Full access
Pipelines (Build and Release) Full access Full access
Test Plans (Test) No access No access
Notifications Full access Full access
Semantic search Full access Full access
Project settings Partial access Partial access
Organization settings Partial access Partial access

Stakeholder feature access

The following features are available to Stakeholders from the web portal for both public and private projects. For private projects, there are some limitations as noted. To get started as a Stakeholder, see Get started as a Stakeholder.

Feature Task Private project limitations
Boards/Work tracking:
  • View My Work Items
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Agile Portfolio Management

Private projects only:

  • Can assign existing tags to work items, but can't add new tags.
  • Can't change the backlog priority order (all items are added at the end of the backlog), and can't assign items to an iteration, use the mapping pane, or forecasting.
  • Can't set or view team capacity for a sprint.
  • Can't move cards on a board to update status, can't change the priority order, and can't set the values of fields shown on cards.
  • Can't change priority order of tasks within a task checklist.
  • Can save queries under My Queries but cannot save under Shared Queries.
Standard Features: Organization, Charts, Dashboards, Wiki, and Notifications
  • Can't view query charts from the Queries page, however can view them when added to a team dashboard.
  • Can't view markdown README files defined for repositories.
  • Have read-only permissions to wiki pages. These permissions can't be changed.
View Releases and Manage Approvals
Pipelines/Build & Release
Test summary access to stakeholder license users
Administer organization

You can restrict access to one or more of the above features by changing the permissions granted to a user granted Stakeholder access. See Grant or restrict access to select features and functions.

Feature Task
Boards/Work tracking:
  • View My Work Items
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Agile Portfolio Management
Standard Features: Organization, Dashboards, Wiki, and Notifications
View Releases and Manage Approvals
Pipelines/Build & Release
Test summary access to stakeholder license users
Administer organization

You can restrict access to one or more of the above features by changing the permissions granted to Stakeholders. See Grant or restrict access to select features and functions.

Feature Task
Work tracking:
  • View My Work Items
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Agile Portfolio Management
Standard Features: Organization, Dashboards, Wiki, and Notifications
View Releases and Manage Approvals
Pipelines/Build & Release
Feature Task
Work tracking:
  • View My Work Items
  • Agile boards
  • Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
  • Agile Portfolio Management
Standard Features: Dashboards and Notifications

Features not available to users with Stakeholder access

If a Stakeholder needs access to one or more of the following features—which support the daily work of product owners, team leads, developers, testers, and project administrators—you need to grant them Basic access.

For Private projects:

  • Change the priority of an item within a backlog
  • Delete work items or move work items to another project
  • Create shared queries, view charts, and modify the home page
  • View Delivery Plans (a Marketplace extension)
  • Access the full set of features under Pipelines (Build and Release), Repos (Code) or Test Plans (Test).

For Public projects:

  • View Delivery Plans (a Marketplace extension)
  • Access the full set of features under Repos (Code) or Test Plans (Test).
  • Change the priority of an item within a backlog
  • Delete work items or move work items to another project
  • Create shared queries, view charts, and modify the home page
  • View Delivery Plans (a Marketplace extension)
  • Access the full set of features under Pipelines, Repos or Test Plans.
  • Change the priority of an item within a backlog
  • Delete work items
  • Create shared queries, view charts, and modify the home page
  • View Delivery Plans (a Marketplace extension)
  • Access the full set of features provided under Code, Build and Release, and Test
  • Change the priority of an item within a backlog
  • Delete work items
  • Create shared queries, view charts, and modify the home page
  • View Delivery Plans (a Marketplace extension)
  • Access the full set of features provided under Code, Build and Release, and Test
  • Participate in team rooms, which capture interactive, detailed conversations about the project.

Note

Stakeholders that choose a feature that's not available to them receive an error message indicating that they don't have permissions to complete the task.

Basic access, Azure Boards and Azure Repos

In addition to the features listed for Stakeholder access, the following features are available to users with Basic access. Basic access allows users to access features provided in the Repos, Pipelines, and Test Plans hubs in addition to Dashboards and Boards.

Feature Supported tasks
Request and Manage Feedback
Chart Viewing and Chart Authoring
Code
Build
Administer account
  • Full access to manage settings
    To modify a setting, you must be a member of the corresponding security group or role: team administrator, Project Administrator, or Project Collection Administrator. Otherwise, you have read-only access to settings.
Advanced home page
Advanced backlog and sprint planning tools
Web-based Test Execution
Author Release Pipelines and Manage Releases
Advanced portfolio management
  • Define features and epics
    Full access to all portfolio backlog and board tools. Can add features and epics from the Kanban board. Can change the backlog priority order or portfolio items, and use the mapping pane to parent or reparent items.
Analyze test results and manage machine groups
Delivery Plans
Test services in build and release

Basic access

In addition to the features listed for Stakeholder access, the following features are available to users with Basic access. Basic access allows users to access features provided in the Code, Build and Release, and Test hubs in addition to Dashboards/Home and Work.

Feature Supported tasks
Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
Request and Manage Feedback
Chart Viewing and Chart Authoring
Code
Build
Administer account
  • Full access to manage settings
    To modify a setting, you must be a member of the corresponding security group or role: team administrator, Project Administrator, or Project Collection Administrator. Otherwise, you have read-only access to settings.
Advanced home page
Advanced backlog and sprint planning tools
Web-based Test Execution
Author Release Pipelines and Manage Releases
Advanced portfolio management
  • Define features and epics
    Can add features and epics from the Kanban board. Can change the backlog priority order or portfolio items, and use the mapping pane to parent or reparent items.
Team rooms
Analyze test results and manage machine groups
Delivery Plans

Basic access

In addition to the features listed for Stakeholder access, the following features are available to users with Basic access. Basic access allows users to access features provided in the Code, Build and Release, and Test hubs in addition to Dashboards/Home and Work.

Feature Supported tasks
Basic backlog and sprint planning tools
Request and Manage Feedback
Chart Viewing and Chart Authoring
Code
Build
Administer account
  • Full access to manage settings
    To modify a setting, you must be a member of the corresponding security group or role: team administrator, Project Administrator, or Project Collection Administrator. Otherwise, you have read-only access to settings.
Advanced home page
Advanced backlog and sprint planning tools
Advanced portfolio management
  • Define features and epics
    Can add features and epics from the Kanban board. Can change the backlog priority order or portfolio items, and use the mapping pane to parent or reparent items.
Team rooms
Analyze test results and manage machine groups

Visual Studio subscription access

Visual Studio subscribers are entitled to Visual Studio subscription features as a subscriber benefit. When you add those users, be sure to assign them the Visual Studio subscription access level. The system automatically recognizes their subscription and enables any other features that are included, based on their subscription level.

VS Enterprise access

In addition to the features listed for Basic access, the following features are available to users with VS Enterprise access from the web portal.

Feature Supported tasks
Web-based Test Case Management
Package Management
Microsoft published DevOps Extensions
  • All Microsoft published DevOps Marketplace extensions are included for Visual Studio Enterprise, MSDN Platforms, and Visual Studio Test Professional subscribers.
Feature Supported tasks
Web-based Test Case Management
Microsoft published TFS Extensions
  • All Microsoft published TFS Marketplace extensions are included for Visual Studio Enterprise, MSDN Platforms, and Visual Studio Test Professional subscribers.

With VS Enterprise access, users have access to any fee-based, Marketplace extension published by Microsoft Marketplace extension published by Microsoft that is included for active Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers. Examples include Azure Artifacts (which is also free for 5 users who are not Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers) and Test Manager.

For TFS 2017.2 and later versions, assign VS Enterprise to those users for whom you've purchased Visual Studio Enterprise. These include a TFS CAL plus the rights to access VS Enterprise features. (For users with MSDN Platforms subscriptions or Test Professional, assign the Basic access level and the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans.) To learn more, see Assign paid extension access to users. For example, for users with Visual Studio Test Professional or Visual Studio Enterprise, assign them access to the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans.

Advanced access

Users assigned Advanced access can manage test cases when you have purchased Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans and assigned to the user accounts to gain full access to Web-based test case management tools.

Note

The Advanced access level is deprecated for TFS 2017 and later versions of TFS. Use the VS Enterprise access level only for active Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers. For MSDN Platforms and Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN subscribers needing access to Test, assign them to the Advanced access level and the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans.

In addition to the features listed for Basic access, the following features are available to users with Advanced access from the web portal.

Feature Supported tasks
Web-based Test Case Management

For TFS 2017 and earlier versions, you should assign the Advanced level to those users for whom you've purchased the full Test feature set. Here are the purchasing options:

  • Higher-level Visual Studio subscriptions: Visual Studio Test Professional, Visual Studio Enterprise, or MSDN Platforms subscriptions. These include a TFS CAL plus the rights to access the full set of Test features.
  • A paid Azure DevOps user (which includes a TFS CAL) plus the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans.

For TFS 2017.2, Assign Advanced access to those users for whom you've purchased MSDN Platforms or Visual Studio Test Professional subscriptions. These include a TFS CAL plus the rights to access Test Manager. To learn more, see Get extensions for TFS, Assign paid extension access to users.

Note

With TFS 2017.1, the Advanced access level was temporarily disabled. Updating to TFS 2017.2 re-enables it. If you are on TFS 2017.1 and have users with Visual Studio Test Professional or MSDN Platforms subscriptions, you should assign them Basic access level. In addition, you need to open Users for the project collections in which they are a member and assign them the Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans. To learn more, see Buy access to TFS or TFS Test.

Test Plans, load testing, and Marketplace extensions

Full access to Test Plans and load testing features requires VS Enterprise access. Visual Studio Test Professional plus the test features in the web portal are managed through Azure DevOps, Azure billing services, and purchase of Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans from the Marketplace.

To learn more, see Start free trials for paid Azure DevOps Services features and extensions.

Test features and Marketplace extensions

Full access to Test features requires Advanced (TFS 2017 or earlier versions) or VS Enterprise (TFS 2017.1 or later version) access. Visual Studio Test Professional plus the test features in the web portal are managed through Azure DevOps, Azure billing services, and purchase of Test Manager extension for Azure Test Plans from the Marketplace.

To learn how to grant access to an extension, see Get extensions for TFS.

What features can users access who are added to two different groups?

If a user belongs to a group that has Basic access and another group that has VS Enterprise access, the user has access to all features available through VS Enterprise, which is a superset of Basic.

Service account access

Azure DevOps Server service accounts are added to the default access level. If you make Stakeholder the default access level, you must add the service accounts to Basic or Advanced/VS Enterprise access.

Service accounts don't require a CAL or other purchase.