Linux How To List Users: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you use Linux, you might want to know how to list all the users on your system. It’s a simple process that can be done with a few commands in the terminal. After reading this overview, you’ll have a good idea of how to see all the users on your Linux machine.

Step by Step Tutorial: Linux How to List Users

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to know that when you list users in Linux, you’re essentially asking the system to show you all the accounts that have been created. This can be useful for various reasons, such as managing permissions or just keeping track of who has access.

Step 1: Open the Terminal

Open your Linux terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or searching for ‘terminal’ in your applications menu.

The terminal, also known as the command line or shell, is where you’ll input the commands to list your users. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to interact with your computer in a more direct way than using a graphical interface.

Step 2: Enter the Command to List Users

Type in cat /etc/passwd and press Enter.

This command outputs the contents of the /etc/passwd file, which is where user account information is stored. Don’t worry, it doesn’t reveal any passwords; it just shows usernames along with some other user account details.

Step 3: Review the List of Users

Look through the output to see the list of users.

Each line in the output represents a user, and the first part before the colon is the username. You might see some users that you don’t recognize, but these are often system accounts that are necessary for different services and applications to run properly.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully listed all the users on your Linux system. It’s a quick and easy process that can give you insight into who has access to the computer.

Tips: Linux How to List Users

  • Use the less command to make the list easier to read. You can do this by typing cat /etc/passwd | less.
  • To search for a specific user, you can use the grep command. For example, cat /etc/passwd | grep username.
  • Remember that some users are created for system processes and may not represent actual people.
  • If you’re looking for information on a single user, you can use the id command followed by the username.
  • Keep in mind that only an administrator or a user with sudo privileges can modify user information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I see the passwords for the users listed?

No, the /etc/passwd file does not contain actual passwords. For security reasons, passwords are stored in an encrypted format in a separate file called /etc/shadow, which is not accessible to regular users.

Is it possible to list only active users?

Active users are typically those who have logged in recently. You can see who is currently logged in by using the who command.

What if I want to see additional details about the users?

You can use the getent command to get more comprehensive information about user accounts. For example, getent passwd will show you similar information to the cat /etc/passwd command, but it also includes users from network-based authentication services.

Can I list users in a graphical interface instead of the terminal?

Yes, some Linux distributions have graphical user management tools that allow you to see and manage users without using the terminal.

How can I add or remove users from the list?

To add a user, you can use the adduser command, and to remove a user, the userdel command. Both of these actions typically require administrator privileges.


  1. Open the Terminal.
  2. Enter the command cat /etc/passwd.
  3. Review the list of users.


Listing users in Linux is a straightforward task that can be done with a simple command. It’s a fundamental skill for any Linux administrator or power user, as it helps you understand who has access to your system. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can quickly and easily list all the users on your Linux machine.

As you become more familiar with the Linux operating system, you’ll discover that many of the tasks you need to perform can be done through the terminal. It’s a powerful tool that might seem intimidating at first, but with practice, it becomes second nature. Remember, the terminal is your friend, and knowing how to use it effectively can save you time and make you a more proficient Linux user.

If you’re interested in learning more about managing user accounts, exploring user permissions, or just deepening your Linux knowledge, there are plenty of resources available online. Whether you prefer reading tutorials, watching videos, or even taking a course, there’s no shortage of information to help you on your journey.

So, go ahead and list those users! Who knows what you might discover about your Linux system?

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy