doveadm-acl man page

doveadm-acl — Manage Access Control List (ACL)


doveadm [-Dv] [-f formatter] acl command [Options] [Arguments]


The doveadm acl Commands can be used to execute various Access Control List related actions.


Global doveadm(1) options:


Enables verbosity and debug messages.

-f formatter

Specifies the formatter for formatting the output. Supported formatters are:


prints each line with key=value pairs.


prints each keyvalue pair on its own line and separates records with form feed character (^L).


prints a table header followed by tab separated value lines.


prints a table header followed by adjusted value lines.

-o setting=value

Overrides the configuration setting from /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf and from the userdb with the given value. In order to override multiple settings, the -o option may be specified multiple times.


Enables verbosity, including progress counter.

This command uses by default the output formatter table.

Command specific options:


If the -A option is present, the command will be performed for all users. Using this option in combination with system users from userdb { driver = passwd } is not recommended, because it contains also users with a lower UID than the one configured with the first_valid_uid setting.

When the SQL userdb module is used make sure that the iterate_query setting in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext matches your database layout. When using the LDAP userdb module, make sure that the iterate_attrs and iterate_filter settings in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-ldap.conf.ext match your LDAP schema. Otherwise doveadm(1) will be unable to iterate over all users.

-F file

Execute the command for all the users in the file. This is similar to the -A option, but instead of getting the list of users from the userdb, they are read from the given file. The file contains one username per line.

-S socket_path

The option's argument is either an absolute path to a local UNIX domain socket, or a hostname and port (hostname:port), in order to connect a remote host via a TCP socket.

This allows an administrator to execute doveadm(1) mail commands through the given socket.

-u user/mask

Run the command only for the given user. It's also possible to use '*' and '?' wildcards (e.g. -u *
When neither the -A option, nor the -F file option, nor the -u user was specified, the command will be executed with the environment of the currently logged in user.



The id (identifier) is one of:

  • group-override=group_name
  • user=user_name
  • owner
  • group=group_name
  • authenticated
  • anyone (or anonymous, which is an alias for anyone)

The ACLs are processed in the precedence given above, so for example if you have given read-access to a group, you can still remove that from specific users inside the group.
Group-override identifier allows you to override users' ACLs. Probably the most useful reason to do this is to temporarily disable access for some users. For example:

user=timo rw

Now if timo is a member of the tempdisabled group, he has no access to the mailbox. This wouldn't be possible with a normal group identifier, because the user=timo would override it.


The name of the mailbox, for which the ACL manipulation should be done. It's also possible to use the wildcard characters "*" and/or "?" in the mailbox name.


Dovecot ACL right name. This isn't the same as the IMAP ACL letters, which aren't currently supported. Here is a mapping of the IMAP ACL letters to Dovecot ACL names:

l → lookup

Mailbox is visible in mailbox list. Mailbox can be subscribed to.

r → read

Mailbox can be opened for reading.

w → write

Message flags and keywords can be changed, except \Seen and \Deleted.

s → write-seen

\Seen flag can be changed.

t → write-deleted

\Deleted flag can be changed.

i → insert

Messages can be written or copied to the mailbox.

p → post

Messages can be posted to the mailbox by dovecot-lda, e.g. from Sieve scripts.

e → expunge

Messages can be expunged.

k → create

Mailboxes can be created/renamed directly under this mailbox (but not necessarily under its children, see ACL Inheritance in the wiki).
Note: Renaming also requires the delete right.

x → delete

Mailbox can be deleted.

a → admin

Administration rights to the mailbox (currently: ability to change ACLs for mailbox).


acl add

doveadm acl add [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox id right [right ...]

Add ACL rights to the mailbox/id. If the id already exists, the existing rights are preserved.

acl debug

doveadm acl debug [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox

This command can be used to debug why a shared mailbox isn't accessible to the user. It will list exactly what the problem is.

acl delete

doveadm acl delete [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox id

Remove the whole ACL entry for the mailbox/id.

acl get

doveadm acl get [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-m] mailbox

Show all the ACLs for the mailbox.

acl recalc

doveadm acl recalc [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path]

Make sure the user's shared mailboxes exist correctly in the acl_shared_dict.

acl remove

doveadm acl remove [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox id right [right ...]

Remove the specified ACL rights from the mailbox/id. If all rights are removed, the entry still exists without any rights.

acl rights

doveadm acl rights [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox

Show the user's current ACL rights for the mailbox.

acl set

doveadm acl set [-u user|-A|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox id right [right ...]

Set ACL rights to the mailbox/id. If the id already exists, the existing rights are replaced.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs, including doveconf -n output, to the Dovecot Mailing List <>. Information about reporting bugs is available at:

See Also

doveadm(1), dovecot-lda(1)

Additional resources:

ACL Inheritance

Referenced By


2015-05-09 Dovecot v2.2