Who sees what: customizing permissions and privacy settings in Teamwork Projects

Posted by: Emma Ross /

We built Teamwork Projects to help you and your team be more productive, and we love hearing about how you use our software to Get Things Done. (We really do!)

That’s why we’re bringing you this blog series: to highlight some of our hardest-working features that you might not have heard about yet, and let you know how they can work for you and your team.

Today’s topic: How to customize your Teamwork Projects permissions and privacy settings to fit your needs, from site level all the way down to a simple task.

Depending on the company, team, or project, there are almost always instances where you’ll need to lock down a specific project, task list, file or message for viewing only by a certain group of people. Maybe you’re working with sensitive information or confidential updates that can’t be shared across the team or company.

For times like these, we’ve got your back. Teamwork Projects has some of the most granular and customizable permission settings of any collaboration and work management software, so there’s lots you can do! Here’s how you can customize both permissions and privacy settings throughout Teamwork Projects so you know exactly who sees what. 👀

Psst! Looking for a quick cheat sheet on all of the different user types, in an easy-to-digest table form? Add this to your bookmarks.

Setting default permissions for new users

Teamwork Projects is transparent by design, meaning our default permission settings give new users visibility over an entire project as well as the ability to modify and update project items. But it’s really easy to set your own default permissions for new users in Teamwork Projects. Here’s how:

First, go to the top right of your profile and choose the “Settings” option. (You need to be the site owner or admin to do this bit.) Then, select the “Templates” option and scroll to “New User on Project” at the end of the page.

From here, you can set different default permissions for users in the owner company, external companies, and collaborators. You can control permissions on things like updating milestones, task lists, tasks, messages, notebooks, and links. You can also customize what new users see: for example, other users’ logged time, project updates, messages, and files.


Setting user permissions on a project

Certain projects require a bit more privacy than others, so user permissions can also be customized at a project level. If you’re a site owner, admin, or project admin, you can customize user permissions at a project level. This means you can tailor what each user on a project can modify and view.

To do this, go to the “People” section of your project, hover over the user whose permissions you’d like to modify, and select “Edit Project Permissions.”  Now you can customize their settings to suit your requirements, from setting task and milestones permissions to accessing messages and files.


If you want to make sure you haven’t missed anything, you can impersonate the user whose permissions you’re modifying to double-check that they have access to everything they should be seeing (and nothing that they shouldn’t). Here’s a really handy breakdown of default permissions and access for users and collaborators so you can better understand who can see what from the get-go.


Setting privacy on a task list

Sometimes, you might only need to restrict access to a specific task list within a project. No problem: it’s simple to set privacy on a task list so that it’s locked down for viewing only by a certain set of people.

To do this, click the drop-down arrow next to your task list name, select “Edit Task List,” and then select the “Privacy” tab. From here, you can set the privacy to a specific company or to a certain group of people. Just be aware, you cannot block owner company site admins from any task lists; that means that they can always see everything, in any project, on the site that they’re an admin for.

Once set, you’ll see a little lock next to the task list name. When you hover over this, you can see exactly who can view the task list. All tasks that are part of the task list inherit this privacy setting, so are also locked down for viewing by your selected group of people — so you don’t need to worry about the confidentiality of new tasks that you add.


Privacy can be set on all project features, like milestones, messages, files, links, tasks, and notebooks

As always, if you have any questions on setting up user permissions or adjusting privacy settings, just email us at support@teamwork.com and we’ll be happy to help.

We’d love to hear what you think. How do you use the privacy settings in Teamwork Projects? (If it’s too private to tell us, we understand.) What other features would you like to see us cover in this series? (Have you seen our first post about adding items to Teamwork Projects via email yet?) Let us know in the comments.


Keep your projects on track with Teamwork

Streamline. Connect. Collaborate.

One account works for all Teamwork apps. Have an account? Sign in here.

Emma Ross
Product marketer


Linda A

This provided so many more workable options for me! We have a team of people that can all share the same information, and then we have one assistant who has been added in order to oversee some tasks on the project.

I could still benefit from increased options on task management. Looks like she can close her own tasks, but not those of others as she has rights to view tasks and milestones. But in order to have edit task options she would need to be a project administrator.

I also want to restrict access to files and notebooks, although occasionally it would be nice if she could have access to some files or notebooks. But the majority would default to no access. So on an added file or notebook to have an option to include the excluded person if that makes sense.

But these features help so much!

Emma Ross

Hey Linda,

Great to hear you found this post useful 🙂

Given that your assistant can only close her own tasks, do you have her set up as a collaborator? If this is the case, it might be best to add her as a standard user. One thing, if you do upgrade her to a standard user, she can then edit everything about the task, you cannot give permissions just to complete other peoples tasks. Edit task permissions is all or nothing!

Here’s a link to our permissions matrix, this will help you understand the default access permitted to collaborators and standard users: https://support.teamwork.com/projects/people/understanding-user-permissions-and-access

In terms of notebooks, collaborators only have permission to view a notebook. As a standard user, she would have permission to edit notebooks. You could set notebooks that you don’t want her to see as private, this help doc will show you how: https://support.teamwork.com/projects/people/understanding-user-permissions-and-access

Collaborators do have file editing permissions but it would only be for their own files, so if she needs to be able to edit files not uploaded by herself, again she would need to be a standard user. Privacy can also be set for files, same as with notebooks you can restrict those you don’t want her to see! Our help doc will show you how: https://support.teamwork.com/projects/files/setting-privacy-on-files

I hope that helps if you have any more questions please pop us an email at support@teamwork.com and our team would be happy to run through these options with you!



Thank you for breaking that down. I appreciate the granularity. One fact was a bit of a bummer though: ”you cannot block owner company site admins from any task lists; that means that they can always see everything, in any project, on the site that they’re an admin for.” This makes sense, BUT it would be awesome if there was an option akin to Asana‘s Personal Projects that lets me manage truly private projects in the workspace.

Emma Ross

Hey Shawn,

Glad the breakdown helped. Thanks for your feedback, I’ll pass this on to the product team for review.


J-F Arseneault

What would be useful would be to provide us the ability to modify the default settings for User Preferences.

By default, we want everything unchecked, as our projects task changes/work can quickly “spam” a client.

Right now, we have to remember to change the default permissions for very new client/collaborator we add to TW Projects.

Emma Ross

Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch! I’ve send your feedback on to our product team for review.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *