I know I have existing groups and users but I'm not sure about their association. Is there an shell command I can use to list all users or all groups and a command to list all groups/users for a specified user/group?

So something like showusers would list all users, and showgroups -u thisuser would show all the groups that have thisuser in it.

  • there is no such command. You need to script it by your self.
    – Chris
    Feb 2, 2012 at 13:25
  • how about cat /etc/passwd Jun 27, 2018 at 5:26

8 Answers 8


All users:

$ getent passwd

All groups:

$ getent group

All groups with a specific user:

$ getent group | grep username
  • I found that there is a user named speech-dispatcher that belongs to group audio (based on groups speech-dispatcher). But it is not listed under getent group command! What is the problem? Sep 15, 2015 at 3:07
  • 4
    @PHPLearner If you have another question, please post a question, not a comment.
    – EEAA
    Sep 15, 2015 at 3:08
  • +1 since this will also list users/groups not found in the conventional /etc/passwd & /etc/group files i.e. when a system is configured to use central directories such NIS and LDAP, or any other alternative user/group database, as long as that supports user/group enumeration.
    – HBruijn
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:57
  • 1
    This will not return all users and groups in an ldap or sssd config if enumeration is turned off. Mar 21, 2018 at 13:46

List users and their groups:

for user in $(awk -F: '{print $1}' /etc/passwd); do groups $user; done

List groups and their users:

cat /etc/group | awk -F: '{print $1, $3, $4}' | while read group gid members; do
    members=$members,$(awk -F: "\$4 == $gid {print \",\" \$1}" /etc/passwd);
    echo "$group: $members" | sed 's/,,*/ /g';
  • 2
    While that would probably work, it seems a bit overly complicated, doesn't it, when there are perfectly good simple one-shot commands to do this?
    – EEAA
    Jan 31, 2012 at 4:41
  • It certainly wouldn't get anything that lives in a centralized repository. And that's definitely information that you'd want to see.
    – Magellan
    Jan 31, 2012 at 23:50
  • Excellent very helpful, it would be better to mention that they are seperate commands.
    – Mian Ahmad
    Feb 13, 2017 at 13:30

If you dont care about remote users such as LDAP or NIS, to list users and their associated groups in a simple way:

cut -d: -f1 /etc/passwd | xargs groups


root : root
myuser : root www-data fuse 
anotheruser : anotheruser   cdrom floppy audio dip video plugdev scanner bluetooth netdev
  • 2
    This has the same problem as Chang's answer in that it ignores users/groups originating in databases such as LDAP, NIS, etc.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 19, 2017 at 6:25
  • This very neatly outputs the information in an incredibly clear format though, so can still be a useful first step. It helped jog my memory regarding the syntax of /etc/group and /etc/passwd! Nov 22, 2017 at 21:55

List all users

cut -d':' -f 1 /etc/passwd


awk -F ':' '{print $1}' /etc/passwd

While cat /etc/passwd shows all users (and a bunch of other stuff), cut -d ':' -f 1 is a simple way to split each line with ':' as a delimiter and extract just the first field (users). Pretty much the same as awk version.

List all groups

cut -d':' -f 1 /etc/group


awk -F ':' '{print $1}' /etc/group

Guess what, very simmilar to listing users. Just parse /etc/group instead.

Another interesting way, maybe closer to what OP wanted, is compgen. Not sure about compatibility issues though.

compgen -u
compgen -g
  • 3
    Hi Elliot Baily, welcome to Server Fault! Please note that this question is over 5 years old, and already has a correct and accepted answer. Also note that your solution only works if users are stored in /etc/passwd; the accepted answer also works for other user databases (such as NIS or LDAP). If you want to answer old questions (which is perfectly fine!) you might want to have a look at the list of unanswered questions - plenty of questions looking for some love!
    – marcelm
    Sep 24, 2017 at 19:25

Use getent passwd{1000..60000} to list only manually added users. See: https://linuxize.com/post/how-to-list-users-in-linux/

for user in $(getent passwd {1000..60000} |awk -F: '{print $1}');
    groups $user; 

for debian

cat /etc/passwd # show all users
cat /etc/group # show all groups
cat /etc/passwd | grep group # show all users with specified group
  • 3
    In contrast with the already accepted this does not list users/groups that originate from a remote user database such as LDAP, NIS etc....
    – HBruijn
    Nov 30, 2016 at 11:38

Like this:

sudo cat /etc/gshadow |grep group
sudo cat /etc/gshadow |grep username
  • 1
    No. /etc/gshadow doesn't contain group members (/etc/group does) and the accepted answer from 4.5 years ago is much more general anyway, as it also handles remote groups.
    – Sven
    Sep 2, 2016 at 20:33

Use this command to get all the group and users in that particular group.

grep '
> ' /etc/group

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