PowerShell Script: Add user as Site Collection Admin to all sites in Web Application




A few days ago I had a request from one of the SharePoint team. Could we give him Site Collection Admin rights to all site collections in a web application.

Now one method would be to use a Web Application User Policy (see below) and give them the full access permission.


However, we didn’t want to take that approach.

So we looked at using a PowerShell script. The important point was that we did not want to assign the permission using the Owner or SecondaryContact properties of the SPSiteobject. Instead we just wanted to add the user as the site collection admin.

When using the user interface this is achieved by doing the following:-

  • Browse to the site collection
  • Click Site Settings
  • Click Site collection administrators (Under Users and Permissions)
    • Add the user to the list and click OK.
      After a bit of investigation using PowerShell I could see how this permissions was set.



So to the solution, how is a user configured as a Site Collection Admin?

Well it turns out that its based on the following property, SPUser.IsSiteAdmin. Site Collection Administrators have the IsSiteAdmin property set to true.


Once that information had been understood, then the script was relatively easy and the following script was created:-

	[Parameter(Mandatory=$true, HelpMessage='username in format DOMAIN\username')]
	[string]$Username = "",
	[Parameter(Mandatory=$true, HelpMessage='url for web application e.g. http://collab')]
	[string]$WebApplicationUrl = ""


Write-Host "Setting up user $Username as site collection admin on all sitecollections in Web Application $WebApplicationUrl" -ForegroundColor White;
$webApplication = Get-SPWebApplication $WebApplicationUrl;

if($webApplication -ne $null)

foreach($siteCollection in $webApplication.Sites){
    Write-Host "Setting up user $Username as site collection admin for $siteCollection" -ForegroundColor White;
    $userToBeMadeSiteCollectionAdmin = $siteCollection.RootWeb.EnsureUser($Username);
    if($userToBeMadeSiteCollectionAdmin.IsSiteAdmin -ne $true)
        $userToBeMadeSiteCollectionAdmin.IsSiteAdmin = $true;
        Write-Host "User is now site collection admin for $siteCollection" -ForegroundColor Green;
        Write-Host "User is already site collection admin for $siteCollection" -ForegroundColor DarkYellow;

    Write-Host "Current Site Collection Admins for site: " $siteCollection.Url " " $siteCollection.RootWeb.SiteAdministrators;
	Write-Host "Could not find Web Application $WebApplicationUrl" -ForegroundColor Red;

The PowerShell script accepts the following parameters:-

  • -UserName – the user to add as a site collection admin (DOMAIN\username)
  • -WebApplication – the URL to the Web Application that should be updated

The script tries to get resolve the Web Application. The script then runs through each site collection in the web application and ensures that the user can be found in the site collection.

If the user is not already a site collection admin then the property is updated and the user object is saved.

The script is not perfect and could have a bit more exception handling, for example the Get-SPWebApplication call does not check the return value.


Anyway the link to the PowerShell script is below (just rename the file extension from .txt to ps1):-


SharePoint Development: Speed up development with Visual Studio CKSDEV Keyboard Shortcuts


Firstly if you are not using the CKSDEV Visual Studio extensions for SharePoint. Then please do yourself a favour and download them NOW!

Wes Hackett and the team have been doing an amazing job to save us time when developing SharePoint solutions.

You can download the Visual studio extension via Visual Studio’s gallery.

Keyboard Shortcuts

I have to say that I was a little late to the 1.2 release which I updated to in November even though it was out in August! Anyway this release is the best yet for SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2012. Finally it includes a SharePoint solution deployment profile to update/upgrade your solutions. Finally, I can throw away my version!

Anyway, I noticed that there were lots more keyboard shortcuts (I am pretty sure these have been there for a while) but I wanted to start making use of them as it really makes life much easier.

Fortunately the CKSDEV development team have a strategy for the shortcut conventions so remembering them is made a little easier.

To recycle a process then the two stage shortcut will always use Alt+R

To attach the debugger to a process then the two stage shortcut will always use Alt + A

So here are the shortcuts which I use the most:-

  • Recycle SharePoint Application Pools
    • Alt+R, A
  • Recycle SharePoint Timer Service
    • Alt R. T
  • Attach debugger to SharePoint Application Pools
    • Alt A, S
  • Attach debugger to SharePoint Timer Service
    • Alt A, T

    This makes life so much easier when you are in the code, debug, fix, code, debug, fix cycle!