Privacy Settings, Availability and Passwording


There are two levels of privacy settings in Pressbooks:

  • Global privacy setting: Choose whether your entire webbook is Private or Public
  • Chapter-level privacy settings: Choose whether an individual chapter displays in the webbook

Each of these settings controls if, when, and how your book is displayed to the public. They can also affect what is visible to book collaborators with certain user roles, which you can read about in more detail in Users & Collaborators.

Global Privacy Settings

The global privacy setting affects whether or not readers can access your webbook on Pressbooks. You can set your book’s global privacy to private or public:

  • Private books can only be accessed and viewed by the administrator of a book and the users that the administrator has added to the book. Setting a book’s global privacy to private overrides chapter-level privacy settings.
  • Public books can be accessed by anyone. When a book’s global privacy is set to public, you can adjust the chapter level privacy to control who sees what content.

There are two places to set the global privacy for your book:

  • The Organize page
  • The Sharing & Privacy page

The Organize Page

Most users will visit this page more often. In order to access your global privacy setting here:

  1. Click Organize on the left-hand menu of your book’s dashboard
  2. Select “Public” or “Private” in the Global Privacy box at the top of the page
  3. Your choice will be immediately reflected in your webbook.
This is a snapshot of the organize screen portion showing the button controls to make a whole book public or private
Use the radio buttons to make your book public or private

Chapter-level Privacy Settings

Whereas global privacy settings apply to your whole book, you can use chapter-level privacy settings to control who has access to individual chapters within that book.  Your chapter-level privacy setting can be set while your book is private but will only apply when your book is public.  Chapter privacy settings can be extended all types of exports as well as to the webbooks.

There are two places to control the privacy setting for a chapter:

  • The Organize page
  • The chapter editor interface

The Organize Page

You can access the chapter-level privacy setting for all chapters at once from the Organize page. If you are creating export files you can also change that setting.

To modify this setting:

  1. Go to Organize from the left sidebar menu of your book’s dashboard
  2. Find the Show in Web column for a specific Part, or for the Front Matter or Back Matter
  3. Check the box for each chapter that you want displayed to the public in your webbook
The screen shows the controls for determining whether a chapter is visible in the webbok and/or other exports
NOTE: You can select or deselect all chapters to show in web by clicking “Show in Web” at the top of the column of whichever Part you are modifying.

The Chapter Editor Interface

You can also modify the “Show in Web” setting from inside the chapter editor interface. This may be more convenient for users who are actively editing a chapter rather than modifying all chapter privacy settings at once.

To access this setting:

  1. Access a chapter of your book in Pressbooks
  2. Find the Status & Visibility box to the right of the chapter editor
  3. Select or deselect the “Show in Web” box according to your preferences
  4. Click Save
Screen shot of a chapter editor page with the box for changing visibility and status in the right corner

Requiring a Password

You can use the Password Protection setting to limit access to individual chapters in your public webbook while still allowing the public to access the book itself.

Users may choose this option in order to give access to a large group of individuals for pre-release or peer review before a webbook is made public. Some of our users use the passwording feature to provide access to quiz or testing materials to instructors who otherwise do not have editing permissions

Passwording can be found within the Status & Visibility box.  Upon clicking on the password box, you may enter a password of your choice.


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University of Arkansas OER Style Guide Copyright © 2023 by Lora Lennertz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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