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User profiles

A user profile in Okta is the data record where user information is stored. A typical user profile contains information, or attributes, such as a user’s first name, last name, username, and email address. Users can be employees, customers, partners, or end-users of applications.

The default Okta user profile has 31 user attributes, which you can customize based on client requirements. Additional custom attributes can be added to the user profile to support most client user needs. Custom profile attribute types enable you to customize the user experience even more, based on your org and application needs.

You can manage user profile design and customization for your org, as well as individual user updates, from the Admin Console or using specific APIs.

See also Users, Groups, and Profiles (opens new window).

What is the Okta Universal Directory?

The Okta Universal Directory is the service that stores all the information on your users (user profiles) for your organization. Depending on the setup for your org, the Universal Directory can serve as the “single-source-of-truth” for your users.

Additionally, the Universal Directory holds app user profiles, which define the attributes that applications require from individual users. For example, one of your applications may only need to know the user’s name as one string (for example, “John Doe”) while another application may require the user’s first and last names to be separate (for example, “John” and “Doe”). Furthermore, some applications may store sensitive information, like a user’s address, while other applications do not. If you were to share the same user profile with each application, both applications would have access to data they may not need or be authorized to view. With Universal Directory, you can be sure that each application only gets the data that it needs.

The Universal Directory has a single Okta user profile for every user and an app user profile for each application. The user profile is the primary place for all user information to be stored, and the app users profile is where application-specific information is stored.

You can manage the User profiles in the Universal Directory from the Admin Console or use the User API.

You can manage the Apps user profiles in the Universal Directory from the Admin Console or use the Apps API.

User mappings

In addition to storing user profiles and app user profiles, the Universal Directory maps data from one profile to another, which keeps data synchronized between all of your applications. A common example of this action is storing a user’s first and last name in the user profile and mapping that data to an app user profile. In this way, a single change to a field in a User Profile is reflected in all the applications that map to that field.

See also About attribute mappings (opens new window)

You can manage the Universal Directory mappings between profiles using the Admin Console or the Mappings API.

User Profile types

Okta has two basic user profile types that define a user in the Universal Directory: Okta user profile type and app user profile type. The Okta user profile type is further composed of Group profile types and Custom profile types.

See About profile types (opens new window) and About custom user types in Universal Directory (opens new window)

Okta user profile type

The Okta user profile type defines the default user record used in the Universal Directory. The default user profile contains 31 attributes in accordance with the RFC System for Cross-Domain Identity Management: Core Schema (opens new window) and can also be extended with custom attributes. To manage the default user profile, use the Users API, and review the Profile object and the User object (opens new window) for further information.

Group profile type

Okta groups simplify management of multiple users of the same type. See About groups (opens new window). The Group profile itself consists of attributes, and can be defined and managed with the Groups API. See the Group object and Group attributes.

Custom profile type

The custom user profile type is based on the Okta user profile type and is used to define different types of users, for example administrators, contractors, help desk, and so on. Similar to the default Okta profile, the custom user profile type contains 31 attributes and can be extended with custom attributes. See About custom user types in Universal Directory (opens new window).

The User Types API defines and manages the custom profile types.

User profiles can only belong to one user profile type. The User object property type defines the custom user profile (or default profile) that the user is associated with.

Note: The default Profile object property userType is a user profile attribute and is not a reference to the default or custom profile type.

App user profile type

The app user profile type defines the attributes available for a user of that application in the Universal Directory. The app user profile attributes are mapped to the user profile and determines the data that can be sent to or imported from an app. Similar to user profiles, the app user profile has base attributes and custom attributes. The available custom attributes, however, are determined by the application. You can manage the app user profile type with the Apps API. Review the Application User Profile object and the Application User object for further details.

Universal Directory schemas

Many different types of data can be stored in a user profile such as strings, numbers, dates, lists, and so on. A schema is a description of what type of information is stored in a user profile. Each element in a schema is known as an “attribute” and each attribute has the following metadata or properties:

  • Data type: What kind of data is being stored. Examples include, string, number, and Boolean.
  • Display name: A human readable label to be used in User Interfaces
  • Variable name: The machine readable identifier for the attribute
  • Description: A more in-depth description of what the attribute is for
  • Enum: If the attribute value comes from a fixed list of choices
  • Attribute Length: How long the value can be, as appropriate for the attribute’s data type
  • Attribute required: If an attribute is required, Okta gives an error if the attribute isn’t included.

Schemas define every user profile type: Okta default user profile, custom user profiles, group user profiles, and app user profiles. The Schemas API manages operations for all user profiles. See User Schema object, App User Schema object, and Group Schema object.