List Azure AD role definitions

A role definition is a collection of permissions that can be performed, such as read, write, and delete. It's typically just called a role. Azure Active Directory has over 60 built-in roles or you can create your own custom roles. If you ever wondered "What the do these roles really do?", you can see a detailed list of permissions for each of the roles.

This article describes how to list the Azure AD built-in and custom roles along with their permissions.


  • AzureADPreview module when using PowerShell
  • Admin consent when using Graph explorer for Microsoft Graph API

For more information, see Prerequisites to use PowerShell or Graph Explorer.

Azure portal

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select Azure Active Directory > Roles and administrators to see the list of all available roles.

    list of roles in Azure portal

  3. On the right, select the ellipsis and then Description to see the complete list of permissions for a role.

    The page includes links to relevant documentation to help guide you through managing roles.

    Screenshot that shows the "Global Administrator - Description" page.


Follow these steps to list Azure AD roles using PowerShell.

  1. Open a PowerShell window and use Import-Module to import the AzureADPreview module. For more information, see Prerequisites to use PowerShell or Graph Explorer.

    Import-Module -Name AzureADPreview -Force
  2. In a PowerShell window, use Connect-AzureAD to sign in to your tenant.

  3. Use Get-AzureADMSRoleDefinition to get all roles.

  4. To view the list of permissions of a role, use the following cmdlet.

    # Do this avoid truncation of the list of permissions
    $FormatEnumerationLimit = -1
    (Get-AzureADMSRoleDefinition -Filter "displayName eq 'Conditional Access Administrator'").RolePermissions | Format-list

Microsoft Graph API

Follow these instructions to list Azure AD roles using the Microsoft Graph API in Graph Explorer.

  1. Sign in to the Graph Explorer.

  2. Select GET as the HTTP method from the dropdown.

  3. Select the API version to v1.0.

  4. Add the following query to use the List unifiedRoleDefinitions API.

  5. Select Run query to list the roles.

  6. To view permissions of a role, use the following API.

    GET$filter=DisplayName eq 'Conditional Access Administrator'&$select=rolePermissions

Next steps