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UPDATE 1

I made a mess about the groups and viewing access levels and tried to rectify that error. I don't think I changed any of the original text, only added information, but if you want to see the original question, it's in the edit history.

I just had a new idea and will post a new question. Since the two are closely related, I will post the link to that question in the comment to this one.


Here are my user groups:

public
- guest
- manager
| - Administrator
- registered
| - author
| | - editor
| | | - publisher
| - custom1
| | - custom2
| | | - custom 3
- super user

And here are my Viewing Access Levels

Level Name   User Groups Having Viewing Access
----------   ---------------------------------
Public       Public
Guest        Guest
custom1      custom1
custom2      custom2
custom3      custom3
Registered   Administrator, Manager, Registered, Super Users
Special      Administrator, Author, Manager, Super Users
Super Users  Super Users

then I made an article and set access to custom1. When I log in as either one of the custom groups, I can view the article. When I log in as Administrator or even as Super User, I cannot see the article. I would have expected to have access to just anything as a super user, also on the front end of the website.

I found this article on templatemonster.com to disagree with my assumption. Specifically,

The user can do any action on the site.

Yay!

However, Access Levels can still be assigned to control what this group sees on the site.

Oh.

Do I really have to individually grant the super user viewing access to each level so that super user can view articles on the website? If I do that for each individual higher-than-public user group, that will mess up the "Viewing Access Levels" screen and make it illegible when I have more than a dozen access levels. Is there a sensible solution to this or is that really the intended functionality?

Suppose I want managers and admins and authors and publishers and whatnots to be able to at least be able to view everything on the website.

If I have to set the user groups to each viewing access level, my access levels would (have to, I think,) look like this:

Level Name   User Groups Having Viewing Access
----------   ---------------------------------
Public       Public
Guest        Guest, Manager, Author, Super Users
custom1      custom1
custom2      custom2
custom3      custom3, Manager, Author, Super Users
Registered   Administrator, Manager, Registered, Super Users
Special      Administrator, Author, Manager, Super Users
Super Users  Super Users

I mean, yeah, it's more logical, one could argue, but I find it to be messy, especially if I choose to make many different user groups and access levels pertaining to these groups.

Just a thought: I imagine there should be some kind of check-box in some user setting so I can go to user settings for Administrator and check the box "Can view anything on the front end" and do the same for super users. This way, I wouldn't have to grant the Administrator and the Super User viewing access to "Publisher" and "custom3" viewing access levels. This would make for a cleaner Viewing Access Levels screen.

Please feel free to edit the question tags if they don't fit the question.

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    What does your View Access Levels tree look like? Given you said "then I made an article and set access to custom1" makes me think you have a View Access Level also called custom1. It is that entry that you need to also tick the Super User and Admin groups. – Irata Sep 10 '20 at 9:06
  • @Irata thanks for the comment. Question updated to reflect that omittance – thymaro Sep 10 '20 at 18:26
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    IMHO the default set up of the User Groups and the View Access Levels in a hierarchical structure that mirror each other leads to a lot of confusion to how ACL works with Joomla. Because this is the structure you have the answer to this question has already been provided by webchum. – Irata Sep 11 '20 at 0:28
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User Group is for grouping users. Viewing Access level is to define what a User Group can access.

So, everytime you create a new User Group you need to link that new group to an Viewing Access Level.

Oppositely, when you create a new Viewing Access Level, you need to assign a User Group to that new Viewing Access Level, so then any item created with that new Viewing Access Level can be accessed by users under the assigned User Group.

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