Q I keep separate admin and regular user accounts on my MacBook Pro. Whenever I try to
sudo in Terminal from the regular user account, I see a message complaining that this user is not in the
sudoers file. Should I add that user account to the
sudoers file, and if so, how?
sudo, the shell command that executes commands as the ‘superuser’ root, is governed by a special configuration file that sits at /private/etc/sudoers.
By default, non-admin users can execute very few commands under the authority of
sudo, and to get full benefit from it, you need to be logged in as an admin user. This is a good security measure, and you should think long and hard before you give a non-admin account such power.
You can read more about this by typing
man sudo into Terminal, where you will also see that you need to take special measures to edit the
sudoers file. Log in as the admin user, open Terminal,
su root there, then type
visudo to edit
sudoers using standard
vim commands. Further details are at
man visudo and
Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 26 issue 20, 2010.