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Connecting To LDAP

Table of contents
  1. Overview
  2. Authentication
    1. host Option
    2. base_dn Option
    3. Simple Auth
    4. Anonymous Auth
    5. Kerberos Auth
    6. NTLM Auth
  3. General Options
    1. user_identity_type
    2. string_encoding
  4. LDAP Query Options
    1. search_page_size
    2. all_users_filter
    3. group_filter_format
    4. group_member_filter_format
    5. dynamic_group_member_attribute
    6. two_steps_lookup
  5. Attribute Mapping Options
    1. user_email_format
    2. user_username_format
    3. user_domain_format
    4. user_given_name_format
    5. user_surname_format
    6. user_country_code_format
    7. user_identity_type_format


The User Sync Tool can synchronize user and entitlement group information from a variety of sources. The recommended and most common source is an LDAP system such as Active Directory.

User sync from an LDAP source is handled with the ldap identity connector. The ldap connector is configured with the config file connector-ldap.yml, which defines credentials to access the LDAP system as well as some options to customize LDAP query structures and attribute mapping.

connector-ldap.yml is one of the three core configuration files generated when using the init or example-config command.


The ldap connector supports four authentication methods. This is set with the authentication_method option.

  • simple - Authenticate with username and password. Password can be set in plain text or stored in the OS keyring securely. This is the default method if username is specified.
  • anonymous - Read users and groups without authenticating, if the LDAP server supports it. This is the default methof if username is not specified.
  • kerberos (recommended) - Relies on authenticated server login session to access LDAP securely. Read further for more information.
  • ntlm - Authenticates LDAP session using NTLM. User should be specified in the format DOMAIN\USER. Password can be set to NTLM hash instead of plaintext password.

host Option

The host option should take the form (ldap|ldaps)://[:port]. The protocol should be ldap if the connection should be plain (non-SSL). Use ldaps to force a secure (LDAP over SSL) connection.

The host domain portion should generally be the Full-Qualified Domain Name (FDQN).

The port compenent can be omitted if the server listens on the standard ports - 389 for plain connections or 636 for LDAPS.

Append the port (with a colon :) to the hostname if connecting to a non-standard port (such as the Active Directory global catalog ports - 3268/3269).


# connect to LDAPS global catalog port
host: ldaps://

base_dn Option

LDAP queries generally require a base distinguished name (DN). A DN is a type of identifier that uniquely identifies any object in an LDAP system. Because of the hierarchical nature of LDAP, a query must be rooted in a “scope” in which to search an object tree. The base_dn option sets this scope in the LDAP connector config.

In other words, the base_dn points to the root object from which to conduct an LDAP query.

For best results, this should generally be set to the root domain of the directory. For example, if the domain is then the base_dn would be set to DC=example,DC=com.

base_dn: DC=example,DC=com

It is important to note that all users and groups that the Sync Tool may query must be contained in the scope set by base_dn.

In some cases, perhaps when querying a global catalog, the base_dn may be left blank.

base_dn: ""

Simple Auth

simple authentication uses a username and password to authenticate with an LDAP server.

If username and password (or secure_password_key) are both specified, then the authentication_method option does not need to be set. The configuration system will assume you are using simple auth. You can set the method explicitly if desired with authentication_method: simple.


password: password13
host: "ldaps://"
base_dn: DC=example,DC=com

Depending on the type of LDAP server, the username may take different forms. Modern Active Directory servers generally accept the User Principal Name of the account, e.g. If that doesn’t work, the form DOMAIN\username might be accepted. Other LDAP systems may accept a plain username.

The password may be saved in plaintext. This is done at your own risk and depends on the security of the config file and server environment.

The password can be saved securely to the OS keyring (e.g. Windows Credential Manager) and referenced by the field secure_password_key. If the secure key option is specified, then the password option should be omitted. Example:

secure_password_key: my_ldap_password
# password:

See Security Recommendations for more information.

Anonymous Auth

The anonymous auth method makes the LDAP connector perform an anonymous (un-authenticated) query against the LDAP source. The server will return an error if anonymous queries are not supported. To enable anonymous queries, simply omit the username field.

# username:
host: "ldaps://"
base_dn: DC=example,DC=com

If username is omitted, then the authentication_method option does not need to be set. The configuration system will assume you are using anonymous auth. You can set the method explicitly if desired with authentication_method: anonymous.

Kerberos Auth

The kerberos authentication method uses Kerberos to use a user’s authenticated session to securely connect to the LDAP system. For Kerberos auth to work, the user account running the Sync Tool must be authenticated with the directory system specified in the LDAP connector config. Assuming the LDAP connector can find a valid ticket to provide, the LDAP connector can authenticate with the LDAP server with no username or password.

The easiest way to get this to work is to run the User Sync Tool on a Windows server and connect the LDAP connector to Active Directory. The server should be joined to the Active Directory domain and the account running the sync tool should be authenticated with the Active Directory domain controller.

If these conditions are met, then configuring the LDAP connection is simple.

host: "ldaps://"
base_dn: DC=example,DC=com

# auth method must be set here to avoid "anonymous" auth
authentication_method: kerberos

This method may work on Linux machines and/or non-Active-Directory LDAP systems. These options have not been tested.


The host may need to be changed depending on how the domain is set up. If you have trouble using the domain’s FDQN, you can find the server your system is connecting do by running this command in a Windows Command prompt:

> echo %logonserver%


Use the authentication method option ntlm to use NTLM authentication. The password field can contain either the plaintext password or the NTLM hash. Either can optionally be secured in the OS keychain and referenced with the option secure_password_key.

Note: Username should be specified in the format DOMAIN\USER.

username: EXAMPLE\User
password: "[NTLM hash]"
host: "ldaps://"
base_dn: DC=example,DC=com

General Options


The user_identity_type option can be used to override the identity_type setting in user-sync-config.yml. This can be useful if the same root configuration file is used with different identity connectors. If this option isn’t set then the identity type for user sync will be governed by the top-level identity_type setting.

Note: This setting can be overridden by user_identity_type_format.


The string_encoding option defines the character encoding used in the LDAP system.

Default is utf8.

LDAP Query Options

These options govern LDAP query behavior.


Controls the size of LDAP query pages. Default is 1000 records.


The all_users_filter setting defines the LDAP query used to query all users from the LDAP system. The default is geared at Active Directory.

all_users_filter: "(&(objectClass=user)(objectCategory=person)(!(userAccountControl:1.2.840.113556.1.4.803:=2)))"

This query filters out any object that isn’t a user account or is disabled.

A different LDAP system such as OpenLDAP may use a different query.

all_users_filter: "(&(objectClass=person)(objectClass=top))"


The group_filter_format options defines the query used by the LDAP connector to get the DN of a group for a given common name. This is a necessary step when running user sync with group mapping and processing enabled (the most common use case).

The default setting is configured to work with either Active Directory or OpenLDAP. This may need to be customized for other types of LDAP systems.

The group common name is interpolated into the query string using {group} marker.

group_filter_format: "(&(|(objectCategory=group)(objectClass=groupOfNames)(objectClass=posixGroup))(cn={group}))"


group_member_filter_format defines the query used to identify all users belonging to a given group based on the group DN. This query is used when group mapping and processing are enabled.

The default setting uses the memberOf attribute, which is specific to Active Directory. This setting may need to be customized to work with other LDAP systems.

The marker {group_dn} interpolates the DN of the group.

group_member_filter_format: "(memberOf={group_dn})"

Note: The default Active Directory query shown above will only return users that are direct members of the group. The query can be modified to include users in nested subgroups if the LDAP server supports it. Here is an example for Active Directory:

group_member_filter_format: "(memberOf:1.2.840.113556.1.4.1941:={group_dn})"

Note that this may increase the time it takes to retrieve users.


If additional_groups rules are defined in user-sync-config.yml, the dynamic_group_member_attribute option defines the attribute to use when identifying a user’s member groups. It is set to memberOf by default (which works for Active Directory).

dynamic_group_member_attribute: "memberOf"


Some LDAP systems do not support a memberOf-type group membership lookup predicate. two_steps_lookup enables a two-step group lookup workflow.

Workflow for each directory group:

  1. Retrieve group info according to group mapping
  2. Get list of users defined in group’s group_member_attribute_name
  3. Filter user list according to all_users_filter
  4. (optional) If nested_group enabled, then recurse into subgroups (if present) and repeat steps 1-3 for users belonging to each subgroup

Two-step config consists of two sub-options.

  • group_member_attribute_name - attribute of the group that contains list of group members (default: member). If this option is enabled, then the group_member_filter_format option must be disabled.
  • nested_group - if True, then recurse into subgroups. Note that this may increase the time it takes to retrieve users and groups.


# must disable (comment out) group_member_filter_format
# group_member_filter_format: "(memberOf={group_dn})"

  group_member_attribute_name: "member"
  nested_group: True

Attribute Mapping Options

This group of options govern how attributes are mapped. The most important options to look at are user_email_format and user_username_format. These attributes determine how users are identified in the Admin Console. They impact Single Sign-On for federated users and affect how users are identified for User Sync.

Each of these options use an interpolation convention to inject the value of a variably-named LDAP attribute.

For example, user_country_code_format looks like this by default:

user_country_code_format: "{c}"

The c attribute is the default country name or country code attribute in Active Directory. If a user is retrieved from the LDAP system with a c attribute of GB, then the User Sync Tool will look at the column name defined between the curly braces, get the c attribute value GB from the LDAP user record, and inject the value in the user’s country attribute, setting the user’s country code to GB.

This syntax can be used to inject multiple fields to create composite values. For example, if you want to build the username from two fields, you might do something like this:

user_username_format: "{field1}_{field2}"

This will inject the values of attributes field1 and field2 into the template string, which contains an underscore (_) as a separator. So if field1 = abc and field2 = 123 then the interpolated result would be username = abc_123

The curly-brace syntax can also be omitted for cases where a value should be hard-coded.

user_domain_format: ""


user_email_format defines the attribute used to set an Adobe user’s email address. This field can serve as a primary identifier for a user depending on the circumstances.

  • Serves as primary ID for adobeID and enterpriseID users since those users cannot have usernames that differ from email
  • On any Adobe login page, the email address determines
    • Account type availability (Personal or Company/School account)
    • The “profile picker” widget when logging with a Business ID
  • For federatedID users, the email address determines the identity provider in the IDP redirect during login flow
  • Email address is also used in any sharing or collaboration features in Creative or Document Cloud

This option is set to {mail} by default which is the default in Active Directory.

user_email_format: "{mail}"


The user_username_format option maps an Adobe user’s username field. For federatedID users, the username can be set to a different value from the email address. Note: do not set this option for adobeID or enterpriseID users. The username will always be set to the user’s email address for those types.

The username is used in the SSO login workflow. It should be mapped to the field used to populate NameID in the SAML payload.

The username can take two forms:

  • Email-type e.g. The email-type username does not necessarily need to correspond to a live email address. It just needs to resemble an email address. If you want to use email-type usernames, it is important to know that the username’s domain must be claimed to the same directory as the user’s email address. Otherwise user login will fail. For Active Directory, the suggested field to map is userPrincipalName.
  • Non-email e.g. jdoe. An alphanumeric username that may correspond to something like a user’s internal user ID or LAN login name. For this type, the Admin Console still needs to know the domain associated with the username, so the domain must be explicitly mapped using the user_domain_format option. The suggested field to map for Active Directory is sAMAccountName.

Mapping the username separately gives the UST a way to update a user’s email address.

  • The update_user_info option in user-sync-config.tml must be True (or invoke with the --update-user-info CLI option)
  • The username must not change

If those conditions are met, then the UST will keep a user’s email address up-to-date.


If you are syncing users with non-email usernames, the domain must be set or mapped in the user_domain_format field. This may be dynamically mapped to an LDAP attribute if one exists.

user_domain_format: "{domain}"

Or if such an attribute isn’t available then it can be hard-coded.

# set the domain of *all users* to ""
user_domain_format: ""

Note: If user_domain_format is enabled, then the username for all users must be in non-email format. Any user with an email-type username will fail to sync.


A user’s given name (“First Name” in Admin Console nomenclature) can be mapped with user_given_name_format.

The default value is "{givenName}" - the default attribute in Active Directory.


A user’s surname (“Last Name” in Admin Console nomenclature) can be mapped with user_surname_format.

The default value is "{sn}" - the default attribute in Active Directory.


user_country_code_format maps the user’s country code.

The User Management API requires the country code field be a valid ISO-3166-1 alpha-2 code.

The country code is important - it governs key aspects of cloud storage and service availability. It must be set for all users, but assignment may be deferred depending on user type.

  • For adobeID and enterpriseID, the country code can be set to UD to mark the country “undefined”. Users with UD country codes will be prompted to specify their own country code upon login.
  • Country code is required for federatedID users and cannot be set to UD.

By default, the LDAP connector looks at the c field, which is the default country attribute for Active Directory. AD does not place any formatting requirements on this field, so it isn’t uncommon to see users with country fields in different formats such as USA or United States.

There are a few different solutions to this. One possible solution is to hard-code the country value in the user_country_code_format option.

user_country_code_format: US

Note that this will set the same code for every user, overriding anything read from c or the equivalent attribute.

It may be a better option to use the extension config to dynamically normalize the country code.


The user_identity_type_format can be used to dynamically set the identity type. It maps an LDAP attribute to a user’s identity type. If this option is used it will override the user_identity_type option defined in the LDAP connector config (which itself overrides user_identity_type in user-sync-config.yml).

For example, an LDAP system with a theoretical idType attribute that could be set to adobe, enterprise or federated might be used in this manner:

user_identity_type_format: "{idType}ID"

However, this option is not typically used. It’s a better practice to ensure that all users from a given identity source have the same identity type.

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