Make unique permissions for a list or library

In some cases, your site might contain content only meant for certain users or groups. For example, if you have a list or library on your site that contains sensitive data, you might want to restrict access to that data.

To restrict access, you have to first break permissions inheritance, and then edit permissions for the content on a uniquely defined permissions page. This article describes how to assign unique permissions for a list or library.

In this article

Overview of unique permissions

Break permission inheritance

Remove users from a group

Grant access to groups or users

Delete unique permissions and restore inheritance

Overview of unique permissions

By default, all sites, lists, and libraries in a site collection inherit permissions settings from whatever is directly above them in the site hierarchy. In a default installation, objects in a site collection inherit from the site collection root.

This means a sub site inherits permissions from the site above it. A list inherits permissions from the site that contains it. An item inherits permissions from the list to which it belongs. In all cases, the object (site, list, or library) from which permissions are inherited is known as the parent.

Break permission inheritance

If you break permissions inheritance for a list or library and then define new permission settings, the new settings are inherited by all the items in the list or library (that is, unless one of the items has uniquely defined permissions).

Tips:  It’s a good idea to organize your content to limit the number of locations that have uniquely defined permissions. It can become a difficult job to manage many unique locations.

Consider organizing your content by security level. For example, you might put sensitive documents on a separate sub site or in a single library. It is easier to maintain security by using the site structure than to manage individual documents with unique permissions.

To break inheritance from the parent site and change permissions for a list, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the list and open it.

  2. Choose the List tab to open the list ribbon.

  3. Click Settings, and then choose List Settings.

  4. On the Settings page, under Permissions and Management, click Permissions for this list to open the permissions page for the list. The permission page displays a status bar across the top that indicates the list inherits permissions from its parent site, and then gives the name of the parent.

  5. To break permissions inheritance from the parent, click Stop Inheriting Permissions. Now, permissions for the list (or library) are no longer connected to the parent site.

Here are some important things to note:

  • When you first click Stop Inheriting Permissions, the list still has the same permission settings that it did before. Now you can create permissions for the list that are unique.

  • If you make changes to the permissions settings for the parent site, those changes are no longer inherited by this list.

  • If you change the permission settings for this list, the items in the list inherit the changes that you make.

  • After you stop inheriting permissions, the status bar changes to reflect the change.

  • You can reverse this setting, and resume inheriting permissions from a parent at any time.

Important:  If you choose to resume permissions inheritance, you lose any unique permission settings on the content.

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Remove users from a group

To restrict access to a list for a user or group of users, remove them from the group that has permission to access the list. To remove users from a group, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the list, and open the list to which you want to restrict access.

  2. Choose the List tab to open list ribbon.

  3. On the ribbon, click Settings and then choose List Settings.

  4. On the Settings page, under Permissions and Management, click Permissions for this list.

  5. In the Name list, click the name of the group that you want to remove groups or users from.

  6. On the group page, select the check boxes next to the names of the groups or users whose access you want to restrict.

  7. Click Actions, and then click Remove Users from Group.

The permissions page updates to show that the group or user no longer has permissions to the list.

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Grant access to groups or users

You can grant access to users on your team by adding them directly into a SharePoint group. To learn more about SharePoint groups, see Default SharePoint groups in SharePoint Server.

In some cases, you might want to create a Windows Active Directory security group and grant access to a library or list for all the people in the Windows security group. For example, you might want to grant your whole team access to a list by adding the team security group to a SharePoint group. Then, when new people join your team, you grant them appropriate permissions by just adding them to the appropriate Windows security group. To learn how to create a Windows Security group, see Manage membership of SharePoint groups.

To grant permissions to a SharePoint group or user, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the site that contains the list, and open the list or library.

  2. Choose the List tab.

  3. On the ribbon, select Settings and then select Shared With.

  4. On the Shared With window, click Invite Others.

  5. In the Share‘List Name’ dialog box, enter the names of the people or groups that you want to give access.

  6. After you add names, you can click Show Options to see these options:

    • You can check Send an email invitation, and include a personal message.

    • You can specify the permission level that you want the new users to have.

  7. When you finish, click Share.

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Delete unique permissions and restore inheritance

When you break permissions inheritance between a site, folder, list, library, list item, or document and its parent, you can restore inheritance at any time:

  1. Open the list for which you want to restore permissions inheritance.

  2. On the List tab, click List Settings. (In a document library, click the Library tab, and then click Library Settings.)

  3. On the Settings page, under Permissions and Management, click Permissions for this list. (In a document library, click Permissions for this document library.)

  4. On the Permissions tab (for a list or a library), click Delete unique permissions.

  5. Click OK. The status bar for the list now reports, “This list inherits permission from its parent.” The name of the parent appears next to the updated status.

Important:  Custom permissions are lost when you complete this action.

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