Edit permissions for a list, library, or survey

As an administrator or owner of a library, list, or survey, you can change permissions to let the right people access the data they need data while restricting others.

Note: If you want to add, change, or remove permissions for an individual document or folder, see Share files or folders in Office 365.

To assign unique permissions to a list, library, or survey, you have to first break permissions inheritance, then assign unique permissions. You do all of these on the Permissions page. This article shows you how to get to the Permissions page and break inheritance, and then provides the steps to assign or change permissions.

Go to the Permissions page

Break permission inheritance

Assign unique permissions

Change permissions levels

Remove unique permissions

Restore inheritance to delete all unique permissions

Go to the Permissions page

For a list

  1. Go to the list and open it.

  2. Click the List tab to open the ribbon, and then click List Settings on the ribbon.

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

For a library

  1. Go to the library and open it.

  2. In your document library, choose Settings Settings icon and then Library settings.

    Go to Settings, Library Settings

    If you don't see Settings Settings icon , choose the Library tab to open the ribbon, and then click Library Settings on the ribbon.

  3. On the Settings page, under Permissions and Management, click Permissions for this list or Permissions for this document library.

For a survey

  • Go to the survey and open it.

  • Click the Settings dropdown, and select Survey Settings.

  • On the Settings page, under Permissions and Management, click Permissions for this survey.

About unique permissions for individual items

When you go to the Permissions page, you may see one or more messages at the top of the page like this:

Image showing message for unique permissions for a list or library

Here's what each message means:

  • Some items of this list may have unique permissions which are not controlled from this page. Show these items. This means that, at some time in the past, an individual item within the list, library, or survey was shared with others. When you click Show these items, you will see an Exceptions dialog box showing which items they are. If you are an owner of the item, click Manage permissions for each one to make changes.

  • There are limited access users on this site. Users may have limited access if an item or document under the site has been shared with them. Show users. This means that if an item has been shared with a user, but the entire list, library, or survey has not, then their access is limited to the one item that has been shared with them. Click Show users to see who they are.

  • This library inherits permissions from its parent. (name of site). This means that inheritance has not yet been broken for the list, library, or survey. See Break permission inheritance below for how to do this.

Break permission inheritance

By default, all sites, lists, and libraries in a site collection inherit permissions settings from the site that is directly above them in the site hierarchy. This means a site inherits permissions from the root site of the site collection, and a sub site inherits permissions from its parent site. A list inherits permissions from the site that contains the list. A list item inherits permissions from the list to which it belongs.

It's necessary to first break the permissions inheritance chain before updating permissions. When you break permissions inheritance for a list, library, or survey and then define new permission settings, the list (or library) becomes a parent for items in it. Items under that parent now inherit the new permission settings (unless the items have uniquely defined permissions.)

To break inheritance and assign unique permissions, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the list, library, or survey and open it.

  2. Go to the Permissions page using the steps in the section above.

  3. To break permissions inheritance from the parent, click Stop Inheriting Permissions.

    The list/library permissions control showing Stop Inheriting Permissions button

Assign unique permissions

You must break inheritance from the parent site before you can grant unique permissions. Once you've broken inheritance using the steps in the section above, follow these steps to grant unique permissions:

  1. Go to the list, library, or survey and open it.

  2. Go to the Permissions page using the steps in the section above.

  3. Click Grant Permissions on the Permissions tab.

    Delete Unique Permissions button

  4. In the Share... dialog box, make sure Invite people is selected, and then type the names of the people or group you want to grant access to in the Enter names or email addresses... box.

    Share dialog box

  5. Add a personal message if you like.

  6. Check or uncheck Share everything in this folder, even items with unique permissions. This will grant or restrict access to items you already set unique permissions for.

  7. The permission level granted is set to Edit by default, which means the people you invite can make some changes to the list, library, or survey. If you want to grant a different permission level like Read only, click Show options and change the selection in the Select a permission level box.

  8. An email message will be sent to everyone in the Invite people box. If you don't want this to happen, click Show options and uncheck Send an email invitation.

  9. When you're done, click Share.

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 more about Windows Security groups, see Active Directory Security Groups.

Note: You cannot grant access to a distribution group that is not a Windows security group.

Change permissions levels

  1. Go to the list, library, or survey and open it.

  2. Go to the Permissions page for the list, library, or survey using the steps in the section above.

  3. In the Name list, select the checkbox next to the name of the user or group that you change permission levels for.

  4. Select Edit User Permissions.

  5. Under Permissions, check the box for the permission level you want for the users or groups you selected.

For more information on permissions levels, see Understanding permissions levels in SharePoint.

Remove unique permissions

To remove permissions from users or groups that you have granted access to, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the list, library, or survey and open it.

  2. Go to the Permissions page for the list, library, or survey using the steps in the section above.

  3. In the Name list, select the checkbox next to the name of the user or group that you want to remove permissions from.

  4. Select Remove User Permissions.

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

Restore inheritance to delete all unique permissions

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, which removes any custom permissions you set.

  1. Go to the list, library, or survey and open it.

  2. Go to the Permissions page for the list, library, or survey using the steps in the section above.

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

    Delete Unique Permissions button
  4. 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.

See Also

Understanding permission levels

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