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Sharepoint 2007 : Managing Security - Assign Permissions to a File or List Item

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1/2/2012 5:09:10 PM

Scenario/Problem: You want to change the permissions a certain user or group of users has on a file or list item. Because permissions for items are inherited from the list or library they are in, the items or files have the same permissions as the list. Sometimes you want to set different permissions on documents or items than the ones for the list. For example, you want to upload a document to share with several colleagues, but not with other people who have access to the document library.


Solution: To assign permissions on a file or list item, you need to get to the manage permissions page of that file or list item.

When you’re on the manage permissions page for the file or item, you might be able to immediately change permissions, or you might have to first disconnect the permission inheritance for that file or item. Permission inheritance is on by default for all files or items in SharePoint. It means that the file or item inherits its permissions from the list or library in which it is located and has the exact same permission sets. If the permissions for the list or library change, the permissions for the file or item are updated automatically.

While inheritance is active, it is not possible to set a different permission level to the file or item (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. When a file or item inherits permissions from the list or library, you can only view the permissions.

To stop the file or item inheriting permissions, open the Actions drop-down menu in the manage permissions page and choose Edit Permissions (see Figure 2). The other choice is to manage the permissions for the parent, either the list or library. If you choose that approach, you are redirected to the manage permissions on a list or library page.

Figure 2. To disconnect the inheritance of a file or item, choose Edit Permissions from the Actions drop-down menu.

After you click the Edit Permissions option, a prompt appears, asking you to confirm that you want to disconnect the permissions inheritance from the list or library. The prompt also explains that after you do so, changes to the permissions of the list and library will not affect the file or item you are managing. This means, for example, that if a certain user is granted permissions to edit files or items in the list or library after you disconnected the inheritance of permissions, that user still will not be able to edit the specific list item or file that you managed unless you (or someone else) give that user the permissions to edit that document explicitly.

If you are sure that you want to manage the permissions for this file separately from the permission of the list or library, click OK. After confirming, the page changes and allows you to manage the permissions for the file or item.

If the file or item’s permission inheritance was already disconnected in the past, by you or by someone else, you see the screen shown in Figure 3 when you click Manage Permissions for the file or list item.

Figure 3. The edit permissions page for a list item or file when permission inheritance is disconnected.

Now you can manage the permissions on the file. To add permission to a user or group that doesn’t already have permissions, click the New button in the top toolbar in the screen. Selecting New opens an Add Users page that enables you to select either a user or group and select what permission levels should be given (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Adding permissions to a new user or group.

Under the Add Users section, type the name (or part of a name) or email address for the user or group that you want to add. Or click the address book icon to open the people search dialog, where you can search for people by typing their name or part of it. You can add more than one user or group at a time by separating the names with a semicolon. This is similar to when you are writing an email in Microsoft Outlook and you choose the person you want to send the email to.

If you use the Check Name icon and there is no exact match to the name you entered, a red underline appears beneath the name. You can then click the name to open a menu that shows users who are a close match to that name or select to remove the name.

For example, typing John and clicking the Check Name icon results in a red line under the name John. Clicking John shows that there is a user called John Doe. If that is the user you’re looking for, click that name. If not, either click Remove to delete John from the text box or click More Names to open the search dialog (see Figure 5).

Figure 5. Typing part of a name in the text box.

The search dialog enables you to search for people. Just type part of the name of the person or group that you want, as shown in Figure 6, and click the Search icon. A list of possible matches appears. To select one of them, double-click the name, and it is added to the box at the bottom of the dialog. After you have chosen all the users and groups, click OK to close the dialog and return to the Add Users page.

Figure 6. Typing part of a name in the people search dialog.

After you have found the users and/or groups that you want to add to the list, select the permissions they should have by selecting one or more of the check boxes in the list of permissions under Give Users Permission Directly (see Figure 7). Selecting options here gives the users the permissions you selected. As before, the higher permission level wins; so if you give someone the permission to Read and to Contribute, the user can edit the file as well as read it because of the Contribute setting.

Figure 7. Setting permissions for a user and group.

Alternatively, you can add the users or groups to a SharePoint group. This means they will get whatever permission level the SharePoint group has. This is a useful mechanism to control permissions; for example, if you decide that all the users who have Contribute (edit) permissions on a document should now have read-only access, you would have to edit each user’s permissions. Instead, using SharePoint groups, you can add users to a SharePoint group that has the Contribute permission level, and when a change is required, you change the permissions only on that SharePoint group, and not to each user separately. You can add both users and security groups to the SharePoint group.

To add users or groups to a SharePoint group, click the Add Users to a SharePoint Group option, and then select from the drop-down list what SharePoint group you want to add the users and/or security groups to (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. Adding users and groups to a SharePoint group.

If the server hosting the SharePoint site supports sending emails, another option will appear allowing you to send email to the users, telling them that they have permissions on the file or item (see Figure 9). You have the option to select not to send the email, or if you select to send it, you can change the title and body of the email.

Figure 9. Sending an email to the users about their new permissions.
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