Edit permissions for a list, library, or individual item

In some cases, your site might contain content only meant for certain users or groups. For example, you might create a new library for a special project, and want to ensure that only people who work on that project can access the library.

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

In this article


About permission inheritance

By default, all sites, lists, and libraries in a site collection inherit permissions settings from whatever 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.

If the default configuration is not changed, permissions are inherited through the whole site collection. In a way, each element (site, subsite, list, library, item, etc.) inherits permissions from the root site of the site collection.

Break permission inheritance

If you break permissions inheritance for a list or library and then define new permission settings, the list (or library) becomes a parent for items in it. The items inherit the new permission settings (unless the items have uniquely defined permissions.)

 Tip    If you plan to break inheritance on your site, it’s a good idea to organize your content to limit the number of locations that have uniquely defined permissions. Consider organizing your content by security level, from less sensitive to most sensitive. You might place documents that are more sensitive on a separate sub site or in a single library. This organizational structure is easier to maintain than managing many documents that are located across many sites or libraries, each with unique permissions.

To break inheritance for a list or library and restrict access to it, 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. This disconnects the list (or library) from the parent site.

Here are some important things to note:

  • When you break inheritance for a list, the list still has the same permission settings that it did before. To make the list permissions unique, you have to assign new permissions explicitly.
  • If you change the permissions for the parent site, those changes are not applied to this list.
  • If you change the permissions of the list, all items in the list inherit the changes (unless an item has unique permissions.
  • After you stop inheriting permissions, the status bar for the list changes. The message now states, “This list has unique permissions”.
  • In addition, the ribbon buttons change to include “Delete unique permissions”, “Grant permissions”, “Edit User Permissions”, and “Remove User Permissions”.
  • 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, remove the users or groups 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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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Applies to:
SharePoint admin center, SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Midsized Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Website, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Online Website, SharePoint operated by 21Vianet - admin center, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard