This topic explains how to assign unique permissions for an individual site, list, library, folder, list item, or document.
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Introduction to setting individual permissions
In some cases, your site might contain content that’s only meant for certain users or groups. For example, if you have a list on your site that contains sensitive data, you might want to restrict who can see it.
To do this, you break permissions inheritance, and then edit permissions for the content on its own permissions page.
Tip If you’re going to break inheritance on your site, it’s a good idea to organize your content to minimize how many places you’re using unique inheritance. For example, consider segmenting your content by security level. You might create a specific sub-site or library with unique permissions for sensitive documents, rather than having them scattered in a larger library and protecting each one separately by its own set of unique permissions settings.
By default, all sub-sites, lists, and libraries within a site inherit permissions settings from whatever is directly above them in the site hierarchy. For example, a sub-site inherits permissions from the site above it. A list item inherits permissions from the list that it is in. A list inherits permissions from the site is on. In each of these cases, the content from which permissions are inherited is called the parent.
Important Changes to the permissions settings of a parent affect all the sub-sites and content that inherits permissions from that parent. So if you break permissions inheritance on a parent site, all the sub-sites below that parent will inherit the new permission settings you create.
Restricting access to content follows these same basic steps:
- Open the permissions page for the piece of content you want to restrict access to, and break inheritance from its parent.
- Remove groups or users that you don’t want to have access to the content.
- Grant permissions to new groups or individuals that you do want to have access.
You can resume inheriting permissions from a parent list, the site as a whole, or a parent site at any time. (Note that if you do so, you’ll lose any unique permissions that were applied directly to the content.
Example: Restrict access to a list
Here’s an example in which you restrict access to a list. You can follow the same steps for a site, library, or individual item, working from the permissions page for that item.
Break inheritance from the parent.
- Open the list that you want to restrict access to.
- On the List Tools tab, click List to open the gallery of commands specific to the list.
- On the ribbon, click the List Permissions button.
The permissions page for the list opens, with a yellow status bar that explains that the list inherits permission from its parent site.
- Click the Stop Inheriting Permissions button.
Now the list is disconnected from the parent site.
Here are two important things to note:
- The list still has the same permission settings that it did before. But now, instead of inheriting permissions from the parent, it has its own copy of the parent’s permissions.
- Changes that you make to the permissions settings for the parent site will not be inherited by this list.
Remove groups or users you don’t want
- In the Name section of the permissions page, select the checkboxes for the groups or users who should not have access to this list.
- Click Remove User Permissions.
The permissions page updates to show that the group or user no longer has permissions to the list.
Grant access to groups or individuals
In some cases, you might want to create a group and grant it access to this list. For example, you might want to grant your team access to a list. Because you know your team might grow in the future, it’s best to create a group for your team and grant that group access to the list. When new people join your team, simply add them to the group.
For details on how to create a group, see Manage security groups.
In other cases, you might want to grant access to one or two individuals on your team.
- On the permissions page for the list, on the Edit tab, click the Grant Permissions button.
- Type the name of the group or the individual you want to grant access to in the Users/Groups box.
- Choose the level of permissions you want the group or individuals to have.
- Click OK.
Reconfigure a list to inherit permissions
After you’ve broken permissions inheritance between a site, folder, list, library, list item, or document and its parent, you can restore inheritance at any time.
- Open the list that you want to restore inheritance for.
- On the List Tools tab, in the List gallery, click the List Permissions button.
- On the list permission page, click Inherit Permissions.
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