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Manage permissions in SharePoint Online – CloudSavvy IT

SharePoint is flexible and easy to administer by both end users and system administrators, and is a powerful addition to any organization. With the ability to quickly share documents and information comes the need to easily manage permissions. SharePoint has a robust permission management system that makes it easy to secure sections or entire websites.

Access to SharePoint site permissions

After navigating to a SharePoint site, click the gear icon at the top right to access the Site Permissions link.

For modern SharePoint sites that are assumed to be used in this article, you will find a simplified permission view. With this view, you can quickly and easily invite additional members or groups to a site and assign the required advanced permission level.

In addition to adding a new group or user, you can also choose to quickly change how members can share. After opening the Website Sharing preferences window, you will see a number of options. Most of these are self-explanatory from the screen itself, but they offer quick access to useful options. Many times, system administrators or Web site administrators turn off allowing access requests. This is because many access requests are explicit permissions added, often from external ticketing systems.

Navigate to advanced website permissions

Finally, clicking the Advanced Permissions Settings link will take you to the traditional site permissions page that uses the older and more traditional SharePoint interface. This screen allows you to perform a few different tasks.

  • Define custom permission levels
  • Change access request settings
  • Change site collection administrators
  • Check permissions for a specific group or user
  • Create, edit and delete groups
  • Grant permissions to a specific user or group and a given permission level

If we look at the site collection administrators, we can see that the group created by default owners currently exists as the only set of administrators. A site collection administrator has full control over the specified site and overrides and specific permissions specified in a document library, list or other resource.

There are a number of default permission levels shown below. These are usually sufficient for many websites, but there are a large number of permissions that when set up correctly can unlock a number of different and useful scenarios.

  • Full control – All available permissions.
  • Design – Can view, add, update, delete, approve and customize the website.
  • Edit – Can add, edit and delete lists. Can view, add, update and delete list items and documents.
  • Contribute – Can view, add, update and delete list items and documents.
  • Read – Can view pages and list items and download documents.

Of course, we may want to create a custom permission level. This is an authorization level that is uniquely tailored to a specific use case. There are a large number of permissions for this that you can read about here. Once this permission level has been created, you will be able to assign this permission level to a specific group or user.

Grant permissions and change groups

Back to the Advanced Site Permissions page, if you click the Grant Permissions button, you have the option to grant permissions to a user or group with a given permission level.

A useful ability is that security groups with mail are activated in the list. This also applies to nested groups, provided that each group is post-activated to the user.

Once you have added a person to a specific group, you can change these settings by navigating to the group itself and clicking the Settings drop-down menu.

There are some useful options in the group settings that you may want to change further. These settings are options such as group owner, display options for membership (ie public list) and if group connection requests are allowed.

Create a group

In addition, there is the ability to create a group in SharePoint so that you can quickly provide the necessary groups to share access. Entering only name, description, owner, member settings and request settings will start. Finally, specify the access level you want to assign to the group, this also includes any custom levels you have created.


SharePoint offers a flexible and useful set of solutions for sharing data in a formatted and powerful way. Although the permissions look deceptively simple, there is some complexity when it comes to managing these permissions in large environments. The skills and tools shown here will provide a strong foundation in everything you need to succeed in the future and create a robust and manageable SharePoint environment!

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