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October 07
SharePoint 2013: Permissions Primer

“You don’t have permission.” How many times do your SharePoint users hear this statement and don’t really know what you are talking about? When you ask what group a person should be a part of to grant requests– do you receive an answer something along the lines of “whatever x user name has.”  How can users better understand permissions?

Let’s start with exploring People and Groups and Site Permissions, these two components comprise the foundation of site access.


Let’s start with People and Groups. First navigate to the gear icon next to your user name, second select site settings, third from the “Users and Permissions” select “People and Groups,” and finally from your left side navigation select “Groups” to view the groups associated with your site. 


The first concept to understand is SharePoint groups. Now that you’ve selected the Groups option from the left side navigation look at the options that are present. In most cases you’ll see Members, Owners and Visitors combined with the site name. In the example below the site is named “Nora” so each group is named in alignment with this pattern.



Think of a group as “where you are providing permissions” – this group is associated with that site. Groups in life are made up of people – the same is true with groups in SharePoint – it’s where you cluster people in order to provide them with permissions. The group name gives an idea of the permissions that a group member has. Groups map to permissions.

To find out who is in a group, select the group you want to examine. In the example below, “Nora Owners” was selected to reveal the group membership.


From this selection, you will see there are two members of the Nora Owners group.



Think of permissions as the “powers” that your users have within your site. To evaluate permissions, begin by selecting the gear icon next to your name. Next select “Site Settings” followed by selecting “Site permissions” from “Users and Permissions.” 

From within the ribbon, select “Permission Levels.”


From this selection, you can view the permission levels within your site.


Select into any permission level to see the detail of the permission set. Permissions are outlined for lists, sites and personal options.

 List Permissions

Any items on the list below that are checked are permissions which are enabled for this site. List permissions allow a user to manage lists, create lists, edit items, delete items, etc. See the comprehensive list below.


Site Permissions

Any items on the list below that are checked are permissions which are enabled for this site. Site permissions allow the management of the individual site. Users with these permissions can update user permissions, create subsites, as well as manage the site and its content. See the comprehensive list below. 


Personal Permissions

Finally, personal permissions outline what users can do to “personalize” their user experience. This includes such tasks as creating views and managing web parts. See the comprehensive list below. 


Understanding the fundamental concepts of groups and permissions will assist users in making appropriate requests for access and lead to the opportunity for users to manage permissions for their own sites.


If you're interested in learning more about Project Management for SharePoint, consider attending our SharePoint Project Managment Symposium​ in June.  Nora will be co-presenting at the event. Hope to see you there!  

For free opportunities to earn PDU credit, consider registering for a SharePoint Roundtable​ in your community! ​​

About Nora Ten Broeck, PMP, MOS: SharePoint 2013: Nora is a SharePoint enthusiast and expert-in-the-making with interests in collaboration, project management and improved business processes. Follow her @NoraTenBroeck


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