Manage The 7 Types of SharePoint Permissions:
An Informative Guide

SharePoint Permissions

SharePoint is one of the most robust, efficient, and comprehensive document sharing and collaboration platforms. Across the globe, organizations and businesses are using it for effective communication and collaboration among teams and management of a wide range of documents.

Apart from document management and collaboration, SharePoint empowers organizations and enterprises to develop their websites. SharePoint is one of Microsoft’s best and highly-effective platforms to manage business processes and operations flawlessly and effectively. Here is a beginner guide on how to use SharePoint for further reading.

When you have thousands of documents in your SharePoint portal, managing document access among employees is critical. That is where SharePoint permissions come into the picture.

The Purpose of SharePoint Permissions

SharePoint permission levels

SharePoint permissions are crucial for any organization using any version of SharePoint. SharePoint permissions ensure that no SharePoint document or content is accessed by any employees, partner, third-party supplier, or other stakeholders without valid permission.

The main purpose of determining SharePoint permission levels is to ensure a smooth flow of information within the organization. An employee will access, read, or edit any document only when he or she has valid permission. SharePoint permissions also apply to search results and the UI (user interface), not just documents or data in lists and document libraries. For example, if you search for a document and are not given permission to access it, the search list will not display it.

With SharePoint access levels, you can protect your organization’s sensitive data and information from people who are not supposed to see or distribute it.

Benefits of SharePoint Permissions

There are some amazing benefits of SharePoint permissions. Let’s check them out.

  • The first benefit of SharePoint permissions is restricting the document or data access to someone who should not see it. In a system where thousands of documents with sensitive data are stored, such permission levels are vital to protect data.
  • Moreover, you can also limit the team site access to a particular team. You can edit the permissions at any given time if the team size grows.
  • User groups can be created from Active Directory to give SharePoint permissions to avoid giving access out to individuals.
  • Also, SharePoint permissions allow you to create ad-hoc SharePoint groups for different websites. Your intranet websites will know to whom to give access automatically.
  • SharePoint edit permissions ensure no outsider or a person without access can edit documents.

SharePoint Permissions: The Basics

There are a total of three permission groups you will find on every new SharePoint website:

  • Owners
  • Members
  • Visitors

Experts believe these are the best permission groups, and no changes are required. However, SharePoint also allows you to add new SharePoint groups if you want. Having said that, it is believed that these three permission groups are enough to take care of everything, even complex processes and document management. Adding new permission groups might add complexity and can create chaos.

Every time you make a new permission group, the site becomes more complex and challenging to manage. We recommend you not make a new group unless you strongly require one. Also, adding new SharePoint permission groups will make a transfer of ownership more challenging in the future.

Owners have full control over all the content within a website. It is a default setting. On the other hand, Members have edit access. Visitors, most of the time third parties, have only Read access.

Now, you can make changes to the SharePoint permission levels. Some organizations make changes for the Members as they sometimes need full control. However, if you have no challenging processes, you need to stick to the default permission settings only as it is more simple and less difficult to manage for a new Owner.

Every time you create a new intranet site, you will get options to create new groups. You can also rename groups or choose to use existing permission groups to assign the Visitors, Members, and Owners. However, as we have discussed, adding new groups is not recommended. Instead, you can use defaults to make the website simple and manageable.

Default Permission Levels

We have mentioned default SharePoint permission levels in the above section. Now, let’s discuss them in detail. There are different types of user permissions in the SharePoint default settings.

Full Access

Here, the user has full control of the website and can do almost all things such as managing site settings, creating subsites, and adding users to groups. Mostly, they are Owners.


In the SharePoint design permission, the user can view, add, update, and delete different approvals and customizations. In addition to that, the user can also create and change new document libraries and lists. However, as the user is not the Owner, they cannot manage settings for the whole site.


Here, the user can again view, add, update, and remove documents and other list items. Most regular SharePoint users have this type of permissions to manage documents and information.


Here, users can only view pages, documents, and list items. They can also download documents.


Users can manage different lists and items such as documents and edit them. Also, they can contribute permissions.

View only

Users can only view different pages, lists, and documents in the View Only permission type. However, they are restricted to editing documents. They can just read the documents but cannot download them from a SharePoint server to their personal computers.

Limited Access

Here, users can access resources and particular assets shared among groups. This permission type is also known as unique, fine-grained permissions. For example, if you want a particular employee to work on a specific list, document library, folder, or list item, limited access for that particular list or document is given to him. However, he cannot access the whole website. Also, you cannot edit or delete the limited access permission.

Types of Permissions

SharePoint permissions have three categories:

  • List Permissions
  • Site Permissions
  • Personal Permissions

List permissions are the permissions that only apply to lists and document libraries. Site permissions apply to a specific site. In the end, individual permissions apply to different particular objects like personal views and private web parts.

List permissions include manage lists, override list behaviors, add, edit, delete, view, approve, open items, view and delete versions, create alerts, and view application pages.

Site permissions include managing permissions, viewing web analytics data, creating and managing websites, adding and customizing web pages, applying themes, borders, and style sheets, creating groups, browsing directories, viewing pages, enumerating permissions, browsing user information, using remote interfaces, use client integration features, etc.

Personal permissions include managing personal views, adding or removing personal web parts, and updating personal web parts.

How to Manage SharePoint Permissions

Managing SharePoint permissions is quite easy once you understand it thoroughly. These site permission levels depend on different SharePoint permission groups. You can assign permissions to any permission group either to visit the site without editing, edit the website or have full control of the website. These are three permission groups called Visitors, Members, and Owners, as we have discussed in detail earlier.

If you want to change your SharePoint group permissions, you need to have owner permissions. Here is the process:

  • First, you need to go to your SharePoint team site
  • Click on SETTINGS

How to Add or Invite People to Your SharePoint Team Site?

If you have members added to the Microsoft Office 365 Group, you can directly add them to your SharePoint team site. However, if you don’t have them added to the Microsoft 365 group, you can add them directly too.

Now, click on ADD MEMBERS TO GROUP and add members to the Office 365 group.  Add their names or email addresses and click on SAVE. Once you add them to Office 365, they will be added automatically to your SharePoint site.

Change Site Permissions

Sometimes, you might need to change site permissions for a particular person or a group. In that case, all you need to do is to click the down arrow and change the settings for that person or group. If you want to give a person or group full control, you can add them to the Site owners group.

Remove Site Permissions

Just select REMOVE after clicking the down arrow next to the SharePoint permission level, and you will remove that person from SharePoint.

Create a New Permission Group

If you want to create a new permission group, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • First of all, click on SETTINGS and then click on SITE PERMISSIONS
  • Once the permission page opens, click on CREATE GROUP
  • Now, you need to add a name and description in the Name and About Me boxes
  • Now, add the name of the Owner in the OWNER box
  • Go to GROUP SETTINGS and specify who can view and edit the membership
  • Next, specify requests for joining and leaving the group in the settings of the MEMBERSHIP REQUESTS section
  • You need to choose a permission level for the group in the GIVE GROUP PERMISSIONS
  • Click on CREATE

End Note

SharePoint permissions are crucial to ensure that all the processes and operations go flawlessly without any mishaps by people who don’t have access to a separate list, library, site or document. Without defining SharePoint permissions, it would not be easy to manage the sites, libraries, and documents.

You can take your experience in working with SharePoint and its permissions to the next level by using third-party apps that you can easily integrate with this environment. KWIZ has a wide range of SharePoint web parts and apps for Microsoft 365 that can make your SharePoint experience flawless and superior by integrating various innovative features.

To learn more about what KWIZ can do for you, click HERE.

If you are looking for a comprehensive overview of all user permissions from a single console, to rapidly identify, track and audit all aspects of user permissions across Microsoft 365 please check out ProvisionPoint Permissions.