Break Inheritance Permissions in SharePoint 2010 Team Sites

In theory, SharePoint allows you to set up security once for a site collection and allow everything to inherit. In reality, you may not want everyone to have the same access. In order to create unique permissions for a site, library, list, or folder, you have to stop inheriting permissions from the parent.

You must be in a subsite to break permissions; the following steps don’t make sense otherwise.

To stop inheriting permissions in a subsite from a parent site, follow these steps:

  1. Browse to the Site Permissions page for a site (choose Site Actions→Site Settings→Site Permissions).

    The Site Permissions page is displayed with a message reading This Web site inherits permissions from its parent.

  2. Click the Stop Inheriting Permissions button in the Permission Tools tab Edit group.

    A message window appears reading, in part, You are about to create unique permissions for this Web site.

  3. Click OK.

    The Site Permissions page is displayed with a message reading, This Web Site has unique permissions.

    The site’s permissions levels and SharePoint groups are no longer Read Only.

  4. Click the Grant Permissions button on the Ribbon to grant permissions to users and groups.

    The Grant Permissions dialog box appears.

  5. In the Select Users section, enter the SharePoint Group you want to grant permissions to access the site, list, or library.

    This is where you want to use your SharePoint Groups — Site Members, Site Visitors, or Site Owners. What if users are in your group that you don’t want to have permissions to the subsite, list, or library? You need to create a new SharePoint group and grant that group permission to the subsite, list, or library.

  6. In the Grant Permissions section, select the Grant Users Permissions Directly radio button.

  7. Select the permission level that matches the permissions you want to grant.

    The default permission levels for team sites are Full Control, Design, Contribute, and Read. You can create your own permissions levels by clicking the Permission Levels button on the Ribbon if you need additional groups of permissions.

  8. Click OK.

    The users who are members of the SharePoint group you entered in Step 5 are granted permissions.

Be careful about adding users to groups at the site, list, or library level. You’re actually adding users to the entire site collection group. Individual subsites, lists, and libraries don’t have their own SharePoint groups.

To re-inherit permissions from the parent site, choose Inherit Permissions in Step 2. Any changes you’ve made are discarded, and the site inherits the parent’s permissions.

After you stop inheriting permissions on your SharePoint 2010 team site, the parent’s permissions are copied to the site. Delete the parent’s permissions and start fresh with your custom permissions. Otherwise, you can easily get confused about which permissions you want to use.

Follow these steps to remove existing permission assignments:

  1. Browse to the Site Permissions page for a site (choose Site Actions→Site Settings→Site Permissions).

  2. Place check marks next to the permission assignments you wish to remove.

    Remember to leave yourself with permissions; otherwise, you won’t be able to access the site.

  3. Click the Remove User Permissions Button and then click OK to confirm the deletions.

    All the permissions are deleted for the selected permissions assignments.

Allowing a site’s content structures to inherit permissions from the site is usually sufficient. Don’t try to secure everything individually. But at times, you need to secure a folder in a library or limit access to a list. You may want to delegate ownership to a list or to library administrators.