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I am trying to figure out how to give some user access to ONLY specific subsites. We are using Sharepoint 2013

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I was under the impression if you added somebody with access to only a subsite that wasn't inheriting permissions from above it then they would still not be able to read content above that layer unless you granted them access. Is this not the case in your environment?

If you're asking how to use permissions in general then this should help.

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