Our user wants to build a Knowledgebase portal. He designed the structure with folder-subfolder's concept, i.e., Main Category > sub category > subsub category, etc. Permission inheritance will be broken on each folder level because different team will be in charge of different subcategory.

I'm aware folder-subfolder is not recommended in SharePoint. Individual permission is not suggested as well. However I cannot think of any good alternative. If I applied managed metadata, or tags, to manage knowledge pages it is difficult to manage permission.

Any idea? Thanks for your insight!


You don't have permissions for Managed Metadata so if you need permissions you have no way around of breaking permission inheritance. Be aware that if you have more than 5000 items on the list that have the permission inheritance broken, SharePoint will do extra round trips to SQL server and you will start seeing performance hit, source.

So, consider the structure so that you will not end up having more than 5000 items with perm inheritance broken per list. To do this perhaps create multiple lists so that there is one list per main category or even per subcategory.

One option would also be to even create dedicated subsite for each team (=subcategory). Then you could have additional content on the subsite front page per subcategory that is only shown for the team using that category.


As per you requirement, you have to make decision, whether you need Folder-SubFolder or document sets or sub site, as you need unique permission so it is little tricky. It also depend what type of documents you want to store in it. Manage Metadata can help you in views and search but will not help in permission management.

I am thinking of create Folders with document set combination,because it will give you more granular rights management. Meantime MMS will give you easy management of Views.

SharePoint 2013: Using Folders
SharePoint 2010/2013 Folders and document set


You can make use of document set. Document set are the best alternative for folders. So each document set will have unique permission to achieve it.

  • However, I still need to break permission inheritance. It may reduce performance and difficult to manage which I want to avoid. – Mark L May 26 '15 at 3:56

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