I'm planning to setup SharePoint 2010 sites and I will store documents in one place in order to not create additional administrative work.

However, what is the best way to make certain documents in one and the same library be visible and readable to certain people/groups?

I want to store 40 PDF documents in this library and 10 of them should not be visible to certain users. These users should not be able to open these 10 documents if they would get hold of the URL to each of these documents.

How would I best setup this configuration of the library?

3 Answers 3


You can break permission inheritance within your library (for each item / document):

  • Break the permission inheritance for the 10 "semi-public" files and assign new permissions to each of the 10 files.

... or ...

  • Create a folder within your library, move the "semi-public" files to that folder and break permission inheritance on that folder and assign the new permissions to that folder.

There is a brief explanation on permission inhertiance and breaking it in this article from support.office.com: What is permissions inheritance?

I personally don't like to break permissions on list items, documents or folders as it quickly can become a "permission hell".

So another option (and my preferred one) is to create a second library for the "semi-public" files and assign the appropriate permissions to that library.

  • If breaking permission inheritance, will all documents in the Library be viewable even if each document has new permissions?
    – Andreas
    Dec 13, 2015 at 10:13
  • 1
    You just have to break the permissions for the 10 files, that should not be seen by all of the people, that have access to the library. The other 30 files continue to inherit the permission from the parent document library and remain visible to the people with view permission on the library. After you have broken the permission inheritance for the 10 "semi-public" files, you have to change the permissions for these files, so that only the desired people have view permissions on them. See my updated answer for a link about permission inheritance explained.
    – jcp
    Dec 14, 2015 at 7:42

You can break the permission from parent and have unique permission for the document library. Refer below link. Reference

Explain in steps here


Another possibility, if it appropriate for your enterprise, would be to use a product like Titus. With a product like this you can control access at the individual document level, based on the document metadata.

(I have no financial interest in Titus. The agency I work for will be implementing this type of solution with Titus or another similar product with the next system upgrade.)

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