I have a customer that asked me if is possible to limit authorization to a single library for some users. He wants them to just read the files in the library but to forbid downloading them. I couldn't find any option for that.

  • "Read" as in "View the contents of the file"? What kind of files is the customer storing in that library? Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 10:56
  • Docx, xlsx and pdf. and Yes, "read" as "view the contents". Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:22
  • doesn't 'view only' permission prevent downloads?
    – RussGove
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 0:58
  • If only it were so simple... I would not have asked. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


Out of the box, this isn’t possible. You can, however, restrict both download and printing with Information Rights Management for all users, but not for a group of users. And since there is a snipping tool and a print screen function on all operating systems, users can with a little effort still get the content of document and save it somewhere else. So this doesn’t make your document content protected, just less vulnerable.


  • 2
    +1 , adding msdn link , may help msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms458245.aspx Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 11:43
  • I'll Try the proposed solutions this 'noon. =D thx Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 12:25
  • 1
    Often, such requirements are not about technically making it impossible, but about making sure that users understand that such downloading and storing is, by policy, deprecated. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:37

You won't be able to do that even if you disable the "Download a copy" button. If a customer can open files in a client application like Word or any kind of PDF viewer, that user will be able to save the files from there.

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