Background: I am trying to create a single source of truth with our Excel documents that get passed through an approval process in SharePoint 2013. My users will mistakenly save files to their desktops and push the uncompleted file through the workflow, or disable macros and not receive my vba code to disable "save as." They also use features that are not supported in the Excel web app. Every other post states IRM can prevent people from saving a local copy, but I have IRM for SharePoint configured and can not find this feature.

Question: Is it possible to disable the "save as" feature so users can only save back to the SharePoint library? (using IRM, not vba or webapp) Is there a better way to implement a single source of truth in an Excel Doc?

1 Answer 1


Someone can correct me but I don't think it's ever possible to completely stop someone from doing a Save As to make a local copy but one thing I've done in the past is create a custom permission level that inherits everything from the Contribute level except for the ability to download files. I'm not sure how this is relevant to your case though, but thought I would shed some of my experiences.

  • Without the ability to download files was the user forced to open the document as a web app? The Microsoft IRM support page states: "Typical restrictions include making a file read-only, disabling the copying of text, preventing people from saving a local copy, and preventing people from printing the file." I am not trying to say you are wrong, I am just confused as to why Microsoft would tell us that if it is not possible.
    – user61862
    Nov 15, 2016 at 21:52
  • Yeah, I'm reading that now on that page. I've never used IRM so I'm not sure what it can and cannot do but it seems like once you have IRM enabled, the different restrictions are mapped to the permission levels. Judging by the table they have that describes permissions, it seems like you would want to have everyone at the View Items level but that is counter-productive since you want users to edit the worksheets, correct? Nov 15, 2016 at 22:20
  • And to answer your first question, by disabling Download permissions the users couldn't use the Download a Copy button in the ribbon, but Office files would still open in the desktop apps and they could work on them there. I believe they were still able to do a Save As though. Nov 15, 2016 at 22:22
  • That is correct that I want users to edit the sheet. I want them to only save back to SharePoint and make it impossible to save to their desktops though. I tried giving view only through SharePoint, and adding "Allow viewers to write on a copy of the downloaded document." This gives them ability to save and save as, as well as bugs out, repeatedly asking for user login credentials. I am now pursuing three hypotheses I have very little knowledge of: 1. SharePoint Policy pushed through AD. 2. Custom UI Editor to remove button from Excel XML. 3. Veryhidden Sheets & vba to force Excel macros
    – user61862
    Nov 16, 2016 at 1:59

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