I had to setup a library with unique permissions so that a group called payroll only had access to the library and not the site:
-I removed payroll from the site permissions.
-I broke the inheritance to the library and added permission to payroll.
When I click on Excel docs, it opens in Excel web services. When I click on the "Open in Excel" button to open Excel on my desktop, it tries to download and open it but can't. It gives the error "Sorry, we couldn't open [file location]". For Word and PPT files, it tries to download the files and open it too but they get the same error. If I give read permissions to payroll at the site level all documents will open fine. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Below are some additional details:
-change permission on payroll from read to full control, however document still won't open
-tested on IE8 and 11.