I am new to SharePoint and CSOM, but I am comfortable in PowerShell and .NET. I'm trying to do the following tasks in SharePoint Online:

  1. Get the list of users in a particular named group
  2. For each user, create a folder
  3. For each folder created, break inheritance with the parent folder and assign exclusive access to its respective user

For the first task, I've tried the following code:

# Get a specific group by name
$allGroups = $web.SiteGroups
$group = $allGroups.GetByName('My Group')

# Get all users in the group 'My Group'
$users = $group.Users

The GroupCollection.GetByName method always gives me a "collection has not been initialized" error. I know that $allGroups is initialized because I am able to query other properties such as $allGroups.Count. What am I doing wrong? Is there another way to retrieve a particular group by name?

The second task should be straightforward. I already have successfully created new folders, so I just need to use a foreach loop to accomplish this step.

I haven't been able to test the third task yet, but I have seen plenty of code samples online for breaking inheritance, and I expect that adding a permission for a user won't be too difficult. I'll edit this question if I run into problems, but in the meantime, some sample code to get me started would be very appreciated.

2 Answers 2


As Mike mentioned earlier I would definitely use the PnP PowerShell command-lets. It saves you a lot of typing. I have put together a little script doing 99 % of what you are asking for.

Connect-PnPOnline -Url https://yoursiteurl
$group = Get-PnPGroup "groupname"
foreach ($user in $group.Users) {
    Write-Host "Creating folder for $($user.Title)"
    Add-PnPFolder -Name $user.Title -Folder "Shared Documents"
    $folder = Get-PnPFolder -Url "shared documents/$($user.Title)" -Includes ListItemAllFields
    Set-PnPListItemPermission -User $user.Title -AddRole 'Contribute' -List Documents -Identity $folder.ListItemAllFields.Id -ClearExisting

The only caveat with this approach is that it seems to add the user executing the script to the folder as well (with full control).

You can find a full reference for the used command-lets here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/pnp_powershell/pnp-powershell-overview

The ListItemAllFields property of the folder is necessary to retrieve in order to get the actual list item ID of the folder. Everything in a document library or list has a list item ID. The ID is required to set the permissions on the folder.

  • This is perfect, thank you! I started out with the PnP cmdlets but didn't realize that you could use Set-PnPListItemPermission on a folder. Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 22:07
  • You are welcome. Glad to hear it is useful to you! Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 10:28

You probably need another ctx.Load

$group = $allGroups.GetByName('My Group')

Each time you drill down into a child object you will probably need to make another round trip to the server with a ctx.Load().

As you are doing this in PowerShell, you may want to take a look at the SharePoint PnP cmdlets that basically wrap up all of the CSOM.




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