We need to break inheritance on a document library. Some users of a site should have read only to document library 1 while some users should have contributor rights to document library 2 (both within the same site). If we break inheritance on these libraries, will there be any effect on the items contained within? I read from an MVP blog that breaking inheritance at the library level will indirectly break inheritance on all item as well. Is this true? Hopefully this in not the case as i have read that item level security should be avoided at all costs. Any help would be appreciated.


2 Answers 2


When you break permission inheritance at library level, all items in the library will have same permissions as your document library. At this point, you are NOT using item level security. When you check the permission of document, it would be "inheriting parent (which in your case is Document Library containing the document)". This is a very valid scenario and there is nothing wrong here.

You are considered to have item level security only when you break the permission inheritance again at document level (the lowest level at which unique permissions could be used). You will have performance impact if all (or majority) your documents have unique permissions (different than the document library). If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to think about alternative solutions


Agree with @Ashish. Would further like to add that I also faced same problem and to solve it I had to look for an addon which gives either item level or column level security. Column level permission level can be solved by a third party addon. But I am unable to find a solution for Item level security.

  • If you are looking for item level security, you could add an event handler that breaks permissions when documents are added to the library. Then you could set the permissions to whatever you needed them to be (or set them in a separate workflow on the library if necessary). If your library is over 50,000 documents, however, item level security will break, from what I've been told. Also, make sure to tell the item NOT to copy parent's roles when breaking permissions. (This can kill performance). msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/…
    – xdhmoore
    Apr 27, 2012 at 14:17

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