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The access problem started just after I removed all users and tried to add them back in again. After adding them back I had given edit permissions to http:\{MYSITE}* and http:\{MYSITE}Documents/Forms/AllItems.aspx, but nobody was able access the page or library and it showed the "Let us know why you need access to this list" message.

But when I changed the user policy from central administration, by adding one user for a test, he was able to view all the folders and files beyond his limits. Can you help me to give site and folder access in the right way?

Note: When I give permissions to users for a list or a list item an additional permission 'Limited access' is automatically assigned to them. Is that causing this issue?

Much appreciated if you could help me!!

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When you see 'limited access' it sounds like something is not working correctly, but it can be a simple explanation. I will try to post a simple answer to this.

  • Let's say your users are using a Sales department site, you want to give an engineer access to an item on list x, but not the entire list and not the entire site.
  • So you share (give access permission) an item on list x, but not all of list x or the root Sales site.
  • Sharepoint would then allow the user access the item on list x, but not to the entire list. Sharepoint records that the user has access to an item by showing the 'limited access' description - the user does not have full access to the list, since they do not have the necessary permissions to view or edit the entire list.
  • If the user had permission to view or edit the whole list, Sharepoint would not show 'limited access'.

As for the other points you mention in your question; if the user tried to go via the Sales home page they would get a 'Let us know why you need access' message. Yet if they use the url they've been emailed it will be accessible.

Permissions can be a bit confusing. This previous question is similar to your situation I believe.

Sometimes sites are badly structured - if there is a document library with 100 folders and you see lots of 'limited access' messages, then that would immediately suggest to me that the document library is badly set up. Instead of using a folder structure multiple document libraries could be used instead or metadata tagging can be used to better organise documents. Security can be set more easily on Document Libraries, rather than lots and lots of individual folders or even individual items.

Further reading

Here are some links I've bookmarked for permissions for future reference.

  1. Groups, Permissions, clear info

  2. SP Security Groups - (Excellent - Includes info on Active Directory - this is related to the 'everyone' group and the 'NT Authority\authenticated users' group)

  3. User Permissions and Permission Levels

  4. Slideshow - lots of advice on governance (how to set up permissions in a good way)

  • That was a clear information regarding Limited Access. Thank you. I will explain the things i did till now: Suppose i take user x - I need to let x to access abc folder from library. -- i added x by site settings - site permission - grant permission with edit privilege. -- My site - List settings - grant permission with edit privilege. -- Right click to abc folder and shared with user x with edit privilege. Even after all this user x cannot access in to site home page – Mathew Oct 29 at 7:59
  • If I understand correctly you have tried to share the abc folder. If you email the url of that folder, can user x access the abc folder? You mention user x "...cannot access in to site home page" - this is normal behaviour, the site home page has not been shared with user x. User x would need something like the read pages permission (out of the box the Visitor group has this) on the Site Pages. Have a read of this post for help: sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/70840/… – Tally Oct 29 at 8:54
  • I have tested your advise and still user x cannot able to view that folder. I had given edit, read permission through site permissions and share abc folder with user x. I had tested by adding user x to a group with same permission level. But the same issue again. Is there is any change should i do from central administration area?? – Mathew Oct 29 at 9:58
  • You don't really need to use Central Administration on the server. Though this makes me wonder if the user needs to have read access to Site Pages for example: YourCompanyName.com/YourSiteName/SitePages/Home.aspx. To check this go to Site Settings>Site Permissions>Check Permissions (type in the name of user x and search). A simple thing to test would be to add user x to the default Visitor group (by default this group has the Read permission level). – Tally Oct 29 at 11:38
  • Right now if i give permissions from central administration users can able to login. However despite server I created a group named Admin staffs and i put user x to that group. I granted that Group for Edit and Read for the group and make it default group. Then i share abc folder to user x with edit, read permission. But the user cannot see the files by logging through abc folder link. – Mathew Oct 30 at 9:47

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