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Here is the situation. We have a list with a large amount of data. It has many columns. Users who have access to this list can view and edit any data. So no change on that.

But there is one user who needs the ability to edit certain columns of the list. This user needs "contribute - no delete" permissions. She can edit but cannot delete.

How do we accomplish this? Do we create two lists and sync them.

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To allow "contribute - no delete", you just need to create a custom permission level, and assign that permission level to that user for the specific list (or at the site level).

Unfortunately, SharePoint does not have column-level security, so there is no built-in way to grant a user edit access to some columns in a list while blocking other columns. As you allude to in your question, you could ensure the user has no edit privileges to the list in question, then create a separate list with just the fields the user needs to be able to modify and give the user your custom "contribute - no delete" permission level on that list. Then create a SharePoint Designer workflow on both lists (separate copy of the workflow for each list) triggered on item creation/modification/delete that copies the values from one list to the other.

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SharePoint does not provide column level permissions.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Create a Custom Permission Level in your site --> Name it Contribute Without Delete.
  2. Go to List Settings --> Permissions for this list.
  3. Break permission inheritance for your list.
  4. Grant View/Edit permissions to all other users and Contribute Without Delete (Created earlier) permissions to one particular user.

References:

  1. How to create and edit permission levels.

  2. Customize permissions for a SharePoint list or library.

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