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Is there a SharePoint Online permission-alternative to the NTFS scope "Subfolder and files only"?

I have created a folder tree inside my site with the appropriate permissions. Users have different permissions on the folder structure and only the 2nd level folders they have access to are visible. On the root-folder they have "Read-only" permissions.

The only problem is that users are able to move, edit and delete the 2nd level folders they have access to. This is to be expected because the permission on these folders is "Contribute" so they can manage their files.

But I would like to set the permission on these 2nd level folders to

  • Only this folder: read
  • Subfolders and files: contribute

Is there such a feature?

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Is there a reason for using a folder structure rather than document libraries? Especially when permissions come into play, it is easier to manage as document libraries or even separate sites.

I'm not aware of a permission that would let them move, edit, delete files, but not folders.

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There is no direct "Subfolder and files only" permission in SharePoint online permission.

You need to stop inheriting permissions and grant item-level permission for subfolders and other files one by one to meet your requirement.

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