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I have a communications site. It has got following groups: Admin, Member, Visitor

The Visitor group members can read + download files from the document library.

  1. I understand there is a Viewer group (I'm not sure where I can find this) where-in the members of this group can only read, and not download the documents. Where can I add users to this Viewer group?

  2. Is there any alternate way to prevent users from the existing Visitor group from being able to download files?

1 Answer 1

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You can find Owners, Members and Visitors group and add users to these groups from Site permissions settings:

  1. Go to SharePoint site and click on Settings (gear) icon

  2. Select "Site permissions"

  3. You can add users to groups from the Site permissions panel:

    enter image description here

    If you share the site with user and grant "Read" permissions, those will be added to Visitors group, if you grant "Edit" permissions, those will be added to Members group and if you grant "Full Control" permissions, those will be added to Owners group

  4. If you want to see the groups and permissions, then you can navigate to classic experience site permissions page using "Advanced permissions settings" option from same panel:

    enter image description here

OR use URL in this format to directly go to classic experience site permissions page:

https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/sites/<site>/_layouts/15/user.aspx

By default Read permissions are assigned to Visitors group. So, you cannot prevent users with "Read" permissions from downloading the files.

There was a way in classic SharePoint server sites to prevent downloading files by granting "View only" or "Restricted Read" permissions to users. But, these permission levels are not available in communication sites by default.

You need to activate "SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features" feature in your communicate site to get "View only" permission level.

Check this article for more information: Prevent Contributors from Downloading SharePoint Content

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  • There was a way to prevent downloading files by granting "View only" or "Restricted Read" permissions to users. But, these permission levels are not available in communication sites. - So there is no way to prevent user's from being able to download documents in a communications site? Can I not create a custom group and assign view permission as explained here: learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/sites/… ??
    – variable
    Nov 18, 2022 at 6:38
  • check updated answer Nov 18, 2022 at 6:44
  • The link you have given (anexinet.com/blog/… ) is about preventing contributors from downloading. Where as I want to prevent viewers from downloading - is the concept the same?
    – variable
    Nov 18, 2022 at 8:08
  • First, you have to enable the site feature to get "View only" permission level. Then you have two options to either create a new group, assign this view only permissions & add users to this group OR change permissions of existing Visitors group to view-only. Similar to what I explained here: sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/304901/… Nov 18, 2022 at 8:15

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