I am running SharePoint 2019 (on-premise), running a SPD Workflow 2013.

The workflow runs as soon as an item is added to a list. The workflow uses the SharePoint REST API to break inheritance and set unique permissions on a SharePoint list item. Workflows can use app permissions is enabled and correctly configured. However, whenever I call the /breakroleinheritance(copyRoleAssignments=true,clearSubscopes=false) API, I am getting:

{"odata.error":{"code":"-2147024891, System.UnauthorizedAccessException","message":{"lang":"en-US","value":"Access denied. You do not have permission to perform this action or access this resource."}}}

Other workflows running within an App Step context, run those actions without issue. It just appears to be something to do with the breakinheritance API call.

Any suggestions on what I can do to troubleshoot further?

1 Answer 1


When you encounter an "Access denied" error while calling the breakroleinheritance API in SharePoint 2019 on-premise with SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows, it's important to investigate the potential causes and troubleshoot the issue. Here are some steps you will need to check

  1. Check Workflow App Step Configuration: Ensure that the "App Step" feature is correctly configured in your SharePoint environment. To use the REST API with elevated permissions, your workflow must run within an App Step. Verify that the workflow is indeed running within an App Step and that the App Step has the necessary permissions to perform the break inheritance action.

  2. Verify App Permission Scope: Ensure that the App Step has the appropriate permission scope. When you create an App Step, it should request the necessary permissions on behalf of the workflow. The required permission for breaking role inheritance is "Manage". Check the app permission scope and make sure it includes the required permissions.

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