I recently found a SharePoint behavior which I thought was out of the box.

Herewith the scenario: The search security trimming looks at item level permissions and returns results based on the signed in user. I understand how that works.

The same however cannot be said for Workflow tasks. In our environment and I'm sure others, all users have access to workflow tasks. It seems workflow tasks do not get assigned item level permissions. The problem is that anybody doing a search can see and edit workflow tasks.

How can I avoid this so that only the assigned to individual can see workflow tasks when doing searches?

Thanks in advance.


I can't speak for the built-in workflows but in custom workflows, you have the opportunity to edit the permissions per task item.

Using SharePoint Designer for instance. You can set the permissions for the item in the main Edit workflow section. If you're specifically talking about approval type tasks, then you'll need to go in to the Customisation pane and edit the "change behavior of a single task" or "change behavior of the overall task" sections. From there, you can asign permissions appropriately. You can do the same with VS of course but the process is more involved.

I've done this before and normally set the Task List permisisons to read for everyone excpet site collection admins, and use elevated permissions to create the task, assigning design rights to the person named in the approval task. This works well for me.

  • Thanks for the Answer Paul. Unfortunately, setting of Read for everyone would probably stop the actual "Assigned To" user from editing,approving/rejecting his/her task because they wouldn't have access to it.
    – Fox
    Aug 27 '13 at 9:17
  • 1
    In the task, you just set the "Assigned To" person the design rights for that task item, then they and only they (+ SC Admins) can approve it.
    – Paul Leigh
    Aug 27 '13 at 11:09

You can try to exclude your task list from being crawled through a crawl rule or use search scopes to return security trimmed results from the content locations (list,libraries) that you need.

  • Hi. I can't exclude them because users do want to search for them based on some metadata. Please can you explain the use of scopes to return the trimmed results?
    – Fox
    Aug 27 '13 at 9:15
  • youtube.com/watch?v=9rt4hrMKs3o
    – ArkoD
    Aug 27 '13 at 20:21

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