Here is the situation. We have a requirement where my customer wants to create document sets, however, document set/document level permissions are required.

Setup: We created a new permission level called "Create Only". We then give the user Read and Create only permissions. This allows the user to theoratically create the item. We then run a Workflow on create that Replaces the permissions so that you are only allowed to view the ones you created along with other securtity groups based on their choices in the metadata fields.

This setup works PERFECTLY when using a List or Form Library.

However, for the life of me I cannot get it to work for Document Sets. If I have the same setup, I get an Access Denied message. However, it still creates the document set.

What is weird, I've been playing around with custom permission levels and it seems as though the user has to have EDIT permissions at a minimum in order to create the document set. This will not work for me since I dynamically assign permissions to each document set based on what they select.

As a side note, the only tool I have at my disposal is SharePoint Designer 2010.

Does anyone know if there is an actual requirement to have EDIT permissions when creating a Document Set? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • I'm not sure, but I think Web DAV permission is required additional to the create permission. But I really do not know exactly.
    – ReTech
    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:17

3 Answers 3


After extensive research and testing, it was determined that I had to have the edit permissions as part of my custom permission that was created.

I was able to overcome my issue by simply giving the users "Contribute without Delete" permissions. This allowed the user to create the Document Set and overcome the weird Microsoft SharePoint permission issue. This still gave me my intended results. Even through the user had Edit permission, I was running a workflow to set the item level permissions as soon as the document set was created or changed. This then ensured me that the user only has access to the documents they either created or were part of a SharePoint security group that was to have access to the document set based on the selections made by the user during the creation of the Document Set.


I have not tried this with documents sets but I have experienced issues when users have read and create on libraries that they cannot rename files. For some reason this seems to be treated as a copy and delete.

Similarly, if a user has create but no edit on a library but it has required metadata fields then the file will be uploaded correctly under the create permission level. However, SharePoint then automatically prompts for the metadata but as the user has no edit permissions they cannot complete this action so can never check in the file.

This sounds similar to your situation. Do you have required metadata on your document set? If so then it is being created successfully but edit permission is needed to set the metadata. Try making the metadata optional?

  • Dave thanks for the feedback. We do have required Metadata. What is interesting is we are having the user go to the "New" and then selecting the appropriate content type. The first thing that displays is the metadata. At this point there is no issue. However, as soon as they click OK and it starts to create the Document Set and then they get the error message stating Access Denied. I'll try and make everything optional as a small test. Thanks for the input.
    – Ryan
    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:18

I can't point you towards any official documentation that says so, but yes, I have experienced the exact same issue.

Requirements called for users with a custom permission level (that did not include edit) to be able to create Document Sets, and they would get an error. If I added edit permissions to the custom permission level then everything ran smoothly.

I was doing a lot of things against the object model through code, though, so I was able to get around that by running the few lines that needed it with elevated privileges.

  • Sounds like you were using VS. I unfortunately cannot do this. One of the things I was able to do was create a separate list that the user creates a new record and I used a workflow to create the Document Set. It worked great and I was able to get around the permission issue. I wrote the URL back to my list item, but the customer did not like the additional clicks to get to the Document Set. Any thoughts on doing some type of Redirect on the creation of an list item and I use the URL I created to point to the newly created Document Set? As usual, SharePoint gets me 95% of the way there..
    – Ryan
    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:24

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