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My organization stores "template" files in a directory on sharepoint.

Since these files are "templates", the need is to prevent anyone from changing these versions that are on the Sharepoint site, but allow a local download so the user can update within their own context.

However, the "administrator" is saying that sharepoint allows the checking out of these files, and therefore there is a risk that a user may change the "template".

How can I prevent the user from updating the files on Sharepoint, but allow them to download a local copy so they can update it for their purposes?

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Another option for your situation is a bit more complex but results in a much better solution for end users :

  • create a document library on the site and make it read-only to everyone but the people who should have permission to edit the templates themselves
  • upload all templates to that library
  • For each template, create a new Content Type based on the Document type and name it the proper user friendly name and description for the template (i.e. "Expenses Worksheet" instead of '2013compexp.xlsx'). Go to Advanced settings for the content type and enter the URL to the template for that type.
  • For each library that accepts one or more of these documents, go to Advanced, Enable Content Types, then add the proper content types for the templates that should be in the library

Now, instead of users having to figure out which file to use as a template and then manually downloading and then navigating back to the library, they simply go to the Ribbon - Documents - New document and then select the proper type from the dropdown. This will automatically open the proper template for that type. They than simply save it back into the library when they are done. In SharePoint 2013, it even defaults the location for saving documents right back to the library where they started so it even skips the manual upload step.

This keeps the templates protected and lets the end users focus on what they are trying to do rather than where all the files are. Best of all, since the template is specified in the Content Type, you can easily point it to a different template should the need arise (i.e. 2014 Expenses have a different template but the 2013 template needs to still be available in special cases)

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You should be able to break the permissions inheritance, remove existing permissions and add read only / visitor permissions to the library. Users should no longer have access to edit documents but still be able to download or open and save as...

  • Just remember to keep some admin account with higher permissions (to be able to modify or delete the document) – Robert Lindgren Nov 1 '13 at 19:50

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