SharePoint Library Permissions (Add/edit/upload/delete files without altering folder structure)

Quinton Richards 1 Reputation point


Is there a way to set up a security group in Microsoft SharePoint so that it has the same permissions as the default "Edit" permission, but users can't edit the folder structure? This is for a SharePoint site using the modern experience.

I've spent hours researching this (forms, documentation, testing, etc.) and I can't find a single way to do this.

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  1. Shawn Collins 595 Reputation points

    Yes, you can create a custom permission level in Microsoft SharePoint that grants the same permissions as the default "Edit" permission level but restricts the ability to edit the folder structure. This approach allows users to add or edit items within the existing structure but prevents them from creating, deleting, or rearranging folders. Here's how to set it up:

    Step 1: Create a Custom Permission Level

    Go to Site Settings:

    Click the gear icon (Settings) in the top-right corner of your SharePoint site.

    Select "Site settings" or "Site permissions" from the dropdown.

    Permission Levels:

    Under "Users and Permissions," select "Site permissions."

    Click "Permission Levels" in the ribbon to view all available permission levels.

    Create a New Permission Level:

    Click "Add a Permission Level."

    Give your new permission level a name (e.g., "Edit without Folder Changes").

    In the "Description" field, briefly explain its purpose.

    Select Base Permissions:

    To create a permission level similar to "Edit" but without folder modification abilities, select the following permissions:

    List Permissions:

    Manage Lists

    Add Items

    Edit Items

    Delete Items

    View Items

    Open Items

    View Versions

    Create Alerts

    Site Permissions:


    View Pages

    Use Remote Interfaces

    Use Client Integration Features


    Do not select "Manage Permissions" or "Manage Web."

    Remove Permissions for Folder Structure Changes:

    Avoid selecting "Add and Customize Pages" and "Add and Customize Folders."

    Ensure "Manage Lists" is selected to allow editing items in existing lists but not adding new lists or changing the folder structure.

    Create the Permission Level:

    Once you have selected the appropriate permissions, click "Create" to add your custom permission level.

    Step 2: Assign the Custom Permission Level to a Security Group

    Add a Security Group:

    Return to "Site permissions."

    Click "Create Group" to create a new security group or select an existing one.

    Assign a name and description to your group.

    Set Group Permissions:

    After creating the group, click "Settings" and select "Group Settings."

    Under "Give Group Permissions to This Site," select your custom permission level (e.g., "Edit without Folder Changes").

    Click "OK" to save your settings.

    Add Users to the Group:

    With the group created and permissions set, add users to this group as needed.

  2. Yanli Jiang - MSFT 21,616 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor

    Hi @Quinton Richards ,

    There is no good way to implement this. Because the folders and files in the default library belong to the item level, there is no way to distinguish them in the permission level, so there is no way to meet these two needs at the same time. You can try to change the Can edit to Can view by modifying the Manage Access setting of the Folder.

    In this way, Group has no way to operate Folder. However, this will also cause the Group to no longer have Edit permissions on the files in the Folder. So as I said, there is no good way.

    If you really want this feature, I suggest you go to Feedback. Microsoft values its customer feedback and a lot of features have been developed and suggested by customers via feedback. Your feedback is also very important.

    If the answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and kindly upvote it. If you have extra questions about this answer, please click "Comment".

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