Read Only or special access on documents in Teams with Linked libraries – a workaround.

Imagine you want your guests in a Teams Group to only read your documents, not edit. Or you want specific permissions for your Team Group Members on your subfolders.

A combination of the default Teams groups library, an extra library (or even an extra Team Group with it’s own site) and the “add cloud storage”-option, make this possible!

The Basics

With “add cloud storage” we can add a subfolder to our Files section in a Team Group Channel linked to another SharePoint library.

This “another library” has its own permission setup which will be honored when opened and shown in the Channel Files section.

We will add the users that are part of the Team Members Group to our other library with direct library permission settings via the SharePoint site.

When opening the linked folder in Teams we will get the full second library with all it’s subfolders(if present).

When a Team member has no permissions at all on a certain item/subfolder, this item/subfolder will not even be visible to that user! Great, right!

The Steps

Step 1 is to decide if want the extra library on our Teams Group Site, use an existing SharePoint library or create a new library (or even a specific site plus library).

Step 2 making sure all your users exist in your tenant. For guest users it makes it easy if they are first invited to your Team Group.

Step 3 is adding the specific Team members including the guests to our chosen library as desired. Check if you want to stop the permission inheritance, so you can add the users solely to the library. Similar for your subfolders. Grant permissions to your needs.

I personally work always with the advanced permissions settings mode, as well on site, library, folder and item level for more

Note: Be careful with adding users to the default SharePoint groups because the groups stay the same in content wherever they are used on that site collection.

More on this and SharePoint permission management logic in my next post, stay tuned.

Step 4 is to use in your original Teams Group channel the “add cloud storage” feature. Take the “from SharePoint” option and find your library via the browse option or provide the url.

The Result

Here we are, we have a folder in our Teams channel acting like other normal subfolders, but with adapted permissions settings on its content.

Pros and Cons

Pro

– Dedicated permission management on documents in combination with working within Team Channels.

– working on libraries from other Teams from within your own channels.

– working from within Team Channels on classic SharePoint libraries

Cons

– Permission management on multiple locations.

– Permissions setup less transparent.

– At this moment only full libraries can be added as folders.

Other option

You can also add the extra library as TAB to your channel. Now you can show a specific subfolder level by adding the specific url.

Disadvantage is that there is a separate TAB outside the Files panel and you loose the nice integrated listing and organisation.

Hope that this workaround gave you some ideas on solving your dedicated permissions challenge.

Have fun!

Author: Martinus Hamers

Hi, My Name is Martinus and I am a self made Office365, focus on SharePoint Online and Teams, administrator and architect. I have been spending my time the last years with an international organisation as a functional application manager for SharePoint Online providing administration, architecture, setup, providing training info and updates and second line support tasks for all the global sites worldwide.

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