Understanding Limited Access

Iron Contributor



I was going through the permissions article. It explains Limited Access as

Limited Access

Enables a user or group to browse to a site page or library to access a specific content item when they do not have permissions to open or edit any other items in the site or library. This level is automatically assigned by SharePoint when you provide access to one specific item. You cannot assign Limited Access permissions directly to a user or group yourself. Instead, when you assign edit or open permissions to the single item, SharePoint automatically assigns Limited Access to other required locations, such as the site or library in which the single item is located.


As per my experience, It technically doesn't grant any permissions. Even if a user or group is specified limited, the user won't have access to anything. For example, user won't be able to access item or library (for which user is granted access) using the site home page or regular site navigation. 

Since, limited access show up at site level. What resources does it make available for the user?


Thank you.

7 Replies

good question. I guess it makes it possible to go to a library or file only without seeing the site itself but could be wrong here

best response confirmed by Bhavpreet Bains (Iron Contributor)

Hi @Bhavpreet Bains,


As the article describes, "Limited Access" permission doesn't actually give the user the ability to see those items but is instead used under the covers to make things work (rendering the user experience, etc.) Hope that helps!


Stephen Rice

OneDrive Program Manager II

Makes sense. :)

We are finding that we have a library with a OneNote notebook in it. Custom permissions limit the library to just the Site Owners (SP Group), then at the Notebook level, custom permissions to limit to Site Owners (SP Group), Site Members (SP Group). But we're hearing that a few users who do not have access are able to see the library AND the Notebooks listed. If they click on it, then they are then blocked access. Our wonder is that they shouldn't see the library at all. Now we have discovered that these people do appear in the Limited Access group because item level files have been shared with them. Is this why they can see, but not access the Notebooks? What happens if we remove them from the Limited Access group, does that break their item level access?


@Bhavpreet Bains 

Does anyone know how to tell What exactly was shared when limited access was given? We have a MS TEAMS Channel with Private security, but several owner and not all are still with the company. I would like to know WHICH File or list a specific person was given access to. I've looked in the the Access Groups and permissions, but not finding any breadcrumbs to follow. thanks in advanced!

@GirlFlyingkrh , Doesn't it have the banner in advanced site permissions that tells you to click to see the specific items with limited access permissions?

 (substituting your tenant name, teams URL prefix, and team name)




Though I wish it had a different name. Maybe something like "specific access", since it grants access to specific resources?


It would make it easier to explain to site owners using check permissions that "limited access" does NOT mean their access (or their users) has been limited.