The Wascally Wabbit of Docqwment Wersioning (The Rascally Rabbit of Document Versioning)

Problem: Users complain that they cannot view items in a SharePoint document list to which they have read permission. They cannot follow links to these items, and these items do not show up in search results. Individual users with Edit permission to the library can see all the items. Users receive an access denied message when attempting to follow a link to such a document, as if their account did not have security permission to the list or item, when in fact they do have read permission.

You know SharePoint. You know Permissions. You know to check every level of permissions (Group Membership, Parent, Site, Library/List, and List Item for a break in inheritance or limitations on a particular item. You even know to check that your user’s access problems aren’t really just a display problem due to a filtered view or audience targeting. So if the user clearly has read permission to a document library and all its items, but still can’t see these items or follow a link to them, what else is there to check? Versioning settings, baby!

By default, a version-enabled document library in SharePoint 2007 will save new items and updated items as minor versions (0.1, 0.2, etc.). A secondary ‘Who should see draft items in this document library?’ setting regulates whether people with read permission can see all these “draft” versions. 90% of us get everything we want from these settings. Older versions of documents are kept and are available if we want to revert to them, and everyone on the team has access to these versions. If you want more control over what is available, for example, if you want to control who can see draft versions of documents that have not yet been approved, the ‘Who should see draft items in this document library?’ setting can be changed to “Only users who can edit items.”  This overrides the normal view permission and requires that an editor purposely choose “Publish a Major Draft” from the item’s drop-down list of actions in order for “read-only” users to have access to the items. If this document-library setting choice is selected by mistake, users can see the list or library, and folders within the list or library, but cannot see individual items.


About Joy Lavigne (Adkins)

SharePoint and O365 Business Analyst for a mid-sized organization. Recovering SharePoint on-prem Administrator. Frequent speaker at SharePoint Saturday events. Teller of terribly corny jokes. View all posts by Joy Lavigne (Adkins)

2 responses to “The Wascally Wabbit of Docqwment Wersioning (The Rascally Rabbit of Document Versioning)

  • Shannon

    I was cheering, “Yes, Yes!!” in my head through your first two paragraphs. Thanks for the pointer on this – I had thought simply by choosing ‘No’ for ‘Require content approval for submitted items?’ that I could pick and choose when I wanted to use versioning, but once I chose ‘No versioning’, everything cleared right up.

    Much appreciated!

  • JoyEarles

    Great! I’m glad it helped.

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