SharePoint Online: Grant Permission to List or Library using PowerShell

Grant access to lists, libraries, and individual items in SharePoint Online:
There are times you may want to grant permissions at the list or library level to users and groups in SharePoint online. Say for e.g. You may want to provide read access at site level and edit rights on individual list level. So, to grant permissions to lists and libraries, as a first step we have to stop inheriting permissions from its parent and then apply unique security permissions to any level underneath site collection such as: Subsite, List, Library, or list items.

How to grant access to a list or library in SharePoint Online?

  • Go to the target list or library settings (From the library page, Click on Library tab on the ribbon >> Select list settings. If modern UI is enabled, head on to Site connects and click settings from the list context menu)
  • On the List Settings page, in the permissions and management group, click on the “Permissions for this list” link.
  • On the permissions page, if the list is inheriting permissions from the parent, we have to break the permission inheritance. Click on the “Stop inheriting Permissions” button.
  • Now, from the ribbon, click the “Grant Permissions” button from the Grant group.
  •  In the Share dialog box, in the designated text box, enter names or email addresses. 
    sharepoint online grant list permissions using powershell
  • Click the Show Options button and then specify the email invitation option, appropriate permission level such as edit.
  • Click Share

This provides permission to a given user on a selected list or library.

SharePoint Online – PowerShell to Grant permissions to List or Library to a User or Group

List permissions can be manipulated with PowerShell. Here is the typical SharePoint Online set permissions PowerShell script:

#Load SharePoint CSOM Assemblies
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.dll"
Add-Type -Path "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\16\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Runtime.dll"

#Configuration Parameters
$SiteURL= ""
$ListName="Project Documents"
$GroupName="Project Members"

#Setup Credentials to connect
$Cred = Get-Credential
$Cred = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.SharePointOnlineCredentials($Cred.UserName,$Cred.Password)

Try {
    #Setup the context
    $Ctx = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ClientContext($SiteURL)
    $Ctx.Credentials = $Cred
    #Get the web and List
    #Break Permission inheritence - keep existing list permissions & Item level permissions
    Write-host -f Yellow "Permission inheritance broken..."
    #Get the group or user
    $Group =$Web.SiteGroups.GetByName($GroupName) #For User: $Web.EnsureUser('[email protected]')

    #Grant permission to Group      
    #Get the role required
    $Role = $web.RoleDefinitions.GetByName($PermissionLevel)
    $RoleDB = New-Object Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.RoleDefinitionBindingCollection($Ctx)
    #Assign list permissions to the group
    $Permissions = $List.RoleAssignments.Add($Group,$RoleDB)
    Write-Host "Added $PermissionLevel permission to $GroupName group in $ListName list. " -foregroundcolor Green
Catch {
    write-host -f Red "Error Granting Permissions!" $_.Exception.Message

SharePoint Online: Add Permission to List using PnP PowerShell

Let us use PnP PowerShell to add permissions in SharePoint Online list.

#Config Variables
$SiteURL = ""
$ListName ="Projects"
$UserID="[email protected]"
$GroupName = "Marketing Members"

#Connect to PnP Online
Connect-PnPOnline -Url $SiteURL -Credentials (Get-Credential)

#Break Permission Inheritance of the List
Set-PnPList -Identity $ListName -BreakRoleInheritance -CopyRoleAssignments

#Grant permission on List to User
Set-PnPListPermission -Identity $ListName -AddRole "Edit" -User $UserID

#Grant permission on list to Group
Set-PnPListPermission -Identity $ListName -AddRole "Read" -Group $GroupName

Similarly, you can use this PowerShell to assign permissions to list:

Set-PnPGroupPermissions -Identity GroupName -List ListName -AddRole Contribute

To remove user or group from list permissions: SharePoint Online: Remove User or Group from List Permissions using PowerShell

Salaudeen Rajack

Information Technology Professional with Two decades of SharePoint Experience.

2 thoughts on “SharePoint Online: Grant Permission to List or Library using PowerShell

  • July 30, 2020 at 9:57 AM

    Does groups need to be mail enabled? i keeps getting error that the group dont exist, but if i use the gui i can ad it?


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