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SharePoint 2010 Workflow that sets Unique Permissions

Tasks List, Managers and Departments

A SharePoint Workflows tutorial by Peter Kalmström

SharePoint Designer iconIn an earlier article we created a workflow that sets unique permissions on new files in a document library. A similar workflow can be used if you want to set unique permissions on items in a tasks list.

Here we will show a model that is a bit more advanced, where people have access to different tasks in a tasks list depending on which SharePoint group they belong to.

In the demo below Peter Kalmström, CEO and Systems Designer of kalmstrom.com Business Solutions, uses five departments that use the same installation of the kalmstrom.com product Kanban Task Manager as an example.

Kanban TaskManager for SharePoint iconThe SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager show tasks from a tasks list as cards on a kanban board, where they can be moved as work proceeds. By default, all users with access to the tasks list can see all tasks. Users can of course filter the tasks and use different views, but for unique permissions on tasks a 2010 workflow is needed.

Peter gives members of each department permission to see and edit their own tasks. Only the manager has access to all tasks on the kanban board.

For this to work, the tasks list needs to have a mandatory 'Department' choice column. Use the extra field that is available, or rename 'Project' to 'Department'.

The members of each department must also be placed in separate SharePoint groups with Edit permission on the site, so that access can be given to each department in a bulk. If there are multiple managers they should have their own group with Full control.

This workflow will work in the same way for other scenarios where you want to set unique permissions on SharePoint list items.

Create a SharePoint 2010 workflow that sets unique permissions on tasks

  1. Create a list workflow for the list where you want to set unique permissions. Select the Platform Type SharePoint 2010 workflow.
  2. Click on the Step 1 top banner to make the Impersonation Step button in the ribbon active. Then add the Impersonation Step to the workflow.
  3. Remove Step 1.
  4. Add the action Replace List Item Permissions to the Impersonation step.
  5. Click on this list and select Current Item.
  6. Click on these permissions and then on Add in the dialog that opens.
  7. Click on Choose in the new dialog.
  8. Select the Managers group or type in the manager
  9. Check the box for Full Control and click OK.
  10. Click on Add again and then on Choose.
  11. Select Workflow Lookup for a User.
  12. Keep the source Current Item and select the field Department. Click OK.
  13. Check the box for Edit and click OK.
  14. Set the workflow to start automatically when an item is created.
  15. Check, publish and test the workflow. (At publication, you will have a warning about the impersonation permission.) Test by creating some tasks and then logging in as manager and as people from different departments.

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