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Limit SharePoint Designer to Certain Users

Posted by Steve Pietrek on March 31, 2009

There has been quite a bit of chatter on advantages/disadvantages of SharePoint Designer (SPD) the last few days. Though I believe SPD has a place; I personally tend not to use it very often. As a developer, I like to have a little more control over things. For example, I tend to go old school and create master pages/CSS in NotePad++. With that in mind, I have received many queries on how to limit SPD to certain individuals in the organization.

There are many ways to limit SPD use:

  1. Turn off site editing. An example can be found here.
  2. Disable access to sites in SPD. My buddy John Ferringer has a CodePlex project to do this.
  3. Use security permissions to limit access to SPD.
  4. Only give users you want access to SPD tool.

For this post, I am going to concentrate on using security permissions to limit access to SPD.

Below is a quick way to limit only certain users the ability to SPD.

  1. Out-of-the-box, users who have Full Control and Contribute security permissions can open SPD and make changes.
  2. Assuming you want only users with Full Control access to have access to SPD, the easiest way is to turn off access to the site from SPD for users under the Contribute permission level.
  3. Open the site
  4. Select Site Actions > Site Settings.
  5. Under the “Users and Permissions” group, click the “Advanced permissions” link.
  6. Select Settings > Permission Levels from the toolbar.
  7. Click on the Contribute link.
  8. Under Site Permissions, uncheck the “Use Remote Interfaces  –  Use SOAP, Web DAV, or SharePoint Designer interfaces to access the Web site.” option.
  9. Click OK

The issue with the above steps is now any user with Contribute access cannot use SPD. You may have some users who you still want access to SPD but do not want to give Full Control to. For that scenario, you could create a new permission level.

  1. Open the site
  2. Select Site Actions > Site Settings.
  3. Under the “Users and Permissions” group, click the “Advanced permissions” link.
  4. Select Settings > Permission Levels from the toolbar.
  5. Click on the Contribute link.
  6. Scroll to the bottom and click the “Copy Permission Level” button.
  7. For the Name, type in “Contribute (With SPD)” (without the quotes).
  8. For the Description, type in “Can view, add, update, and delete. With SPD support.” (without the quotes).
  9. Under Site Permissions, check the “Use Remote Interfaces  –  Use SOAP, Web DAV, or SharePoint Designer interfaces to access the Web site.” option.
  10. Click Create

Now the out-of-the-box Contribute permission level can contain all the users who need contribute access but no SPD. For those users you want to give SPD access to, they can be added to the “Contribute (With SPD)” group. One caveat is if you have other applications access the SharePoint web services for the site, they will no longer work.

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