A common request I see with SharePoint Online is to allow users to add and edit document but not delete. By default, most SharePoint Online users have Contribute rights, which means they can add, edit AND delete. So what’s the best way to remove the ability to delete items?
The first place to start is to login to your SharePoint Online team site as a Site Collection Administrator.
From the cog in the top right hand corner select Site settings from the menu that appears.
In the top left of the Site Settings page select Site permissions.
From the Permissions tab on the Ribbon Menu at the top of the page select Permission Levels.
You should now see all the different permission levels available on your could add a new permission here but that means starting from scratch. An easier method is to simply copy and modify an existing permission.
In this case we’ll use the Contribute permission as the base. To make a copy of this click the Contribute hyperlink.
Beware, that any changes you make to the selections presented is actually changing the existing Contribute permission. You need to copy the current settings to a new permission before proceeding. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the current permission. There you should find a Copy Permission Level button. Select this to create a copy of the existing permission level.
Give the new permission level a name (in this case Contribute – no delete) and make any changes to the permissions options below. In this case, any Delete abilities have been unselected.
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen when complete and press the Save button.
You should now be returned to the full list of site permissions. The new permission you just created should now appear in the list. This means that it is available to all elements of the current site.
You now want to apply this new permission to a Document Library. Firstly navigate to the Document Library and press the LIBRARY tab at the top left of the page.
From the Ribbon Menu that appears select Library Settings on the right.
From the selections that now displayed on the page select Permissions for this document library.
In most cases the Document library will be inheriting permissions. To create unique permissions we need to stop or break this inheritance. To do that select the Stop Inheriting Permissions button on the Ribbon Menu.
You will receive a confirmation dialog to confirm you wish to break the inheritance. Press OK to continue.
You should now see a message saying – This library has unique permissions. You will notice that all existing permissions have been copied and now have a selection box on the left of each item.
Select the item who’s permissions you wish to change (in the case Members). Then select Edit User Permissions from the Ribbon Menu.
You will now see a list of available site permissions. In this list should be the permission level just created (here Contribute – no delete). Select this and unselect any other existing right.
Press the OK button to proceed.
You should now be returned to the permissions for the library where you should find that the item you selected now has the new permission level (in this case Members now have the Contribute – no delete permission for this library).
At any time you can re-inherit the permissions to return them back to the way they were.