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Power Automate and SharePoint Permissions

Power Automate and SharePoint Permissions

Set/Change Security on items using Power Automate (Flow)


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Level: Intermediate - Advanced




If you're new to Power Automate (Flow), this post might be a little confusing.


So, please feel free to check out any of our other blog posts to help you get started with Power Automate (Flow)!


As always, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at:


We'd be happy to answer any questions you have!


If you'd rather watch a video about this, click here to watch the video about this post on our YouTube Channel






If you've used SharePoint designer before, you know how easy it is to change item level permissions by first breaking the inheritance (List/Library Level Permissions on the item/file) and then adding new permissions for a person, people, or a specific SharePoint Group.


In this post, we'll be going over how to do all of these things using Power Automate (Flow)!


This post will also help you become more aware of what Power Automate is capable of as well as replace more of your SharePoint Designer workflows - if that's what you're trying to do, of course.


Now a fair warning.


This solution does require a bit more "coding" or whatever you'd like to call it. But be assured, once you've done this a few times, it will make much more sense and you'll have it down in no time.


Take it from me, who learned Power Automate and Power Apps without any previous coding knowledge AT ALL.


Because of this, I hope my explanations of what we'll be doing will make more sense to you, as it has only just recently made sense to me.


Using the Security Setting Actions Already Available


That being said, if your situation isn't too complex, you might be in luck. Power Automate has a few "Security Actions" that allow you to do simple permission changes as you can see below:


Stop Sharing.jpg


Stop sharing an item or file

Delete all links giving access to an item or a file and remove all people with direct access except for owners.

Click to Learn More


Grant Access.jpg


Grant access to an item or file

Grant access to an item or a folder in SharePoint to specific people.

Click to Learn More



I imagine there will be a day when Power Automate will just have available all the permission actions that are needed, but for now, we can at least be grateful for HTTP request that can get the job done for now.


Using HTTP Requests to Change Item Level Permissions


If you haven't heard anything about HTTP Requests, here's the simple run down:


HTTP Requests essentially add, update, and get data. They do more than that, but for our purposes, we'll just keep it to these three things.


So, as you can imagine, we're going to be using the Send HTTP request to SharePoint. To help us change the permissions (update data) for a specific item in SharePoint.


The great part about them HTTP Requests is that they can be customized to do more than just the Out-of-the-box functionality that the Stop sharing an item or file or Grant access to an item or file have to offer.


Of course, this does make them more complicated and tricky to implement correctly.


That being said, if you follow these next steps, you should be updating your permissions in no time. And hopefully learn a little on the way.


Let's get started!


Step 1 - Break Inheritance


If you don't know what breaking inheritance means, remember that breaking inheritance on an item in SharePoint means that the item (or file) will no longer "inherit" its permission settings based on the list (or library).


So, if your list/library has permissions set to a specific group, all the items/files/folders will "inherit" that permission setting and have the same permissions, unless the inheritance is broken and you want its permission settings to be something else (which of course we do).


Essentially, breaking the inheritance means the item/file won't have any permission settings for the moment.


Without further delay, let's see how to do this using an HTTP Request:


HTTP Break Inheritance.jpg

  1. Add the action Send an HTTP request to SharePoint.

  2. For Site Address, select or enter the site where your list or library is.

  3. For the method, choose Post (this means we're sending information to the server and asking it to store it somewhere or make a change).

  4. For the Uri, type in the following:


_api/lists/getByTitle('<Your List Name>')/items(<Item ID>)/breakroleinheritance(copyRoleAssignments=false,clearSubscopes=true)


Make sure that you replace <Your List Name> with your own list name and that you put in the item ID of the item you are wanting to break inheritance on instead of <Item ID>.


The request should handle any spaces in the name, but if doesn't, you may need to add "%20" instead of spaces. (Example: "Your List Name" would look like "Your%20List%20Name"


Tip: try running your flow on a test item and check the permissions to make sure the inheritance was broken correctly.


Step 2 - Get the Role Principal ID of the Group or Person you want to Add Permissions for  


The next thing we need to do is get the Principal ID of the group or person that we want to set the permissions for.


We need this Principal ID so that SharePoint will know what group we're setting the permissions for.


For example, if I have a group named "Sovereign Employees Group" that I want to just be able to just have Read rights, I would first need to get the Principal ID of the "Sovereign Employees Group".


Luckily, we can do this using an HTTP Request.


  1. First, we need to Initialize a Variable so that we can store the Principal ID somewhere.


So here, all we need to do is use the Initialize Variable action, give our variable a name (I'd call it something like varGroupNameID to keep things more organized), and make sure that the variable type is an Integer.


(See Below)


Initialize Variable.jpg


  1. Next, we'll use an HTTP request to get the Group or User Principal ID


To do this, we'll just use the Send an HTTP Request to SharePoint action


However, since we're either setting the permissions to a SharePoint group or User, there are two different scenarios we'll need to cover.


Group Principal ID
Get Group ID.jpg


User Principal ID

Get User Principal ID.jpg

  1. Add the action Send an HTTP request to SharePoint.

  2. For the Site Address, select or enter the site where your list or library is.

  3. Make sure the Method is Get, this means that we're "Getting" data back from SharePoint.

  4. For the Uri, type in the following:


Group: _api/web/SiteGroups/getbyname('<Group Name>')


User: _api/web/SiteUsers/getByEmail('<User Email>')


Of course, remember to replace <Group Name> with the name of your group or replace <User Email> with the user's email.


The request should handle any spaces in the name, but if doesn't, you may need to add "%20" instead of spaces. (Example: "Your Group Name" would look like "Your%20Group%20Name"


  1. Now, we will set our variable that we initialized (see Step 1.1) to the principal group or user ID that we retrieved from the previous HTTP request (see Step 1.2).


Whether you got a group's or a user's principal ID, this step will be the same.


To do this, we'll use the Set Variable action.

Set Variable Group ID.jpg


  1. Add the action Set Variable

  2. Select the variable you created in Step1.1 for the Name

  3. For the Value, you will need to add an Expression in order to get the Principal Group ID from the HTTP Request (see Step 1.2)

  4. In the text box for the expression, enter in the following: body('Send_an_HTTP_request_to_SharePoint_2')?['d']['id']


Of course, you'll need to change Send_an_HTTP_request_to_SharePoint_2 to whatever you named your action that is getting the Group Principal ID. In may case, it was called, "Send an HTTP request to SharePoint 2". You will also need to make sure you replace any spaces with "_".


  1. Hit okay.


If you did this correctly, you should see this: (see the screen shot below)

Set Variable Correctly.jpg


Step 3 - Set Security

Now for the moment we've all been waiting for… let's set the security!


To do this, as you already know, we'll be using the Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action

Set Permissions.jpg


  1. Add the Send an HTTP request to SharePoint action

  2. For the Site Address, select or enter the site where your list or library is.

  3. Make sure the method is Post (this means we're sending information to the server and asking it to store it somewhere or make a change). In this case, you already know that we're asking SharePoint to add permissions to a specific item/file.

  4. For the Uri, type the following:


_api/lists/getByTitle('<Your List Name>')/items(<Item ID>)/roleassignments/addroleassignment(principalid=<Principal ID>,roledefid=<Permission Setting>)


Make sure that you replace <Your List Name> with your own list name and that you put in the item ID of the item you are wanting to break inheritance on instead of <Item ID> as you did when you were breaking the inheritance.


Also, make sure you change <Principal ID> with the variable we set to the Group/User Principal ID (see screen shot above).


As for the <Permission Setting> part, there are different series of numbers you can set that will mean different things (see what I put in the screen shot above).


Here's a table showing what each number series will do:


Full Control------1073741829





View Only--------1073741924


Need to Find the Custom Permission Role Definition ID?


Here's how you do it! You'll need to type in your browser:




Of course, remember to replace "site-url" with your site url.


It will look a little interesting with a lot of text, but you should be able to find the name of it as well as the Role Definition ID that you need. (Pro tip: if you do "ctr F" to find text, you can simply type the name of your custom permission to find it faster) 🙂




Thank you so much for reading this post!


You learned a little bit more on how HTTP Requests work as well as how to set permission levels in SharePoint!


Here's what the final Flow looks like:

Final Look.jpg


(Remember you can get either the ID of a User OR Group as explained earlier in this post)


Please, if you need any help with implementing this, totally feel free send us an email! It's always great to hear from you.


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Have a great day,

  Ben Fetters

@BenFetters do you know if this works for downgrading a permission? Say the person already has contribute rights and I want to change them to read rights? Let me know, thanks!

Hi @roedimat, that is possible! Though this is how I would do something like that. I would first use the "Stop Sharing an Item or File" action on the item that you're changing the permissions of. This will reset all the permissions on the item or file except the site owners. Basically, it will blank out the permissions and just leave the site owners group. Then, after that, you can add the http request to set the permissions to read or whatever you're changing them to.


So, it is a bit more time consuming especially if you're just wanting to change the permission settings for one group or user. But, that is what we have done at the company I'm at and it has worked well. Basically every time we need to change the permissions in the process we just reset all of them and add them all back with any changes. Copying an action to your clipboard makes it faster though which is nice.


Did that answer your question? And if any of that didn't make sense let me know and I'd be happy to explain it better! 

@BenFetters I thought about this solution as well, but I don't believe it will work in my situation. I will keep looking for a solution. Thanks for the info!

Hey, @quantumbeats , Thanks for the feedback! So glad it could help a little. 

And that is a cool scenario, I believe you can actually do that with the "Grant access to an item or folder". There's a neat trick you can do with the "Role" field on that action. By default you can only choose view or edit, but if you select, "Enter custom value", then you can specify the exact role definition ID, like you would normally do in the HTTP request, by putting: role:1073741830 or whatever the right role definition ID is for your situation. You have to include the "role:" at the beginning for the action to know what you're wanting to do. You can also just select "View" or "Edit" for the role, and then in the action on the top right you can select "Peek Code" and then this will make more sense of what the flow is doing. 

Does that make sense? I've explained it a little further in this updated version of this blog under the place where I talk about the "grant access to an item or folder" section:


Anyways, that should work for your situation, let me know if I didn't explain this well enough though and I can explain it better!

@BenFetters this is EXACTLY what I'm looking for but I'm having quite a bit of trouble getting this to work. I heavily leveraged your article here, and have posted a detailed description of my issue on the Tech Community page here.


In my situation, I'm trying to change permissions of an individual user (not a group). My flow runs successfully, but the permissions aren't updating as I'd expect.

Both the "Send and HTTP Request to SharePoint" and the "Send an HTTP request to SharePoint 3" actions are returning "null" outputs for the BreakRoleInheritance and AddRoleAssignment requests.


It would be SUPER helpful if you (or others) could review my post and provide any feedback either here or directly on the Tech Community page. I'm at the 1-inch line and just need a little bit of help to make my solution air tight.


Thanks in advance!!!

Also, forgot that I'm in the wrong account 😂 But this is Ben Fetters!

Hi @JFADI2020 , Thanks for posting that! That is interesting. I looked through it and it looks like it should work. So, you could try the solution I gave in my previous comment which involves utilizing the "Stop Sharing an item/file" action and the "Grant Access to an item/file" action and entering a custom value for "Role". Did that solution make sense? If you'd like we could also try doing a quick Teams meeting sometime and you can show me the flow and we can try to solve it real quick. Here's my email:


Kind regards,


Ben Fetters

Hi Ben,

Fantastic blog and video. Just wanted to mention that in your video when setting the variable it doesn't go into detail about the expression needed or mention spaces need to be replaced with underscore '_'.

It was only after a few hours I found this blog and amended my code to get it working.





Hi @MartynLiv ,


Glad it could be useful to you! And thanks for the feedback, I definitely could've explained that! 

@BenFetters thank you for this excellent article. It got me MOST of the way there.


In Power Automate, I am trying to set unique permissions on a Folder in a document library.


It seems when I use the HTTP call "_api/lists/getByTitle('Private Share')/items(@{outputs('Create_MLA_folder')?['body/ID']})/breakroleinheritance(copyRoleAssignments=false,clearSubscopes=true)" I can successfully break permissions, but I am always given FULL CONTROL permissions. The Flow connections are my user id, which I assume is relevant).


So, is there a way to break the inheritance and not set myself as FULL CONTROL implicitly? Or, if that's by design, can I remove my Full Control access after breaking inheritance (well, at the end of the flow when my work here is done. 😁)? How? Is there an Action or REST call you can suggest?


A related question: doesn't the Grant Access to an item or folder action create unique permissions? It would have assumed that it does, but it was not working that way, so I am using HTTP request to break inheritance, then using the Grant Access action to assign the permissions.


Thank you,

Gerry Brimacombe

Lightlever Systems


@BenFetters Thank you! It's very interesting. 


I am trying to set unique permissions on a Folder in a document library. I need to grant access to individual users (not a group). In the above example SharePoint 2, you have used User Email with the user's email.

Is there any possibility to give read access to multiple user's emails?


Thank you!

That is what I search  and take one day ~~~~


@BenFetters , Thank you very much .


In my environment  , I use powerapps+ sharepoint list . Use your method even user bypass my apps then access sharepoint list , they can not get any data in this list !!!


Great Job!

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