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Document permissions

Last updated on 04 Aug 2023
8 min read

Restricting edit rights for individual documents

By default every Editor in your Workspace has edit permissions for every document, but you can restrict editing access for any specific Editors — handy for important documents like your design system’s Libraries.

To control who can and cannot edit a document, you’ll need to access the document’s Share settings. You can access these via:

  • The Three dots button that appears when you hover over a document’s thumbnail.
  • The Three dots in the Nav Bar when you’re viewing a document.
  • The Share button under the About tab in the sidebar when you’re viewing a document.

Managing editing rights

In your document’s share settings, you can add individual Workspace members and set specific edit rights, and restrict editing rights for everyone in your Workspace (or in a specific Project, if your document is part of a Project).

Here’s an example of how this works:

An image showing how to change the permissions on a document for everyone in a Project in the Share Document window.

Restricting edit permissions for a document (July 2022)

  1. In this case, this document is not part of a project, so you’ll see the Workspace’s name listed below the public sharing options. If the document was part of a project, you’d see the Project name here, along with an indication of how many members are part of that project.
  2. Changing the Workspace’s access level from Default to View means Editors in your Workspace will no longer be able to edit this document.
  3. To give specific Editors the rights to edit this document, you’ll need to add them individually and set their access to Edit.

Alternatively, you can just remove editing permissions for specific people. Simply add their email addresses, and set their permissions to View. See Sharing Documents for more details.

You can downgrade an Admin user’s permissions to View if they don’t need or want to edit the document. However, Admins are the only people who can upgrade their own permissions from View to Edit.

An image showing an Admin with View permissions in the Share Document window

Setting an Admins permission for a Workspace documents in the web app (July 2022)

As an Editor or Admin, you can restrict access to projects for other members in your Workspace in the Web app. To do so, open the project’s share settings and choose No Access from the drop-down menu next to the Workspace name.

An image showing the Access settings for a Project

Setting the permissions for a project in the web app (July 2022)

Note: If you are the author of a document and you downgrade your own permissions from Edit to View using the Manage Access section, you will no longer be able to edit the document, or change your permissions. Your Workspace admin will need to upgrade your access to restore your editing permissions.

Restricting access to new projects

By default, every Workspace member will be able to see any project along with its documents. However, you can manually restrict access to a project at a Workspace level and invite members individually instead.

You might need to restrict access to projects at a Workspace level when working with an NDA or collaborating on a project that’s still under wraps.

You can manually restrict access to a project through its share settings and enable individual access for any Workspace member. However, Admins in your Workspace will always be able to view all projects, regardless of their share settings. This way, even if all Workspace members leave a project, someone will always be able to access it.

Note: Right now, you can only adjust access to projects through the web app. Once you’ve restricted access to a project, the Mac app will show you those and any that others have added you to — look for the lock icon to identify these projects.

Restricting access to new projects

When you create a new project in your Workspace, you’ll see a new dialog where you can enter its name and adjust its share settings.

In the project’s share settings, you can restrict Workspace-wide access by changing the drop-down menu option from Default to No access. When you do this, only you and any Admins in your Workspace will be able to view this project.

You can’t set a different access level for your Workspace (e.g. view-only access for everyone). Access levels are based on a member’s role within the Workspace.

You can add individual Workspace members here as well. When you’re done, choose Create Project.

Restricting access to existing projects

To restrict access to an existing project in the Web app, open the project’s Share settings by clicking the Share… button in the top-left corner. You can also access the Share settings by hovering over the project’s name in the sidebar and clicking Three dots then Share….

In the project’s Share settings, select No Access from the drop-down menu next to your Workspace’s name.

To add specific Workspace members, use the search bar to find them and click Add.

Restricted projects and access levels

When you add someone to a project via its Share settings, their access will be the same as their role within the Workspace. This means that an Editor will always have the right to edit and Viewers will only ever be able to inspect. Admins will be able to see all projects, regardless of their Share settings.

You can still set document-level permissions within a restricted project. For example, you can give a Workspace member access to a specific document and not the project as a whole. This way, they’ll only be able to see the document you’ve shared with them instead of the entire project folder. If you’re invited to a document within a restricted project, the document will appear in your Shared With Me view, but you won’t be able to see the project itself.

Note: Right now, you can only add Workspace members to restricted projects. However, you can still give document-level access to Guests, even if the document is within a restricted project.

Workspace Guests

Watch lesson

You can invite anyone to a document in your shared Workspace as a Guest, and choose whether they can view or edit the document. Unlike normal Workspace members, Guests will only be able to see the specific documents you share with them.

Guests with View permissions can simply open the document in the web app. Any Guest with Edit permissions will need to be a member of another Workspace or have a valid Mac-only license and Sketch Account in order to open and edit the document in the Mac app.

You can edit the permissions of any Guests in a document by managing the document’s Share Settings in the web app.

Sharing a document by invite using an email address in the web app (July 2022)

Accessing documents as a Guest

If someone shares a document with you and you are not a member of that Workspace, you’ll first need to accept their invitation via email, or by opening the link they share with you.

Once you’ve accepted the invitation, open the web app and sign in with your Sketch Account. Open the drop-down menu in the top-left of the screen — here you’ll see any Workspaces that you’re a member of, along with any Workspaces you’ve been invited to as a Guest. Select the Workspace that holds the document you want to view.

From here, you can view the document in the web app. If the person who invited you also gave you Edit permissions, you can also open the document in the Mac app.

Note: You’ll need to be a member of another Workspace, or have a valid Mac-only license and Sketch Account, in order to open and edit the document in the Mac app.

Using the Permissions Directory

The Permissions Directory is only available to customers on our Business Plan. Please contact us if you believe we haven’t yet activated this feature in your Workspace.

With the Permissions Directory, you can get an overview of all the members and Guests in your Workspace — and easily manage which documents they have access to.

You’ll find the Permissions Directory under the People tab of the People & Settings page in your Workspace. You can search for specific people, and filter between full Workspace members or Guests invited to specific documents. For each member or Guest, you can see an overview of the documents they’re a part of, edit their permissions, or remove them entirely.

In the People & Settings page, you can browse a full list of members and Guests in your Workspace — and edit their permissions.

To see which documents a member or Guest has access to, as well as the type of access they have, click the Three dots button next to their name and choose Document & Project Access….

To change a member or Guest’s access to a document, click on the access type next to the document name and select the relevant options. From here, you can also remove a member or Guest’s access altogether by choosing Remove Selected Access. When you’ve made your changes, click Done to close this modal.

The Permissions Directory gives you an at-a-glance view of the documents any Workspace member or Guests has access to — and an easy way to edit their permissions.

Removing a member or Guest from your Workspace will also revoke their access to all documents within it. To do this, click the Three dots button next to their name on the People & Settings page and choose Remove from Workspace… (for members) or Remove from All Documents & Workspace… (for Guests).