Access denied when attempting to move SharePoint documents

The other day at work, I had to help solve a problem for a client. They were unable to move documents from one folder to another, using the modern move functionality within SharePoint Libraries.

Note: To be able to move a document, you need to have minimum of contribute permission on both the source and destination locations. You need to be able to add a new document to the destination and delete at the source.

The client I was helping was trying to move a document from inside one folder to another folder within the same document library. The client had contribute permission. I had checked their permission at the library, folder and document level, just in case there was broken inheritance. Nothing had broken inheritance. When the client attempted to move the library, they encountered the error message:

Access denied. You do not have permissions to perform this action or access this resource.

This had me stumped for a bit. I was able to move the documents, but I was Site Collection administrator. It was only when I was looking at the views on the list, I noticed a column called Approval Status. This was unusual, as we have a default setup for all the libraries within SharePoint and approval isn’t one of them.

After further investigation, it turned out that Content Approval was turned on within versioning settings of the library.

The client didn’t have the ‘Approve Items – Approve a minor version of a list item or document’ permission in this library. It was agreed that I could turn the Content Approval status off as it shouldn’t been turned on in the first place. Soon as this was turned off, the client was able to move documents from one folder to another successfully. I didn’t test it, but I would assume that if I added the client to a group that had the Approve Items permission, they would have also been able to move the documents with Content Approval status turned on.



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  1. Pingback: 10 things to know about Copy to and Move to (in SharePoint Online) – Ellen's Digital Workplace

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