Modifying Default Group Members

Article Updated: Feb. 11, 2019

SharePoint – Membership and its Privileges

I recently wrote an article on the default groups in SharePoint. It basically pointed out the three default groups (Owners, Members, and Visitors) and talked about how these groups are used with permission levels to provide the permissions framework in SharePoint. It also introduced accessing these groups with the new Site Permissions Panel, and the (legacy) Advanced Permissions Page.

This article will talk more about these interfaces when dealing with the default SharePoint groups.

Adding a Member in the Site Permissions Panel

The permissions panel is available in the modern SharePoint interface. To add a user to the members group you would first open the Site Permissions panel.

Location: Gear > Site Permissions

The permission panel allows you to add site members by utilizing the Share Site button:

Note: The above interface is slightly different on a O365-group-connected site. You will see an Invite People button instead of a Share Site button. Clicking Invite People will present you with two choices: Add Members to Group and Share Site Only. The Share Site Only option is the same as the Share Site button above.

You add a user, their permissions will default to Read (Visitors), select a permission level (in this example Edit provides the Member privilege), and click Add.

Note: If you don’t want your users getting an email when you add them be sure to deselect Send Email option. This has been done in the image above.

You will see the result in the permissions panel

and in the members group in the advanced permissions page.

Adding a Visitor in the Advanced Permissions Page

Location: Gear > Site Permissions > Advanced permissions settings

In the advanced permission page, navigate to the Visitor group by selecting the link to the group, select the New>Add Users menu item

You add users to the Invite people box and click Share.

Note: If you don’t want your users getting an email when you add them be sure to click Show Options and turn off the “Send and email invitation” option.

They will then be visible in the group:

They will also appear under the visitors group heading in the permissions panel

Moving a User from one group to another

In the Permissions Panel

I was going to write this up, but I think the following animation sums it up nicely:

In the Advanced Permissions Page

To perform the exact same action in permissions page interface involves:

  1. Going into the Members group
  2. Finding/Removing the user from the group
  3. Returning to the advanced permissions page
  4. Going into the Visitors group
  5. Adding the user from the group (what was his name again?)


For anyone familiar with traditional SharePoint groups and permissions, the permissions panel is just a new way to interact with the default groups. If you don’t like it, you can simply use the advanced link and the classic page.

I believe the new panel has its place, especially for new users that aren’t familiar with the classic page or the classic SharePoint interface.

On the plus side for the panel is the ability to move users from group to group in a single click. This is much more difficult using the permissions page.

The main issue with the panel is that it only supports the default SharePoint Groups.

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

Author: Mike Hatheway

I'm a husband, father of twins, and a consultant specializing in M365. Generally focused on Teams, SharePoint, and the Power Platform. I hold several Microsoft certifications and I work at Bulletproof Solutions.

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