Enabling Anonymous Contributions to a SharePoint List

Cross-posted from EndUserSharePoint.com

If you are using WSS or MOSS for a public-facing site, you may want to allow people to post content in a limited way. A great example of this is where you want to have a Contact Us form on your site. If you have serious concerns about security, then this article is probably not a good answer. If you are a small business or organization that wants to use WSS for a public-facing site, then this is a great tip for you.

Let’s assume that you already have a site set up which allows anonymous access (and that all of your licensing is in order to do so). Set up a Custom List that contains the columns you want to collect; let’s call it Contact Us. Here’s an example:

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This renders a form that looks something like this:

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(I’ve done a little light branding on this one, so yours will look a teeny bit different.)

Now go into the List Settings for Contact Us:

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(My custom branding again, and, no, it isn’t a Christmas store.)

Now go to Permissions for this list:

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Then under Actions, choose Edit Permissions. This will “break” the inheritance of permissions from the containing site, allowing you to customize the permissions for just this list.

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Agree to the warning message:

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Now under the newly exposed Settings menu option, choose Anonymous Access:

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Finally we can set the anonymous permissions how we’d like them. In the case of a Contact Us form, you’ll probably want to let people add items, but nothing else (you get View Items when you check Add Items):

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Now you can embed a form into your Contact Us page for this list, and anyone, authenticated or not, can create items. If you want to monitor the list, you can either set a simple alert on it or create a SharePoint Designer-based workflow to send out customized emails with the item contents embedded in them.

2 Comments

  1. “If you want to monitor the list, you can either set a simple alert on it or create a SharePoint Designer-based workflow to send out customized emails with the item contents embedded in them.”
    Are you sure that this is so?

    Reply
    • hydsito:

      What I was talking about there was emailing known users, of course, such as the person who monitors the list. We can’t email anonymous users because, well, they are anonymous.

      M.

      Reply

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