We are going to have to create new roles for new content sections and it would be very helpful if we could transfer role permssions so that we don't have to reassign permissions for all the folders to secondary roles for a particular section. Just wondering if there's a way to copy permissiosn from one role to another and then build on that second role to make the additional permission tweaks, which would be a lot easier than replicating every single folder/item permissions in the new role...

  • Do you want to move permissions from Role A to Role B on particular items? So before the operation Role A has Read/Write and after only Role B has Read/Write? Or something more complex?
    – Marek Musielak
    Mar 28, 2019 at 15:34
  • 2
    You would need a script, since security permissions are written as strings to the relevant items. However you could make Role B a member of Role A for the same effect - using Sitecore's Roles-in-Roles feature.
    – Mark Cassidy
    Mar 28, 2019 at 15:49
  • @MarekMusielak, Role A has permissions for x number of items, at then end of the process Role A and Role B would have permissions on all those same items - the exact same permissions would be for each. Once that is done, I would then go into Role Manager and make some small alterations in Role B's permssions. Mar 28, 2019 at 16:00
  • @MarkCassidy, by script do you mean a sql script or powershell? I can't make Role B a member of role A becuase I would then have to overwrite a bunch of permissions for Role B. Basically Role A will have full access to some global level items as well as for sub items, Role B will have full permissions just for subitems, and just read access to global level items. So my thinking was copy the global permissions to B, then just remove all the write/delete/create permissions to the global items. Mar 28, 2019 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


I've written a powershell script which should do the magic for you. I suggest you backup your database before running it, just in case.

It searches for ar|ROLE_DOMAIN\ROLE_NAME| string in __Security fields of all the items under the $root item, looks for the next role or user in the security, and duplicates that role access rights to the second role.

The script only takes into account access rights assigned to the role directly - it doesn't take into account access rights inherited from other roles.

$roleName = "sitecore\RoleA"
$newRoleName = "sitecore\RoleB"
$root = "{110D559F-DEA5-42EA-9C1C-8A5DF7E70EF9}" 

$roleSecurityString = "ar|" + $roleName + "|"
$items = @(Get-Item -Path $root) + @(Get-ChildItem -Path $root -Recurse)
foreach ($item in $items) {
    if ($item["__Security"].Contains($roleSecurityString)) {
        $roleRights = ""

        $startIndex = $item["__Security"].IndexOf($roleSecurityString);
        $endIndex = $item["__Security"].IndexOf("|ar|", $startIndex + 1);

        if ($endIndex -eq -1) {
            $endIndex = $item["__Security"].IndexOf("|au|", $startIndex + 1);
        if ($endIndex -eq -1) {
            $endIndex = $item["__Security"].Length;
        } else {

        $roleRights = $item["__Security"].Substring($startIndex, $endIndex - $startIndex);
        $newRoleRights = $roleRights.Replace($roleName, $newRoleName);
        $item["__Security"] = $item["__Security"].Replace($roleRights, $roleRights + $newRoleRights);
  • I do not disagree that Marek has provided a solution. However, I have a POV that this is an excessive amount of work indicating that roles were not setup correctly in the first place. While I have upvoted I think fixing the role strategy is a better approach. Mar 28, 2019 at 19:45
  • 1
    Pete I totally agree. Setting roles and access rights is not a 5 minutes task and should be planned properly. I think your answer describes what should have been done in the first place so +1 for you
    – Marek Musielak
    Mar 28, 2019 at 20:34

Use Role Inheritance

Your existing roles, which contain the shared access rules that are common among all of the secondary roles, should be members of the secondary roles.

Creating the Base Role

For example, let's say that your Base Role, we'll call it "Base Author" has access to all of the Media Libary, and all of your shared content. This will include all of the shared items and Sitecore default roles (as members) that are common among all of the secondary roles. So it might look something like this:

enter image description here

And in Security Editor: enter image description here

Creating the Secondary Role

So for the purposes of this example, I'm going to call my role "Headmaster Editor". It's a member of the Base Author role. enter image description here

In Security Editor: enter image description here

Assign the Secondary Role only to a user:

Adding the secondary role inherits all of the other roles. enter image description here

Magic Permission - Breaking Inheritance

Breaking the Inheritance of Descendants makes it possible to prevent any access to any content item UNLESS it has been given a Green Check mark in Security editor. Sitecore's role security is strict on "Red X's" for preventing access. Once a role has a Red X, it doesn't matter if other roles have Green Checkmarks, that user won't have access. So, instead of doling out Red X's, break the inheritance, and then only provide given access via Green Checkmarks. I do this by taking the sitecore/Author role, which is out of the box, and breaking the descendent inheritance on the /sitecore/content item. enter image description here

Reviewing our Work

Base Author Role

You can see here that Base Author Role only has access to the items that we gave it above. enter image description here

Headmaster Editor Role

But that the Headmaster Role has everything in the Base + Plus the content from the Headmaster Role. enter image description here

In Summary

The art and magic of role permissions is to be as simple as possible. If you're checking boxes all over the place and using red x's all over the place, you're doing it wrong. Keep it simple.

  • 1
    Part of the issue is that the "base" user that I'm setting up has full access to most areas, whereas the secondary user would only have full access to certain subitems and only read access to the higher level items. I guess I'll have to play with the inheritance access right a little, maybe you are right in that this can be done fairly easily just with that... I do have a "Base" role that all users get which restrict inheritance rights on most items. Will see what I can do once I have the branch template working well... Mar 28, 2019 at 17:23

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