Sharing settings determine who can access content in Synapse and what permissions those users have with respect to a dataset. For example, sharing settings on a file can be used to control who can view, edit, download, or delete content. You are responsible for determining the appropriate sharing setting for any content that you upload into Synapse.

In addition to sharing settings, you can also limit how shared data will be used by adding conditions for use. This article covers how to control sharing settings in Synapse, see the Conditions for Use page for information about those additional restrictions. Note that to download data, you must qualify for data access through both the sharing settings and through fulfilling any conditions for use on the dataset. 

Important: Synapse users are responsible for determining the appropriate sharing setting for any content they upload into Synapse.


You can use the sharing settings to grant different levels of access, or permissions, to individuals or teams. The permission categories are: view, download, edit, edit and delete, and administrator. You can apply sharing settings to an entire project, or you can apply sharing settings to individual files, folders, and tables within a project.

View Permissions

View permissions give you the ability to see that something in Synapse exists (like the name of a project, file, folder, or table). You can discover the item using Synapse search, and it will be visible to you if included in a table or a file view. If there are annotations associated with it, you can see these as well, however you cannot see the table or file contents. For example, if you have view permissions on a file, you will be able to see the file name and associated annotations, but you will not be able to see a preview of the file or download it.

Download Permissions

Download permissions give you the ability to see the contents of a project, file, folder, or table and download the contents to your own computer. Having download permissions includes also having view permissions.

Edit Permissions

Edit permissions allow a Synapse user to make changes to something in Synapse. This permission level also allows you to upload data to a folder or project where you are not an administrator (although you must be a certified user to do so). A user with edit permissions can:

Someone with edit permissions cannot delete something that is shared with them. Edit permissions are cumulative with view and download permissions.

Edit and Delete Permissions

Edit and delete permissions allow you to delete something that is shared with you, in addition to the edit permissions previously described.

Administrator Permissions

Administrator permissions allows you to change the sharing settings and metadata related to an entity. You can also change the friendly URL of a project. You can add, remove, or modify the sharing settings, including removing yourself. Administrator permissions are cumulative with edit and delete permissions.

Edit Sharing Settings on a Project

When managing sharing settings, there are two main options: public and private. The private sharing setting limits access to only specified users and teams. By default, all new Synapse projects are set to private, and you can manually add additional collaborators and set their permissions as needed. When you create a new project, you are the only Synapse user with access and your permissions level will be administrator. The public sharing setting allows you to specify permissions for any registered Synapse user as well as to allow anyone on the web to view an item.

To view and modify sharing settings on a project, navigate to the project and click Project Settings in the upper right corner of your screen. Select Project Sharing Settings from the drop down menu.

The resulting pop-up window displays the individual users or teams that have been assigned specific permissions for this project. You can add individuals or groups by entering a username and then selecting the appropriate level of permissions from the drop down menu. You can manage permissions for a group of users at once by first adding these users to a team. If certain individuals require unique permissions, consider creating multiple teams or sharing the item directly with the individuals that require unique permissions.

At the bottom of the sharing settings pop-up window, you have the option to make the project public using the Make Public button.

Clicking on Make Public adds two additional groups to your sharing settings window: 1) all registered Synapse users and 2) anyone on the web.  You can edit the level of access for either group and then click Save to make your changes.  Note that you can only grant view permissions to “anyone on the web”. To remove the settings for these two groups, click Make Private.

Edit Sharing Settings on Files, Folders, and Tables

You can adjust the sharing settings for individual folders, files, tables, and views separately from their parent project or folder. For example, you may wish to keep a particular folder private while you make the project public. Or you may want to share drafts of individual files with collaborators first prior to sharing them publicly.

By default, all of the content residing within a parent project inherits the same sharing settings. If you move an item, then it carries those settings to another project. You can override this inheritance by defining a local sharing setting for that specific item. To do so, navigate to the file, folder, table, or view, then click on the Tools menu. Select the Sharing Settings option from the dropdown menu. You’ll see the current (inherited) sharing settings in the resulting pop-up window. You will also see the option to Create Local Sharing Settings, which allows you to specify different sharing settings than the parent folder or project.

Sharing Wikis and Discussion Forums

You cannot set local sharing settings for wikis and discussion forums. These areas can only inherit the sharing settings from their parent project.

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