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How to display Specific Content to Anonymous or Authenticated Users in SharePoint

A long time ago I wrote about the usefulness of the SPSecurityTrimmedControl in selectively displaying content based on a user’s permission level. It supports a myriad of different permission options, and my friend Marc Anderson has an excellent post in which he outlines all of the possible permission levels that can be used with this control by manipulating the PermissionsString attribute.

What is less well known about this control is that it can also be used in an application that supports anonymous access to selectively display content based on the user’s logged in state. This might be to display a custom log in button or link that should only be displayed when a user has not logged in. The way that this is accomplished is through the  AuthenticationRestrictons attribute. There are three possible values:

  • AllUsers
  • AnonymousUsersOnly
  • AuthenticatedUsersOnly

I have no idea why the AllUsers value exists. It’s not much of a restriction. The other two values are pretty well named, so I won’t bother explaining them.

A pretty typical usage scenario might be to build a page layout that will display a content field for all users, another field exclusively for anonymous users, and another for logged in users. The exclusive fields would need to be created and added to a content type prior to the creation of the layout. A simple example of this might appear as follows:

<PublishingWebControls:RichHtmlField id="PageContent" FieldName="PublishingPageContent" DisableInputFieldLabel="true" runat="server"/>
<SharePoint:SPSecurityTrimmedControl runat="server" ID="spAuthenticated" AuthenticationRestrictions="">
    <PublishingWebControls:RichHtmlField FieldName="PageContentAuthenticated" runat="server" />
<SharePoint:SPSecurityTrimmedControl runat="server" ID="spUnAuthenticated" AuthenticationRestrictions="AnonymousUsersOnly">
    <PublishingWebControls:RichHtmlField FieldName="PageContentAnonymous" runat="server" />

In this example, the PublishingPageContent field is displayed on the page first, and depending on the logged in state, one of the remaining fields will be displayed. Of course, in order to use the control, the WebControls directive must first be added to the page:

<%@ Register Tagprefix="PublishingWebControls" Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.WebControls" Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" %>

The above example is for SharePoint 2010, but the namespace also exists in 2013.

This is simple enough, but there is a practical problem with this approach. How do we edit the content for anonymous users on the page? Although the control is there, editors are going to be authenticated users, and therefore the content will be completely hidden from them.

To do this, we can treat the Anonymous filed like other page metadata, and include it (also) in an edit mode panel, without the spSecurityTrimmedControl.

<PublishingWebControls:EditModePanel class="ewiki-margin" runat="server">
    <PublishingWebControls:RichHtmlField FieldName="PageContentAnonymous" runat="server" />

The contents of the edit mode panel are only displayed when the page is in edit mode, so authors will be able to edit anonymous content and authenticated content in one step.

This control isn’t limited to publishing scenarios, but does require the Publishing namespace, and therefore requires at least SharePoint Standard license.

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