I'm having a hard time finding documentation that makes this clear, nor can I find an answer that directly answers this question for me.

According to this Salesforce article, Community access is granted via Sharing Sets. However, it's my understanding that Sharing Sets are only needed (and available) when the OWD is set to Private on the object you are granting access.

When setting up access for Salesforce Community Users, is record access (row level, not CRUD / FLS) granted using the org's Sharing Settings (OWD) or is row level access granted using Community Sharing Sets? Or, is it a combination of both?

1 Answer 1


For normal Community users (not Customer Community Plus), sharing determined by:

  1. Org-wide Defaults first
  2. If the record is private according to OWD, then it can be made accessible via Sharing Sets

What you can't do is use the more complex sharing models on Customer Community users: Apex, User-managed, Sharing rules. And it has special effects on Implicit Sharing that you might want to be careful about:

[Implicit sharing provides] Access to data owned by high volume users associated with a sharing set for users member of the sharing set's access group. All members of the sharing set access group gain access to every record owned by every high volume user associated with that sharing set

If this doesn't give you the control you need, then Customer Community Plus licences are better as they give you the same sharing options as internal users.

  • Thanks @Aidan, do you know where I can find details on these differences (Community vs Community Plus vs Partner licenses)? Mar 21, 2018 at 13:36

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